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  1. #1
    Nick McBurney's Avatar
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    Default Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    I had a curious situation and was wondering if anyone has see this before. I was doing a final inspection on a house (I am a county building inspector) and was informed by the contractor that whenever he turns on a light in the bedroom the AFCI breaker would trip. I tested for shared neutrals with my ideal tester and and result was negative. All plugs test correctly, tripping the AFCI breaker. He had pulls a leg of power off the plug nearest to each switch as he went around the room and there were about 5 lighting legs with a switch and light fixture on each. Each switch tripped the AFCI breaker so this makes it highly unlikely that there was an arc fault in each separate lighting leg. Several of the switches were button activated with a sliding dimmer but there was also a standard switch so I doubt it was the type of switch used. If a standard breaker was installed everything would operate correctly. There was also a paddle fan in the bedroom and a gas insert. He tried 4 brands of AFCI breakers and they all acted the same way. The contractors point is that a switch always produces a small arc but my understanding is that the current AFCI breakers have a delay that accounts for switches. Any one have any idea what is causing the AFCI breaker to trip.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick McBurney View Post
    If a standard breaker was installed everything would operate correctly.
    "If a standard breaker was installed ... " or "WHEN a standard breaker was installed ... "?

    The contractors point is that a switch always produces a small arc ...
    If that were the case, then no AFCI breaker would hold for any circuit with a switch on it, regardless of make of the AFCI breaker.

    Did the electrician actually replace the AFCI breaker with a standard non-AFCI breaker? Did the breaker hold on?

    Did the electrician measure the current on the circuit with the non-AFCI breaker with the switch off and then with the switch on? This would measure leakage current in the switch leg and lighting circuit which would not be detectable by the AFCI with the switch off (that part of the circuit would be disconnected from the AFCI with the switch off).

    From your description, each of the 5 switch legs had its own circuit and its own AFCI breaker, and was completely independent of the other switch legs. I ask because if there was one common connection preceding all the switch legs, a problem in it would trip the AFCI breaker every time a switch was on. This could be a nail through a NM cable, a gouged NM cable, anything which could have damaged that common NM cable or connection, or maybe it was one problem connection common to all. Was more than one circuit involved (more than one breaker)?

    I would turn all the breakers on, turn all the lights and appliances off, turn all the switches in the house off, put a clamp on digital ammeter (set on its lowest scale) on each of the service entrance conductors (on each hot and the neutral, and on the grounding electrode conductor - meaning 4 clamp on digital ammeters), replace all the AFCI breakers with non-AFCI breakers, remove ALL the lamps in the lighting circuit on the switches you will be testing, now make a log of the ammeter readings, then switch on one light switch and check the clamp on ammeters ... if there is ANY CHANGE in ANY reading - that indicates there is a problem with that switch leg ... leave that switch on and write the ammeter readings in the log, now switch the next light switch on and check the clamp on ammeters writing down all readings with each additional switch being switched on, repeat until all switches have been switched on and all readings are written in the log.

    Look at your log and see where any reading changed - none should have changed with no loads on the circuits.

    Now switch the switches off in the same order as they were turned on, that means the first switch on is the first switch off, the last switch on is the last switch off, make readings are each step, see if there are any changes in the ammeter readings - there should not be any.

    Sounds to me like he either has a nicked NM cable or an incorrectly connected wire someplace. The ammeter readings should shown it up in the reading when the switch is operated on, then show up as gone when the switch is operated off.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Standard proceedure in any application where arc-fault breakers are required is (or ought to be) checking out the wiring with a megger. Wiring that passes a megger test won't trip anything but a bad arc-fault breaker.

    Keep in mind that arc-fault breakers have a built in GFCI function, and while the trip level is set higher than a standard GFCI the same things that trip a GFCI will trip an arc-fault. This list of stuff includes a neutral to ground or hot to ground short (overloads unless a direct short to ground don't trip AFCIs).

    I've seen pretty stupid stuff, like the way a ground wire was tucked into a box allowed it to contact a terminal screw on the switch. Cheap light fixtures packaged with the ground wire wrapped around the socket pigtails so tight it cut the insulation on one or the other - or both.

    AFCIs look for the "signature" of an arc, or the characteristics an arc produces. A switch does not produce this signature unless severely flawed as the time the arc exists is too short to trip the device and the type of arc is different than the AFCI is programmed to look for. A loose light bulb in a socket will produce arcs that trip an AFCI as will a bad socket (usually an overheated center contact that has lost its' spring qualities and doesn't make good lamp contact.

    In a new home I'd be looking for nails, drywall screws, or staples penetrating cables and bad workmanship installing devices and fixtures. While I'm not convinced that AFCIs function as advertised they all have characteristics that are fairly common between brands and tripping with the spark a new switch produces just isn't in the mix.


  4. #4
    Darrell Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    As a Municipal Building Inspector I have seen this many times. Light switches should not be connected to the light. The ceiling fan is the problem. Disconnect it, and hook up a regular light. It will fix the problem.


  5. #5
    Joe Kurpe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Never I repeat never put and ARC fault breaker on with lights or switches. The arc caused by the switch or the light it self coming on will trip the Arc Fault breaker. When contractors do this they create a night mare for them selves.


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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Darrell, Welcome to the board! It's good to see another muni inspector! Get ready to get hammered on!


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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Kurpe View Post
    Never I repeat never put and ARC fault breaker on with lights or switches. The arc caused by the switch or the light it self coming on will trip the Arc Fault breaker. When contractors do this they create a night mare for them selves.
    How can you avoid the requirements for AFCI protection? Although the first requirements for AFCI protection was only for bedroom receptacles, this was expanded in the next edition for bedroom outlets. Since some rooms require either a switched lighting outlet or a light this part of the circuit needs AFCI protection.

    Later editions of the NEC now require almost all non-GFI 120 volt protected circuits to be AFCI protected.

    Using the quote above no switches could be installed since they would trip the AFCI. Besides, no one would ever know where to look for the switches. .

    There is a wiring problem somewhere in that circuit.


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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    They could put every switch to every light in one location. Sayyyyyy in the hallway. Since light switches aren't required to be in the room for the light they operate!


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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    If there is a load on the circuit, the AFCI is doing its job. The switch is arcing on make or break. All simple switch devices will arc if there is sufficient load on the circuit. An unloaded circuit isn't a circuit and shouldn't arc. Does the AFCI trip when there is no known load on the circuit? I was thinking a make-before-break switch but since we're talking simple single pole devices, there isn't anything for the switch to make-to before breaking from.

    I wonder if the code thinkers considered this phenomenon? And how about architects? If the house was designed a few years ago, then the plans are obsolete. The electrical design will have to be redone. I was wondering why I was seeing new spec houses with ceiling lights installed in the bedrooms.

    Last edited by Stuart Brooks; 03-26-2010 at 07:43 AM. Reason: Needed it
    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  10. #10
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    He does have the afci connected correctly in the panel?

    If so does anything plugged into a receptacle in the bedroom trip the acfi when operated? This whole thing sounds like a neutral to ground fault...staple, bare ground touching neutral screw etc...if the afci is connected as it should be.


    If understand your post the contractor has switch legs pulled from 5 receptacles around the room 4 are dimmer/switches and one is a regular single pole switch. Only one afci is tripping. A non-afci/gfci breaker was installed on the circuit and everything worked and no tripping of the 'normal breaker'. You eliminated the afci as faulty.

    IMO there is no doubt he has a wiring error or fault with the neutral wire/grounded leg of that circuit that is common to all the receptacles and lights. All five lights trip the same afci so I am assuming single circuit. A mutliwire branch circuit wasn't used. If these receptacles are daisy chained around the room go to the receptacle where power first enters and the first switch loop is encountered. Look that receptacle and its connections over real good. If you don't see anything then disconnect the downstream receptacles to where the other switch legs are connected leaving only the one or first lighting switch leg operable. Operate that one light and see if the afci trips. Operate something in that receptacle and see if the afci trips. If so I doubt you have an arc trip of the afci but a ground fault issue.

    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 03-26-2010 at 08:48 AM.

  11. #11
    Darrell Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    You guys are reading to much in to this little problem. Ceiling fans can not be on the AFCI breaker. It trips the breaker. They tried to fix this problem, but it didn't happen. Sometimes if it is a high quality ceiling fan it will work, but most of the time they are cheap ceiling fans made in ... China? Ever notice why fart fans are not connected to gfci recepts. Because they have an electric fan in them which trip them. Ignore the code. Electric moters/Ceiling fans Arch.


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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    How can you avoid the requirements for AFCI protection? Although the first requirements for AFCI protection was only for bedroom receptacles, this was expanded in the next edition for bedroom outlets. Since some rooms require either a switched lighting outlet or a light this part of the circuit needs AFCI protection.

    Later editions of the NEC now require almost all non-GFI 120 volt protected circuits to be AFCI protected.

    Using the quote above no switches could be installed since they would trip the AFCI. Besides, no one would ever know where to look for the switches. .

    There is a wiring problem somewhere in that circuit.
    Is this a case where the power of insurance companies trumped all common sense? Virginia follows a slightly modified IRC and is still under the 2006 version. Anybody know where the AFCI requirement is in the IRC?

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    Anybody know where the AFCI requirement is in the IRC?
    SECTION E3802
    GROUND-FAULT AND ARC-FAULT
    CIRCUIT-INTERRUPTER PROTECTION


    E3802.1 Bathroom receptacles.
    All 125-volt, single-phase,
    15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in bathrooms shall
    have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.
    E3802.2 Garage and accessory building receptacles.


    All
    125-volt, single-phase, 15- or 20-ampere receptacles installed in
    garages and grade-level portions of unfinished accessory buildings
    used for storage or work areas shall have ground-fault circuit-
    interrupter protection for personnel (see Section E3802.11).
    Exceptions:
    1. Receptacles that are not readily accessible.
    2. Asingle receptacle or a duplex receptacle for two appliances
    located within dedicated space for each appliance
    that in normal use is not easily moved from one place to
    another, and that is cord- and plug-connected.
    E3802.3 Outdoor receptacles.


    All 125-volt, single-phase, 15-
    and 20-ampere receptacles installed outdoors shall have
    ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.
    Exception:


    Receptacles as covered in Section E4001.7.
    E3802.4 Crawl space receptacles.


    Where a crawl space is at
    or below grade level, all 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-
    ampere receptacles installed in such spaces shall have
    ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.
    E3802.5 Unfinished basement receptacles.


    All 125-volt, single-
    phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in unfinished
    basements shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter
    protection for personnel. For purposes of this section, unfinished
    basements are defined as portions or areas of the basement
    not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage
    areas, work areas, and the like (see Section E3802.11).
    Exceptions:
    1. Receptacles that are not readily accessible.
    2. Asingle receptacle or duplex receptacle for two appliances
    located within dedicated space for each appliance
    that in normal use is not easily moved from one
    place to another, and that is cord- and plug-connected.
    3. A receptacle supplying only a permanently installed
    fire alarm or burglar alarm system.
    E3802.6 Kitchen receptacles.


    All 125-volt, single-phase, 15-
    and 20-ampere receptacles that serve countertop surfaces shall
    have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.
    E3802.7 Laundry, utility, and bar sink receptacles.


    All
    125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles that are
    located within 6 feet (1829 mm) of the outside edge of a laundry,
    utility or wet bar sink shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter
    protection for personnel. Receptacle outlets shall not be installed
    in a face-up position in the work surfaces or countertops.
    E3802.8 Boathouse receptacles.


    All 125-volt, single-phase,
    15- or 20-ampere receptacles installed in boathouses used for
    storage or work areas shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter
    protection for personnel.
    E3802.9 Boat hoists.


    Ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection
    for personnel shall be provided for outlets that supply boat
    hoists supplied by 125-volt, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits.
    E3802.10 Electrically heated floors.


    Ground-fault circuit-
    interrupter protection for personnel shall be provided for
    electrically heated floors in bathrooms, and in hydromassage
    bathtub, spa and hot tub locations.
    E3802.11 Exempt receptacles.


    Receptacles installed under
    exceptions to Sections E3802.2 and E3802.5 shall not be considered
    as meeting the requirements of Section E3801.9.
    E3802.12 Arc-fault protection of bedroom outlets.


    All
    branch circuits that supply 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and
    20-ampere outlets installed in bedrooms shall be protected by a
    combination type or branch/feeder type arc-fault circuit interrupter
    installed to provide protection of the entire branch circuit.
    Effective January 1, 2008, such arc-fault circuit
    interrupter devices shall be combination type.
    Exception:


    The location of the arc-fault circuit interrupter
    shall be permitted to be at other than the origination of the
    branch circuit provided that:
    1. The arc-fault circuit interrupter is installed within 6
    feet (1.8 m) of the branch circuit overcurrent device as
    measured along the branch circuit conductors and
    2. The circuit conductors between the branch circuit
    overcurrent device and the arc-fault circuit interrupter
    are installed in a metal raceway or a cable with a
    metallic sheath.




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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell Thomas View Post
    You guys are reading to much in to this little problem. Ceiling fans can not be on the AFCI breaker. It trips the breaker. They tried to fix this problem, but it didn't happen. Sometimes if it is a high quality ceiling fan it will work, but most of the time they are cheap ceiling fans made in ... China? Ever notice why fart fans are not connected to gfci recepts. Because they have an electric fan in them which trip them. Ignore the code. Electric moters/Ceiling fans Arch.
    I have installed ceiling fans on AFCI protected circuits without problems.

    Bathroom exhaust fans will require GFI protection when installed over tubs and showers. This is stated in the installation instructions.

    I find it irresponsible for an inspector to have such a cavalier attitude regarding the Code. While I may not agree with all the parts of the Code does not mean I can ignore those that I do not like.


  15. #15
    Nick McBurney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Okay. I've read all the responses. Let me start by clarifying a few items, then offer my observations:
    There is only one circuit and one arc-fault breaker in the room, not 4 separate circuits.
    5 separate switched legs are pulled from separate outlets as the circuit goes around the room.
    A regular breaker was installed and did not trip when the lights were turned on.
    The switch to the fan was NOT turned on when the lights were turned on. I don't see how a ceiling fan that is not turned on can produce an arc in the circuit and trip the arc fault breaker. I do understand that the ceiling fan will quite possibily trip the arc fault when it IS turned on and should be replaced or put on another circuit.
    I did not put a load on the circuit by plugging in an appliance/tool,etc in one of the plugs to see if the arch fault would trip. I will suggest to the contractor that he try that.
    At this point I think there is an arc fault in the wire before it enters the room and that a load placed on any plug will trip the arc-fault, thereby proving that its not the arc in the switches (there is some difference of opinion on this point, but I do see switches on arc-fault breakers, I think the current generateion of arc-faults is designed to account for this common type of arc).
    I appreciate the more advanced troubleshooting approaches and will also pass them along to the contractor. The contractor did check each outlet, wire nut connection, and bond multiple times. I think he has done due dilligence.
    There is no way an municipal inspector is going to catch a small nic in a piece of NM wire every time during a rough electrical inspection. I think that testing the wire before closing up the walls is a great idea and will suggest that to contractors in the future.
    Its been a while since I posted to an online forum. I am reminded that since we are not interacting in person there's that level of directness that is reserved for on-line interactions. Fine by me. and thanks.


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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    Is this a case where the power of insurance companies trumped all common sense? Virginia follows a slightly modified IRC and is still under the 2006 version. Anybody know where the AFCI requirement is in the IRC?
    Stuart, I am not sure I understand your question following your post quoting me. What I meant to ask was how someone was seemingly bypassing the AFCI requirement just so switches could be installed and function correctly without tripping the AFCI component.


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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    In my home, I have AFCI's controlling the circuits in the bedrooms. They all have ceiling fans on those circuits. We also have wall switch controlled wall outlets with a lamp plugged in. I never have problems with my AFCI breakers tripping when the fan or light switches are turned on or off.

    I would think that if the AFCI breakers are tripping that you have a problem with either a fixture or a switch. I'm not a real smart feller but I do have a fair amount of logic.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Nick,

    I had a similiar problem with an AFCI in a house I built recently. The problem turned out to be a nicked wire in the wall which allowed the grounded conductor (neutral) to touch the ground. The AFCI sensed it and clicked off when a load was placed on it. Would not have found the problem with a regular CB.


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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Stuart, I am not sure I understand your question following your post quoting me. What I meant to ask was how someone was seemingly bypassing the AFCI requirement just so switches could be installed and function correctly without tripping the AFCI component.
    It was a rhetorical question.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Carlisle View Post
    SECTION E3802
    GROUND-FAULT AND ARC-FAULT
    CIRCUIT-INTERRUPTER PROTECTION
    Thank you sir!

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    I haven't had any of these issues either, but apparently the problem was so prevalent that the City of Tyler allows for bedroom ceiling fans to be on their own circuit.

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  22. #22
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell Thomas View Post
    You guys are reading to much in to this little problem. Ceiling fans can not be on the AFCI breaker. It trips the breaker. They tried to fix this problem, but it didn't happen. Sometimes if it is a high quality ceiling fan it will work, but most of the time they are cheap ceiling fans made in ... China? Ever notice why fart fans are not connected to gfci recepts. Because they have an electric fan in them which trip them. Ignore the code. Electric motors/Ceiling fans Arch.
    Darrell ... I think you are the one that needs to reread the original post ......


    Nick:


    I also agree you have an issue with the neutral wire somewhere before it enters the room. My earlier post was just to give the contractor peace of mind. I also agree that an appliance operated from one of the receptacles on that circuit will trip the afci.

    I'd find the home run box if possible and start there.

    I have found it interesting that some are saying no lights on afci's or ceilings fans on afci's. It would be impossible to comply with code if that were the case. I have never traced a cause for a tripping afci to a ceiling fan motor.or light switch that are not defective.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    I love you guys, Just call me Mr. Cavalier Attitude, By the way my info came down from the state building inspector at the time. I realize yall know alot of things and I didnt offer my knowledge to be belittled, I was trying to help. The information is correct and approved by the state. It was also given by the manufactures of electrical products at a state training class. By the way I did read the Question other wise I wouldn,t have responded. Next time you make a statement try to not talk down to people. I thought this site woul be fun but no its not. I should have listened to the warning I got....
    What a good first time impression you guys make. Hope you treat your client better than this. Treat people the way you want to be treated and if you cant say something nice then dont say any thing at all. Good day!


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell Thomas View Post
    I love you guys, Just call me Mr. Cavalier Attitude, By the way my info came down from the state building inspector at the time. I realize yall know alot of things and I didnt offer my knowledge to be belittled, I was trying to help. The information is correct and approved by the state. It was also given by the manufactures of electrical products at a state training class. By the way I did read the Question other wise I wouldn,t have responded. Next time you make a statement try to not talk down to people. I thought this site woul be fun but no its not. I should have listened to the warning I got....
    What a good first time impression you guys make. Hope you treat your client better than this. Treat people the way you want to be treated and if you cant say something nice then dont say any thing at all. Good day!
    Darrell,
    I realize there are guys on here that talk down to people. I don't agree with it; but hey, that's the way things are sometimes.

    I must admit my eyebrows raised with your statement, "ignore the code". The Code is providing you a living.

    Trust me, none of us treats our clients poorly. They provide our living.

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell Thomas View Post
    I love you guys, Just call me Mr. Cavalier Attitude, By the way my info came down from the state building inspector at the time. I realize yall know alot of things and I didnt offer my knowledge to be belittled, I was trying to help. The information is correct and approved by the state. It was also given by the manufactures of electrical products at a state training class. By the way I did read the Question other wise I wouldn,t have responded. Next time you make a statement try to not talk down to people. I thought this site woul be fun but no its not. I should have listened to the warning I got....
    What a good first time impression you guys make. Hope you treat your client better than this. Treat people the way you want to be treated and if you cant say something nice then dont say any thing at all. Good day!
    I was not trying to talk down to you. I was simply stating that your statements were in violation of the NEC requirements.

    You also said that switches and lights do not play well with AFCIs. This is counter to my experiences and also NEC requirements for AFCI protection on most circuits. If this were the case no switches or lights could be installed and remain code compliant, unless they were not 120 volt.

    I will state that I was bothered by your attitude to ignore the Code. As an inspector it is your job to assure that the installtion meets or exceeds the Code. Not just a selective enforcement of it.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell Thomas View Post
    I love you guys, Just call me Mr. Cavalier Attitude, By the way my info came down from the state building inspector at the time. I realize yall know alot of things and I didnt offer my knowledge to be belittled, I was trying to help. The information is correct and approved by the state. It was also given by the manufactures of electrical products at a state training class. By the way I did read the Question other wise I wouldn,t have responded. Next time you make a statement try to not talk down to people. I thought this site woul be fun but no its not. I should have listened to the warning I got....
    What a good first time impression you guys make. Hope you treat your client better than this. Treat people the way you want to be treated and if you cant say something nice then dont say any thing at all. Good day!
    Darrell, you just discovered that everything that a person states or says on this and pretty much any other discussion board will be scrutinized. Ya, gotta have thick skin and or be ready to defend a statement that you make if it is contradiction to a published reference. That's just the way it is...

    Over the years, I have been called out on a few things and had to admit I was wrong. Did it hurt? Na, I changed my Depends and got over it pretty quick.

    As for the "state building inspector", they are not always correct. Many of us see it everyday where approvals by an AHJ are just wrong. Many AHJ;s are a legend in their own mind.

    For the most part everyone is fairly friendly, especially after 8-9 in the morning after they have had some coffee and their meds!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell Thomas View Post
    As a Municipal Building Inspector I have seen this many times. Light switches should not be connected to the light. The ceiling fan is the problem. Disconnect it, and hook up a regular light. It will fix the problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Kurpe View Post
    Never I repeat never put and ARC fault breaker on with lights or switches. The arc caused by the switch or the light it self coming on will trip the Arc Fault breaker. When contractors do this they create a night mare for them selves.

    As MUNICIPAL INSPECTORS you two should KNOW not to post erroneous information like that ANYWHERE ... ... as THE CODE REQUIRES IT.

    Jeez, no wonder I see some of the stuff I see, even some code inspectors do not know what IS REQUIRED!

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell Thomas View Post
    I love you guys, Just call me Mr. Cavalier Attitude, By the way my info came down from the state building inspector at the time. I realize yall know alot of things and I didnt offer my knowledge to be belittled, I was trying to help. The information is correct and approved by the state. It was also given by the manufactures of electrical products at a state training class. By the way I did read the Question other wise I wouldn,t have responded. Next time you make a statement try to not talk down to people. I thought this site woul be fun but no its not. I should have listened to the warning I got....
    What a good first time impression you guys make. Hope you treat your client better than this. Treat people the way you want to be treated and if you cant say something nice then dont say any thing at all. Good day!
    You guys are reading to much in to this little problem. Ceiling fans can not be on the AFCI breaker. It trips the breaker. They tried to fix this problem, but it didn't happen. Sometimes if it is a high quality ceiling fan it will work, but most of the time they are cheap ceiling fans made in ... China? Ever notice why fart fans are not connected to gfci recepts. Because they have an electric fan in them which trip them. Ignore the code. Electric moters/Ceiling fans Arch
    If you read the question then where did you get the idea that a ceiling fan was being operated when the afci breaker tripped? Did you miss the part about 5 light switches tripping the afci breaker ?
    As for talking down to people ... read your own posts and tell me who is talking down to the members on this forum but your right I should have reworded my statements but I was trying to be nice ... your just having a difficult time because you have been proven wrong. Anyway after being fed that line of false information and to ignore the electrical code I do tend to question ones sanity and/or knowledge.

    Gfci's are tripped by bathroom exhaust fans?

    I suppoase the next thing your going to expect me to believe is that electric drills or any motor trips afci's and gfci's. Jeeez fella

    Go find your horse ...you've been lost in the desert way to long.....your horse will know how to get you home....


  29. #29
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    Talking Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    As MUNICIPAL INSPECTORS you two should KNOW not to post erroneous information like that ANYWHERE ... ... as THE CODE REQUIRES IT.

    Jeez, no wonder I see some of the stuff I see, even some code inspectors do not know what IS REQUIRED!
    Mr. Jerry Peck,
    I realize you know every thing, And I don't. Thats ok. Along with some of you other guys. I find a lot of the information informative. The information I gave came from someone just like you, a highly educated person. A building inspector of 20 plus years, a degree in electrical engineering. He was in charge of The State Electrical Inspection Division in which I worked. I, as The Inspection Deptment Head and Lead Building Inspector, I was instructed to not require bedroom lights to be connected to AFCI breakers. I followed his instructions and it solved the problems we were having with the AFCI breakers triping when the fan was turned on. The AFCI breakers mfg today are of better design and quality. But a lot of the fans are still junk and do arch. Ok, I made it all up.... Just kidding..LOL . The main reason these things were designed in the first place was to protect the kids, mainly the plugs that children could reach. Not light fixtures.
    So let me ask a question??? Is the closet required to be on an AFCI breaker? What do you think?
    Ok, I still remember I said "ignore the code", I should not have said that with out being a lot more exact in my statement. And there are those of you who do not agree, and thats ok. I dont agree with myself half the time. LOL, Now that was funny!!!
    Ok lets be clear, Jerry.... You need to get back on your meds, Because your just acting like a grumpy old man that just lost the front wheel of his tricycle. LMAO
    TAKE YOUR MEDS JERRY!!!!!!

    LOL=laughing out loud
    LMAO=laughing my ass off


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Frazee View Post
    If you read the question then where did you get the idea that a ceiling fan was being operated when the afci breaker tripped? Did you miss the part about 5 light switches tripping the afci breaker ?
    As for talking down to people ... read your own posts and tell me who is talking down to the members on this forum but your right I should have reworded my statements but I was trying to be nice ... your just having a difficult time because you have been proven wrong. Anyway after being fed that line of false information and to ignore the electrical code I do tend to question ones sanity and/or knowledge.

    Gfci's are tripped by bathroom exhaust fans?

    I suppoase the next thing your going to expect me to believe is that electric drills or any motor trips afci's and gfci's. Jeeez fella

    Go find your horse ...you've been lost in the desert way to long.....your horse will know how to get you home....
    Get a Life bud **** Off,


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Frazee View Post
    If you read the question then where did you get the idea that a ceiling fan was being operated when the afci breaker tripped? Did you miss the part about 5 light switches tripping the afci breaker ?
    As for talking down to people ... read your own posts and tell me who is talking down to the members on this forum but your right I should have reworded my statements but I was trying to be nice ... your just having a difficult time because you have been proven wrong. Anyway after being fed that line of false information and to ignore the electrical code I do tend to question ones sanity and/or knowledge.

    Gfci's are tripped by bathroom exhaust fans?

    I suppoase the next thing your going to expect me to believe is that electric drills or any motor trips afci's and gfci's. Jeeez fella

    Go find your horse ...you've been lost in the desert way to long.....your horse will know how to get you home....
    Where is my horse I thik I left it at the Red Dog Saloon...


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    You guys are not fun at all, enjoy life.
    Be happy!



  33. #33
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell Thomas View Post
    Where is my horse I thik I left it at the Red Dog Saloon...
    Well at least you admit you've been drinking..... how else does a cowboy from Oklahoma forget his horse ....


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell Thomas View Post
    I realize you know every thing, And I don't.
    Darrell,

    Actually, as I have stated on numerous occasions here and other places - I know that I do not know it "ALL", however, I also know that "there are some things" that I do know, and one of those things is that the NEC does not exempt lights and ceiling fans from AFCI protection. AFCI protection is going through the same acceptance curve that GFCI protection went through back in the 1970s, and many "smart" electricians, electrical engineers, etc., "knew" that GFCI protection was a rip off, did not work, and was therefore "not needed" - I doubt you will find any of those "smart" people who say that now.

    It is a learning curve and an acceptance curve that all changes, and especially big changes, must go through to gain wide spread acceptance throughout the industry. Your time will come to accept AFCI protection, as will the higher up "smarter" guy with the degrees - seems the smarter and more degrees one has, the longer it takes to accept change.

    So be it.

    I was instructed to not require bedroom lights to be connected to AFCI breakers. I followed his instructions and it solved the problems we were having with the AFCI breakers tripping when the fan was turned on.
    More accurately stated: you did not 'solve the problem', you only removed the detection of the problem. Again, what one does not understand is easier to deal with by removing the protection which is picking up on a problem - but removing the detection of the problem does not "solve" the problem ... sure, "the problem" "goes away", but is like closing the closet door on the bogey man - the bogey man IS STILL IN THE CLOSET, you just cannot see him ... not until something really bad happens, and then you go "Oh Crap! That is why the AFCI was tripping!" ... that usually happens about the same time the SECOND fire truck arrives ...

    The AFCI breakers mfg today are of better design and quality. But a lot of the fans are still junk and do arch.
    Not if the fans are made to the standards they are supposed to be made to.

    The main reason these things were designed in the first place was to protect the kids, mainly the plugs that children could reach. Not light fixtures.
    Wrong again.

    That is why tamper-resistant receptacles were made, not why AFCI breakers were made.

    AFCI breakers were made TO PROTECT THE CIRCUIT in case of an arc along the circuit conductors, to prevent/reduce the risk of fire. If AFCI protection was only to address kids, then AFCI protection would be allowed as AFCI receptacle devices like GFCI protection is allowed - but AFCI protection IS REQUIRED AT THE ORIGIN of "the circuit" conductors, not at the receptacles.

    So let me ask a question??? Is the closet required to be on an AFCI breaker? What do you think?
    Well ... (jeez, cannot believe this guy is an inspector and is asking these questions) ... the answer is "Yes, OF COURSE AFCI protection is required."

    Crimeny, have you not read the NEC? (bold and underlining are mine)
    - 210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection.
    - - (B) Dwelling Units. All 120-volt, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter, combination-type, installed to provide protection of the branch circuit.

    Jeez, and he is a code inspector?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  35. #35
    Darrell Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Darrell,

    Actually, as I have stated on numerous occasions here and other places - I know that I do not know it "ALL", however, I also know that "there are some things" that I do know, and one of those things is that the NEC does not exempt lights and ceiling fans from AFCI protection. AFCI protection is going through the same acceptance curve that GFCI protection went through back in the 1970s, and many "smart" electricians, electrical engineers, etc., "knew" that GFCI protection was a rip off, did not work, and was therefore "not needed" - I doubt you will find any of those "smart" people who say that now.

    It is a learning curve and an acceptance curve that all changes, and especially big changes, must go through to gain wide spread acceptance throughout the industry. Your time will come to accept AFCI protection, as will the higher up "smarter" guy with the degrees - seems the smarter and more degrees one has, the longer it takes to accept change.

    So be it.



    More accurately stated: you did not 'solve the problem', you only removed the detection of the problem. Again, what one does not understand is easier to deal with by removing the protection which is picking up on a problem - but removing the detection of the problem does not "solve" the problem ... sure, "the problem" "goes away", but is like closing the closet door on the bogey man - the bogey man IS STILL IN THE CLOSET, you just cannot see him ... not until something really bad happens, and then you go "Oh Crap! That is why the AFCI was tripping!" ... that usually happens about the same time the SECOND fire truck arrives ...



    Not if the fans are made to the standards they are supposed to be made to.



    Wrong again.

    That is why tamper-resistant receptacles were made, not why AFCI breakers were made.

    AFCI breakers were made TO PROTECT THE CIRCUIT in case of an arc along the circuit conductors, to prevent/reduce the risk of fire. If AFCI protection was only to address kids, then AFCI protection would be allowed as AFCI receptacle devices like GFCI protection is allowed - but AFCI protection IS REQUIRED AT THE ORIGIN of "the circuit" conductors, not at the receptacles.



    Well ... (jeez, cannot believe this guy is an inspector and is asking these questions) ... the answer is "Yes, OF COURSE AFCI protection is required."

    Crimeny, have you not read the NEC? (bold and underlining are mine)
    - 210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection.
    - - (B) Dwelling Units. All 120-volt, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter, combination-type, installed to provide protection of the branch circuit.

    Jeez, and he is a code inspector?

    Hay, Jerry, you would argue with a rock. Your one of those inspectors that we always had to feed with somthing to find so you could feel good about your self. I feel for sorry you. You dont know as much as you think you do. I think you are going a little to far with the personal attacks. I AM NOT A CODE INSPECTOR ANY LONGER. I have not been for many years, 2002. To be exact. I have not studied a code book since then.
    But let me say this: In all the years that I was a building inspector,I never ran across another building inspector or code inspector that wasn't always there to help with information or resources, ect. I have always looked up to inspectors and appreciated what they were there for and for the respect they commanded. The other city inspectors were always there for each other.
    Then I ran into you. Jerry, maybe at one time you had what it took to be a code inspector, and help people with information and inspection knowledge. I would think at some point in your career you were an excellent inspector. Some how you have forgotten what it is all about, helping fellow inspectors or home inspectors, or mabe Joe The Plumber, or anyone who just wants to learn. You are not a nice person. If you belittle people and make fun, then you have lost. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you can't treat people with respect then no one will want to be associated with you or be your friend. I for one do not like the type of person you are and do not want to be your friend or be associated with you in any way.
    In the future: Please do not make comments towards me or towards anything I say. Try to have some respect for others, Darrell Thomas


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell Thomas View Post
    I AM NOT A CODE INSPECTOR ANY LONGER. I have not been for many years, 2002. To be exact. I have not studied a code book since then.
    Darrell,

    That is NOT what you said:
    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell Thomas View Post
    As a Municipal Building Inspector I have seen this many times.
    You failed to mention that you no longer ARE, you stated "As a", which means you ARE.

    You need to more clearly state what you mean, or was it that you thought it made you statements more meaningful to say "As a" but you now find yourself better off saying "I AM NOT A CODE INSPECTOR ANY LONGER."?

    We cannot read your intent, only what you actually say.

    In the future: Please do not make comments towards me or towards anything I say. Try to have some respect for others, Darrell Thomas
    Darrell, then say what you mean, and mean what you say.

    Fortunately, this is a public board open to all comers, and we all are allowed to respond to all posts.

    "In the future:" Please keep your information forthright and above board, not changing what you are or were as it suits what you think may be best for you and your comments.

    "In the future:" Please be prepared to read my comments to all posts, including yours.

    Jeez, what a great guy you have not turned out to be - I think you need to take a real close look at yourself in the mirror and see what we see.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell Thomas View Post
    But let me say this: In all the years that I was a building inspector,I never ran across another building inspector or code inspector that wasn't always there to help with information or resources, ect
    Darrell, if you would back off of this little tirade you're putting on, you will find that every single one of the people on this message board will bend over backwards to help you. Questions or comments made in earnest aren't ridiculed. I've asked a bunch of rookie questions (i.e. stupid questions) and Jerry hasn't "belittled" me. Others have very patiently answered my points.

    So settle down and let's get back on thread. I'm actually interested in this b/c as I said previously, the City of Tyler allows for ceiling fans to be off of the AFCI circuit. I had presumed it had something to do with the arcing in the motor, but now having read the previous posts by Peck and Frazee and Port, sounds like I need to have a meeting with the City to find out their rationale.

    Bruce

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  38. #38
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Bruce,

    I for one would like to see Tylers rational for the exemption. Please post an update when available. Perhaps engineering data would be available from the manufaacturers about how the AFCI detects arcs from motors vs actual wiring issues.

    This seems strange given that TREC(?) wants the absence of AFCI noted even if the house was built well before the development of the device.


  39. #39
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    I regret ever making any comment on this sight. I have learned my lesson. I appoligize for the miss statement. I guarantee it will not happen again. I do not need this added stress in my life. I am more intersted in building by business and taking care of my family. I hope all of you have a wonderful succesful life. Good luck in all you do. Darrell Thomas


  40. #40
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Jerry from your post (#35)
    "AFCI breakers were made TO PROTECT THE CIRCUIT in case of an arc along the circuit conductors, to prevent/reduce the risk of fire. AFCI breakers were made TO PROTECT THE CIRCUIT in case of an arc along the circuit conductors, to prevent/reduce the risk of fire.If AFCI protection was only to address kids, then AFCI protection would be allowed as AFCI receptacle devices like GFCI protection is allowed - but AFCI protection IS REQUIRED AT THE ORIGIN of "the circuit" conductors, not at the receptacles.



    In all honesty AFCI protection IS allowed at the receptacle location as is GFCI protection!
    Read the exception to the article 210.12. Exception 1 to be exact, it tells you how to wire the circuit when AFCI protection is to be at the first outlet location.
    Exception 2 give you an exception for a Fire alarm system. ( residential smoke detectors are not fire alarm systems)

    The kicker is the code does allow it, but the manufactures are still designing them. The words AFCI Recepacle are even in the Draft for the 2011 NEC

    So Code wise It is allowed. Just not available as of yet.

    Last edited by ken horak; 03-28-2010 at 01:02 PM.

  41. #41
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    Jerry from your post (#35)
    "AFCI breakers were made TO PROTECT THE CIRCUIT in case of an arc along the circuit conductors, to prevent/reduce the risk of fire. AFCI breakers were made TO PROTECT THE CIRCUIT in case of an arc along the circuit conductors, to prevent/reduce the risk of fire.If AFCI protection was only to address kids, then AFCI protection would be allowed as AFCI receptacle devices like GFCI protection is allowed - but AFCI protection IS REQUIRED AT THE ORIGIN of "the circuit" conductors, not at the receptacles.



    In all honesty AFCI protection IS allowed at the receptacle location as is GFCI protection!
    Read the exception to the article 210.12. Exception 1 to be exact, it tells you how to wire the circuit when AFCI protection is to be at the first outlet location.
    Exception 2 give you an exception for a Fire alarm system. ( residential smoke detectors are not fire alarm systems)

    The kicker is the code does allow it, but the manufactures are still designing them. The words AFCI Recepacle are even in the Draft for the 2011 NEC

    So Code wise It is allowed. Just not available as of yet.
    Ken,

    My statement of it not being allowed was more correct than your statement of it being allowed.

    Yes, it "is allowed", BUT ONLY when done in accordance with the exception, which is quite restrictive. BOTH exceptions are quite restrictive.

    - 210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection.
    - - (B) Dwelling Units. All 120-volt, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter, combination-type, installed to provide protection of the branch circuit.
    - - - FPN No. 1: For information on types of arc-fault circuit interrupters, see UL 1699-1999, Standard for Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters.
    - - - FPN No. 2: See 11.6.3(5) of NFPA 72®-2007, National Fire Alarm Code®, for information related to secondary power supply requirements for smoke alarms installed in dwelling units.
    - - - FPN No. 3: See 760.41(B) and 760.121(B) for power-supply requirements for fire alarm systems.
    - - - Exception No. 1: Where RMC, IMC, EMT or steel armored cable, Type AC, meeting the requirements of 250.118 using metal outlet and junction boxes is installed for the portion of the branch circuit between the branch-circuit overcurrent device and the first outlet, it shall be permitted to install a combination AFCI at the first outlet to provide protection for the remaining portion of the branch circuit.
    - - - Exception No. 2: Where a branch circuit to a fire alarm system installed in accordance with 760.41(B) and 760.121(B) is installed in RMC, IMC, EMT, or steel armored cable, Type AC, meeting the requirements of 250.118, with metal outlet and junction boxes, AFCI protection shall be permitted to be omitted.

    I really doubt those methods have been used in the areas under discussion.

    But, yes, AFCI protection IS ALLOWED at the first receptacle IF - AND ONLY IF - the circuit is run in RMC, IMC, EMT, steel armored cable, TYPE AC, AND using metal outlet and junction boxes.

    To say it is allowed without adding those restrictions is, to me, a disservice to the readers.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Jerry-
    It would be as much of a disservice to the readers as posting a nec article and leaving out the exceptions. Then Stating for a fact that the AFCI protection MUST BE AT THE POINT OF ORIGIN OF THE CIRCUIT CONDUCTORS not the receptacle. ( which is not true)

    So YOUR statement was way more incorrect as you stated for a fact that it MUST BE at the source of the circuit. ( The breaker.)
    I staed that it is allowed at a receptacle AND I ALSO STATED THAT THE CODE ARTICLE TELLS YOU HOW TO WIRE THE CIRCUIT.
    I just didn't fill the page with cut and paste but gave the reader a direction of were to look it up!


  43. #43
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    It would be as much of a disservice to the readers as posting a nec article and leaving out the exceptions.

    Okay ... UNCLE ... I agree ... but ... (never mind) ... (I was going to justify it by saying that in the context of what we were discussing ... but I will not go there ) ...

    What I stated was incorrect as I did not state there were even any exceptions. Me bad on that one.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  44. #44
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    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker
    Thanks for the additional data Nick. Further descriptive clarification would help in understanding what you are looking at, so bear with my additional inquiry as follows:
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Nick McBurney
    Quote:

    There is only one circuit and one arc-fault breaker in the room, not 4 separate circuits.

    1. Does this AFCI branch circuit come directly from the main disconnect panel home run only to this bedroom or does it also service another bedroom?

    There is a single home run from the main service panel to the bedroom. It does not service any other bedrooms.

    2. Do other bedrooms have this same configuration and problem?

    Quote:

    5 separate switched legs are pulled from separate outlets as the circuit goes around the room.


    There is only one bedroom in the house at this time.

    3. Are these switched legs actually a half-hot parallel receptacle circuit in the room controlled by one single pole (SP) switch? 4. Is the Casablanca fan on it's own SP or is it controlled remotely or by pull chain?

    "Half hot parallel receptacle circuit in the room controlled by one single pole switch? 4".

    Huh. What does that mean? Let me try again: A leg of power runs up from the nearest receptacle/plug, in the wall, to the switch, and then continues as a switched leg to the light fixture. So I have a main circuit that services all 6 receptacles and I have 5 separate swtiched legs originating from 5 different receptacles. None of the receptacles are switched. The fan has its own SP switch.



    Quote:

    A regular breaker was installed and did not trip when the lights were turned on.

    5. If this is the case refer to SCOTT P's last post if switching the half-hots plugged in lamps. There would most likely be a slight cord leakage or connection intermittant in that circuit leg. Disconnect all other lamps in that room. Also check the type of lamp 'bulb' used. 6.Is it a CFL? (Some have ballast issues) Change to incandescent.

    Lamps are not plugged into switched outlets. They are recessed can lights in the ceiling. They are incandescent light bulbs with dimmer switches.


    Quote:

    The switch to the fan was NOT turned on when the lights were turned on.

    7. See comment Qu.4. Separate from other switched half-hots?
    Quote:

    I don't see how a ceiling fan that is not turned on can produce an arc in the circuit and trip the arc fault breaker.

    I agree.
    Quote:

    I do understand that the ceiling fan will quite possibly trip the arc fault when it IS turned on and should be replaced or put on another circuit.

    8. Does it trip when switched on? If so, disconnect the fan switch leg in the wall switch box.

    I will ask the contractor to check on this.


    Quote:

    At this point I think there is an arc fault in the wire before it enters the room and that a load placed on any plug will trip the arc-fault,

    9. If there is a fault leakage, it would trip the AFCI at the panelboard without turning any circuit on unless there is a loose wire termination inside a wire nut. (Using an Ideal 61-165 tester would detect in-wall outlet box wirenut or device loose connections.).

    I'll have to see if the contractor can pick one of these testers up.

    Huh. The AFCI tripped when I tested it with my tester.(61-0569) And the tester did not indicate a shared neutral. You are saying the AFCI will trip without any circuit turned on...unless the arc is in a loose wire termination inside a wire nut. Neither of these comments make sense to me. Sorry. Combination arc fault breakers (which all currently approved arc fault breaker must be) sense both parralled (Neutral to hot) and serial (hot to hot) arc faults. What difference would the location of the arc make to the tester?


    Quote:

    The contractor did check each outlet, wire nut connection, and bond multiple times. I think he has done due dilligence.

    10. So are these outlets parallel pigtailed or through device back-stabbed receptacles?

    Parrallel pigtailed.


    Quote:

    There is no way an municipal inspector is going to catch a small nic in a piece of NM wire every time during a rough electrical inspection.

    I agree. That is the contractor's job.
    Quote:

    I think that testing the wire before closing up the walls is a great idea and will suggest that to contractors in the future.

    11. A good suggestion, but usually a head's up EC will do this by backfed temp power without fixtures (luminaires).
    Its been a while since I posted to an online forum. I am reminded that since we are not interacting in person there's that level of directness that is reserved for on-line interactions. Fine by me. and thanks.



    You are welcome. rbj

    Little flame war there...We are without verbal inflection, facial expression, visual non-verbal queues, in fact we are missing almost everything necessary to make communication between people work. Or more importantly, to go from pissed off and defensive to friendly and forgiving. Hell, that's hard to do in real life. All hail the Internet. All responses to this remark are to be made in the spirit in which it was written, which is to say any flame war that results only proves my point.

    Summary and closure of this thread:

    1. Today, fans MAY OR MAY NOT work depending on the arc-fault breaker and the fan model. Test fan before covering up wire.
    2. Switches and incandescent light fixtures will more then likely work. If you are planning to use CFLs test before covering up electrical wiring.
    3. California is still on the 2005 NEC, not the 2008 NEC.
    4. Test arc fault circuits before covering them up!!!!

    Thanks everyone.


  45. #45
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick McBurney View Post
    Summary and closure of this thread:

    3. California is still on the 2005 NEC, not the 2008 NEC.
    There is no closure until all has been said ... and said again ... and again ... and

    The 2005 NEC still covered "outlets" as in "lighting outlets" and not just "receptacle outlets", just fewer locations - like bedrooms only - otherwise not much different.

    The word "receptacle" was removed from "receptacle outlets" in the 2002 NEC, leaving it as just "outlets", which included lighting "outlets", smoke detector "outlets", etc.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  46. #46
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    berkeley
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    On another site someone recommended using a tool such as Siemens Intelli-Arc Arc Fault Diagnostic Tool for diagnosing mystery AFCI tripping -- would that have helped here?

    Last edited by sara mcmains; 07-18-2013 at 12:06 AM.

  47. #47
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    I'll add my cent and a half

    I inspect new homes all the time with the full arc fault requirement

    No problems yet other than a master that had a three wire messed up and once corrected the arc faults were just fine.

    Fans, lights, vents, it's all good.


  48. #48
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Wenatchee Wa
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    I did not read through all the replies. But I have seen way too many home with all outlets in bedrooms that are AFCI perform just fine (lights, fans etc...). If the AFCI is tripping and you have verified that you do not have a bad AFCI breaker, then something is going on and most likely the AFCI is doing its job.

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

  49. #49
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: Light switches in bedroom trip AFCI breaker

    Switch contacts arcing? Switch wired using the cheater holes instead of the screw lugs? I inferred from the OP that it was a new house. Some products are defective when installed and bad wiring practices are not unusual.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

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