Arc Detect Breakers

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by seaneys, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. seaneys

    seaneys New Member

    Messages:
    192
    Location:
    Chicago Suburbs
    Hello,

    I'm redoing my basement and adding a small addition. The project is permitted. I am doing the electrical and plumbing.....

    I'm seriously considering using arc detect breakers for many of the circuits. It seems like a small incremental expense in light of the amount I save doing the work myself.

    Is there a downside to using Arc Detect Breakers? The only annoying point I've found is that they only have a single branch connection.

    Steve
  2. Basement_Lurker

    Basement_Lurker One who lurks

    Messages:
    668
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    All gfi and afi breakers only work on a single circuit. I am required by code to install afi circuits for all plug receptacles in all bedrooms, and I am required by code to install gfi circuits for all plug receptacles within 5' of a kitchen sink. I guess if you think about it, the added protection is worth it on all circuits if you have the money, but each one of those breakers run a hundred dollars here, so it adds up quickly.
  3. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    1,001
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    I'm not sure about Canada, but in the US we have available many varieties of two-pole GFCI breakers in many amperages, and a few companies making 15&20A AFCI two-pole breakers for use in 240v and multi-wire applications.

    I know Canada is mainly Fed Pioneer (sp?) territory so that may be the reason.
  4. Basement_Lurker

    Basement_Lurker One who lurks

    Messages:
    668
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    There are about 4 major electrical brands here in Canada. I believe square d and stab-lok are the two most prevalent.

    Yes there are lots of 2P versions of the gfci and afci breakers available, but as far as I understood it, those are only to be used for running a 240v 3 wire protected circuit. Running two circuits off of a 2P gfci/afci breaker would entail using a shared neutral which renders the gfci/afci breaker useless. If not, then it's news to me and I will have learned something new :)
  5. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    1,001
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Sure. It is perfectly fine to use two-pole AFCI and GFCI breakers for multi-wire circuits.

    They monitor BOTH 120v & 240v loads at the same time, hence the neutral tail connection from the breaker. If they only worked with 240v loads no neutral tail would be required.
  6. seaneys

    seaneys New Member

    Messages:
    192
    Location:
    Chicago Suburbs
    Is there any reason not to use them on a sump circuit? I just realized that I instinctively put an afi on my sump.. I'm using afi's whenever possible to be paranoid.

    Thanks,
    Steve
  7. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    1,001
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Yes, motors inherently arc. Ever see the brushes when a motor is running? This is also why many/most vacuums trip AFCIs.
    You WILL get nuisance trips. This may happen at a very inopportune time, especially with a sump pump.

    Paranoia is not always a good thing.
  8. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT

    Actually the neutral tail would still be there, I believe it is required for the electronics in the AFI or GFI breaker to operate....
  9. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    AFCI breakers are required only on new bedroom circuits.

    They are susceptible to nuisance trips and are an expensive and virtually useless device promoted by the manufacturers.

    GFCIs are a different story. The best (least expensive) way to get GFI protection is to put a GFI outlet as the first outlet on a circuit and connect the rest of the outlets through the load terminals.
  10. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    Sean:

    It is hard to fault someone that is erring on the side of safety. In my house all branch circuits that feed 15 and 20 receptacles are GFCI protected. ARC Fault were not available at the time I built the house.

    I have always felt since the arrival of Arc Fault, why the limited it to bedrooms, I mean if your asleep and the living room has an electrical issue what good is the bedroom being on AF protected circuit?

    KEEP THOSE SMOKE DETECTORS WORKING.
  11. seaneys

    seaneys New Member

    Messages:
    192
    Location:
    Chicago Suburbs
    I've ended up using individual GFCIs on every outlet. It is more expensive (especially with pro grade), but iI tend to run branches between floors. It's also more convenient for my wife / kids when they trip.

    Steve
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