AFCI breaker (in Wisconsin) needed for dedicated light circuit?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by snokel, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. snokel

    snokel Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Wi
    Does anyone know if arc fault breakers are required on dedicated light circuits in Wiscconsin?
    Reason I ask is my house was built in 2012 and none of the dedicated light circuits have AFCI breakers but al the outlets that are not GFCI protected do.
    I have a can light circuit in the basement that I need to permanently install in the panel.

    Thanks,

    Snorkel
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Both the state and your local code enforcement agencies could have slightly different adaptations of the national codes...the only way to really know is to talk to a local building inspector, IMHO. IOW, it depends on what implementation of the code, and which one, your local area is currently using. Some are still using the code defined from years ago, and have not adopted the newest ones.
  3. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    I will add my none expert reply.

    There is no need for a light to be on a Arc Fault protector.

    If it is in a Damp location, like a basement, and you can reach the bulb, it should be on a Ground fault interrupt.

    If the light is on a arc fault protector, and anything causes a arc , it Can turn off the light, and that is not good in a dark location, when you need to get out


    A basement should always have aux lighting. I think, and a GFI is your best bet for safety protection.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    One's preferences have no standing if they differ from the code requirement. It's my understanding that in many places, (this assumes your locale has adopted them, they may not have) pretty much all circuits require an AFCI, and some also require it to be GFCI as well. I expect that there are some special exemptions, and the implementation date may yet be in the future. Bottom line, before you do any electrical work, you need to know YOUR local code with any local amendments, or you could run into trouble. And, note that they can and do change as newer regulations get implemented, changed, or repealed. IOW, it can be a moving target, so timing can be critical.
  5. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    Very true Jim.

    A internet forum is not a very good place to get info on YOUR code requirements.

    The inspector is the one that you need to satisfy.

    There are a lot of places that will not let you do any wiring.


    I am lucky to live where I can do what I want, But I can not inspect my own work if a permit is required.


    One should be very careful when playing with electricity.
  6. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

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    Location:
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    One also needs to be careful of what advice they take from the internet. Like your previous reply for instance.
    You say your "non-expert" advice, yet you go on to make it seem your answers are factual, while NONE of them are.
  7. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    So what is the Expert Answer ?

    I never claimed to be a expert, I just know some shit, and how electricity and electronics work.

    Most light switches create a ark when you turn them on. Using a AM radio, You can test that theory for yourself.


    Have a Safe day.
  8. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,540
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Every circuit that opens and closes through contacts will arc. The code requires “outlets” to be protected by arc fault and we have receptacle outlets as well as lighting outlets.
    DonL likes this.
  9. Chad Schloss

    Chad Schloss Member

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    Location:
    USA
    After I rewired my entire house, and have most everything on AFCI breakers (lights too) I had one detect a faulty ballast in a bedroom light fixture. It would trip here and there, not often, not too much really at all, just made me wonder why it was the only one that had the issue. (the only thing on this breaker is this single light)

    A few years later, When the light finally wouldn't come on, i took the fixture apart, and the bulb had black all over it, and the ballast behind the light housing was indeed bad. It was a new style round florescent tube, with the ballast hidden between the ceiling and the light fixture trim. now if I see it again, I will replace the fixture sooner ( i have 4 of these same ones )

    I have had no troubles with any AFCI breakers at all, even after reading all the info about them and how they can trip willy nilly.
  10. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    Location:
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    Chad,

    A lot of the older AFCI breakers did have problems with RFI. They can trip willy nilly. Ham radio operators gave the manufacture fits, and helped them fix the problem. The newer AFCIs are a lot better.

    If anyone has the old ones that trip willy nilly, You can get replacements free of charge.

    Many of the new light fixtures have switching power supplies, Not to many use a ballast transformer anymore, unless it is a 48 inch tube, 40 watts or larger. Switching power supplies do not really arc, but the Switching frequency screws with the arc detection circuit.

    A AM radio is one of the best arc detectors. Most of the RF that a Arc fault makes is in the lower part of the frequency spectrum, and can be very broadband, not at 60 or 120 Hz like you would think it should be using a 60 cycle source.


    I use FB fuses and smoke detectors, They work for me.


    Smoke detectors can also tell you when Dinner is done. My wife tests that theory all the time, and it works.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  11. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    OK...


    Yes, there is. Lighting outlets have been required to be AFCI protected for several code cycles now. It is safe to assume most areas fit this description.


    There is NO such code, nor is it really that beneficial. Lighting fixtures are not a real big source of ground faults or shocks due to dampness.


    So what??? If it's required it's required. You can't pick and choose the codes that you don't agree with. Sorry, but that's the society we live in. Maybe it's because you live in Texas. I hear a lot of places there don't have codes, or at least that's what I hear all the time on boards like this.


    For receptacles, yes, I agree.
    SHR likes this.
  12. snokel

    snokel Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    Wi
    I did talk to the inspector and they are required for lighting circuits. This is a fairly new requirement in WISC from what I can gather as my house was built in 2012 and there is a couple of light circuits that do not have AFCI which the inspector said are grandfathered in unless I want to change them out.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,129
    Location:
    New England
    The codes are a moving target...so, it is always safest to check. THen, consider that the national code recommendation may change, but the local or state may not adopt it immediately, so what's true in some places, is not true elsewhere. You can get into a lot of trouble unless you ask, and then, sometimes the local agency amends the code and it doesn't follow any of the national ones. IT can be a real can of worms.
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