AFCI Circuit trips when I turn on lights

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Keith Wolf Ent, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. Keith Wolf Ent

    Keith Wolf Ent New Member

    Messages:
    8
    has about 4 plugs and 4 lights/switches on it - all 110v/60cycles, on a 20 amp AFCI breaker: 4 wall outlets (2 in master BR), (1) GFCI outlet, (2) motion detectors (Incandescent), with bathroom bulbs over the sink on one and an overhead light on the other, a bath fan and an outdoor spot fixture w/2 bulbs...
    Is there too much going on/conflicts? Advice please... Thx!

    P.S: I didn't install this circuit!:(
  2. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Don't rule out the possibility that you're actually generating an arc when you turn on the lights, and the AFCI is doing its job. Could be a bad switch, bulb socket, wiring, etc.
  3. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    i would go with sloppy wiring, and a bad neutral to ground connection. Remove the ground and neutral in the panel and check for continuity.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,534
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Afci

    Not sure about an AFCI, but a GFCI will trip if one of the devices is connected to a neutral wire for a different circuit.
  5. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT

    Same thing. Cant mixmatch neutrals from different circuits, I guarantee if the OP takes the light fixture down he will find a pinched neutral.
  6. mc_1_2_3

    mc_1_2_3 New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania
    Another question, do AFCI's have to be used for lighting cicuits in bedrooms or just mandatory for outlets?

    Thanks,

    Mark
  7. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I think the 2008 Code says "outlets", which in Code-speak means "any point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment". This includes "receptacles" which is what I think you mean when you say "outlet". What we common folk call "lights" are really "luminaires". I'm sure anybody with a copy of the 2008 Code handy can confirm/deny this.
  8. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    It was mandated in the 05 code.
  9. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Right -- I knew there were AFCI changes in the 2008 Code, mistakenly thought the bedroom requirement had changed somewhat.
  10. mc_1_2_3

    mc_1_2_3 New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania
    What exactly was mandated, AFCI's on bedroom receptacles only? Any other places AFCI's are mandated? I am framing my new house currently and will be wiring soon, so this info will be handy.

    Thanks,
    Mark
  11. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    Your gonna need alot more info than just AFCI requirements...
  12. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    You should contact your local AHJ (inspector) ASAP and find out exactly what your local requirements are. They may be following the 2008 NEC, 2005, or a local conglomeration of NEC, local variations, etc. You could actually wire your new house strictly conforming to the 2008 NEC and fail a local inspection.
  13. mc_1_2_3

    mc_1_2_3 New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania
    This isn't the first house I have built, but it is the first one with the codes, (in Pennsylvania). I used to be an electrician, so the fundamentals haven't changed, just some of the requirements, like AFCI's. Couldn't buy them around here when I was an electrician. I have been in constant communication with the inspectors before I even designed the house, let alone start digging.

    So, AFCI's in bedroom receptacles only, in general?

    Thanks,
    Mark
  14. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Again, until the guys here know exactly what rules you're building under, they can't really give you the advice you're looking for. Your local inspector is the one to talk to. Also, depending on when you built that last house, you might be surprised to see how much what you consider "the fundamentals" have changed. If I may borrow from plumbing, there are only 2 fundamentals anymore, and only one of them is certain: electrons run uphill, and ******'s on Friday :D.

    Now, why on earth did that word get censored?

    As far as the specific issue of AFCIs goes, the 2005 Code requires AFCI protection on "all 120V, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit bedrooms". Note the use of outlets, rather than receptacles. I think the 2008 Code requires them on all circuits in the house, with, of course, some exceptions.

    If you've really been in constant communication with your inspector, you wouldn't be asking these questions here.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
  15. mc_1_2_3

    mc_1_2_3 New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania
    Yep I'm a liar. Sorry for asking questions on this forum. Guess that isn't what this is for, right? From now on I will direct all questions to the local inspector and ignore pricks like you.

    Anyway, here is what PA code uses:


    Building Codes
    Search Printable Version Text-Only Full-Screen

    UCC Codes

    The UCC Administration and Enforcement regulation has adopted the following codes for use throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, effective 12/31/2006:
    International Building Code 2006 (base code for commercial construction)
    ICC Electrical Code 2006 (utilizes National Electric Code 2005 standards)
    International Energy Conservation Code 2006
    International Existing Building Code 2006
    International Fire Code 2006
    International Fuel Gas Code 2006
    International Mechanical Code 2006
    International Performance Code for Buildings and Facilities 2006 (provides alternative compliance approach)
    International Plumbing Code 2006
    International Residential Code 2006 (code for one- and two-family dwellings no more than 3 stories in height)
    International Wildland-Urban Interface Code 2006

    The codes currently in use under the UCC are the 2006 International Codes issued by the International Code Council. No supplements to the 2006 codes will be adopted for use. The next code changes will occur in 2009 (when the next triennial versions of the I-Codes are adopted by regulation).

    Good day,
    Mark
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,947
    Location:
    New England
    So, you'd prefer we tell you an answer that applied to a code your local inspector doesn't use and isn't applicable?

    There is NO nationally applied, consistent electrical OR plumbing code, accepted in all locations. Some things are the same in any that apply, but many locales rewrite them to suit themselves. The ONLY way to be sure it meets local codes is to know exactly where you are, and which code they use.
  17. mc_1_2_3

    mc_1_2_3 New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania
    My issue is that he implied that I am lying about talking to my local code inspectors.
  18. alternety

    alternety Like an engineer

    Messages:
    650
    Location:
    Washington
    As has been mentioned already above, check you fixtures. If neutral is touching ground the AFCI will trip. I found several Ikea ceiling lights with internally pinched neutrals that grounded. And one that grounded the hot wire. It was the luck of the draw which wire got pinched.

    Test them disconnected before you put them up. And/or inspect visually. One of them was pinched but not completely through the insulation. Tightening it to the ceiling finished it.

    The design was built in such a fashion as to almost require something getting the insulation pinched and grounded. They left wires running around that should have been tied down. And the final manufacturing or installation was done blindly so the problem could not be seen by the assembler/installer. Yes I reported it to Ikea.
  19. Keith Wolf Ent

    Keith Wolf Ent New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Please Do not Pee Here

    On each other over my question... I thank ALL of you for your advice, whether or not you agree with each other:) Let's all play nice:rolleyes:
  20. kd

    kd New Member

    Messages:
    207
    The list of codes being followed is just a starting point. What matters is the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) interpretation of the codes. For example, one city near me says no AFCI protection on paddle fans or smoke detectors.
    When I work in other AHJs, I have a check list that I go over with the inspector. This saves thousands of dollars.
Similar Threads: AFCI Circuit
Forum Title Date
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog AFCI breaker (in Wisconsin) needed for dedicated light circuit? Jul 30, 2014
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Afci & gfci on same circuit?? Aug 27, 2012
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Afci circuit with gfi extension cord? Feb 5, 2012
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Gfci--afci----> lcdi Jan 17, 2012
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog AFCI Questions Dec 27, 2011

Share This Page