Arc-Fault Code

An electrician buddy of mine just told me that he is required to put
arc fault protectors to all runs going to bedrooms. An inspector
recently pinged him because he did not put the fire detectors in the
bed room on the arc fault run.
Why would the code potentially disable your smoke detectors because
there was an arc fault? This doesn't make sense, unless smoke
detectors are responsible for bedroom fires...
Anybody know the *reason* behind the code?
Reply to
William Wallace
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The arc fault code is still in transition. I imagine smoke detectors will be excepted in the 2005 code. The original swipe at this in the 1999 code only covered "receptacle" outlets in the bedroom, in 2002 they picked up "all 120v 15 or 20a" outlets in the bedroom and I assume nobody thought of the smoke detector. BTW the work around is to install a 10a breaker (yes they make them) in the panel and feed the smoke detectors from that. It is a pedantic answer for a pedantic problem.
Reply to
Greg
Naw, they will be too busy arguing over whether or not a groundING conductor should be called a bonded or bonding conductor and the mess _that_ will create.
Seems reasonable, but does that not violate 210.3? "...The rating of other than individual branch circuits shall be 15, 20, 30, 40, and 50 amperes..."
Reply to
volts500
You defer to 210.2 and kick it over to 760.21 which open a huge can of worms but the inspectors here have agreed garden variety Romex, feeding only the smoke detectors on a 10a circuit is OK. This becomes the "individual" branch circuit in 210.3 that can be "other than" 15, 20 etc.
As I said a pedantic answer to a pedantic problem. I don't think anyone has tried to hard to defeat the work around until CMP2 speaks again on this.
Reply to
Greg
On 1/30/04 8:13 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@post> An electrician buddy of mine just told me that he is required to put
I just went through the mandatory 12 hour/ 2 year class for maintaining a license. The instructor likes to point out the absurdity of some code language. Sometimes bad code language results because the authors weren't English majors. Other times it's caused by too many changes to an existing rule. Other times the code writers just don't think of every situation. Sometimes the code panels are bypassed completely. There is a meeting this spring on the 2005 code. The meeting is a backdoor to the code and avoids the code panels in favor of a floor vote. That meeting is, I guess, a way for the manufacturers to get their foot in the door for the changes they want in the code. It gives them a chance to get their products code approved/required. The instructor mentioned one manufacturer. They have a combination AFCI/GFI breaker.
Dean

Reply to
Dean Hoffman
Well, if inspectors are pinging electricians on it, it is more than a pedantic problem. It is a safety problem. Doing another run is going to cost the consumer more money. But I'll relay the 10 Amp suggestion.
Reply to
William Wallace
I wonder how many lives, if any, will be saved by this particular code change. That's supposed to be the reason for the code, but economic interests seem to be what really drive things.
Reply to
bob peterson
In absolute numbers there are really not that many people who die in house fires. It is a very small fraction of the number who die in cars but the NFPA strives to bring that low number lower. Bedrooms are the most dangerous rooms in the house since people there are usually sleeping when a fire starts. Smoke detectors in each bedroom are aimed at getting the inhabitants out in a timely manner and the AFCI is designed to prevent a common cause of fires at the source. Arcing faults from pinched cords are a common cause of a bedroom fire. These faults can be far below the trip value of a breaker but still spark enough to start a fire in a rug, sheet, blanket or even the dust bunnies under a bed. In the end we may only be talking about saving a dozen lives a year but if one of them is your kid you will want to spend the $40 for the AFCI.
Reply to
Greg
Is the number even as high as a dozen? I seem to recall seeing a number more like 1 or 2 deaths per year blamed on this problem in bedrooms.
$40 per bedroom does not sound like a lot, but I seem to recall there are something like 300 million bedrooms in the US. The eventual replacement of all those CBs would indicate a cost well over $1 billion. All that for the dubious premise of saving 1 or 2 lives a year.
If people want to spend $40 to replace an existing CB with an arc fault unit, I have no problem with it, but I think smoke detectors have far broader utility for protecting people from fire then do arc fault breakers.
OTOH, smoke detectors have gotten quite cheap, the patents are all expired, and there is little profit in them. Call me a cynic, but arc fault beakers seem to me to be just a way of squeezing a few more bucks out of the average consumer with little real benefit on the whole.
Reply to
bob peterson
We do that a lot in this counrty. I don't have a problem seeing your side. I was just repeating the justification from NFPA. We are becoming a "nanny state" I never found a compelling need to retrofit my home with AFCIs. ;-)
Reply to
Greg
You have to consider all bedroom fires due to arcs, not just those that resulted in death. And the code does not require retrofit for the existing 300 million (or whatever the number is) bedrooms. New construction and re-models would need it.
Reply to
ehsjr
If it's a couple of bucks, go fer it. Forcing a retrofit just doesn't make sense. ...though wait until it becomes a political tool...
GFCI was at one time expensive. GFCI receptacles are now dirt cheap.
Reply to
Keith R. Williams
Does this mean I am no longer going to be able to run my arc-producing appliances such as my Tesla coil with a rotary spark gap and my Jacob's ladder on my bedroom outlets?
Beachcomber
Reply to
Beachcomber
So, a pinched cord causes an arc and a spark, starts a fire, the arc fault detecter trips the circuit, and the smoke detector no longer works.
Sound like this change could result in more deaths, not fewer.
And how does a cord get pinched when somebody is sleeping?
Reply to
William Wallace
You replied to me - but I did not post anything about pinched cords or fire detectors. I believe - but I do not *know* - that the idea is that the AFCI will trip long before there is enough arcing to start a fire, and that arcing in electric blankets was a main (the ? main) concern - thus the bedroom requirement.
Reply to
ehsjr
Smoke detectors are required to have battery backup now too.
When its caught under a bed frame wheel? The electric blanket or heating pad fail? I'm really reaching to think of these...
-- Mark Kent, WA
Reply to
Mark or Sue
Except that the battery backup powers the unit.
Sincerely,
Donald L. Phillips, Jr., P.E. Worthington Engineering, Inc. 145 Greenglade Avenue Worthington, OH 43085-2264
snipped-for-privacy@worthingtonNSengineering.com (remove NS to use the address) 614.937.0463 voice 208.975.1011 fax
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Reply to
Don Phillips

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