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Author Topic: 2008 NEC  (Read 2636 times)
David Anderson
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« on: October 14, 2009, 05:41:12 PM »

I've been told that in homes we now have to install arc-fault, tamper proof plugs in new construction or remolding.  Here is a summary in the Colorado agency that regulates such things. 

http://www.dora.state.co.us/Electrical/forms/HomeownerPermits.pdf

Another attempt at gov't protecting me from all risks, I guess.   I bet the device manufacturers really lobbied hard to get that into the NEC. 

Gee, how did I make it to my age with 2 pronged ungrounded plugs. 

I don't think I'll worry about it in my bus, however.

David
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belfert
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2009, 05:48:50 PM »

This has been the case since the 2002 code I believe.  My house was built in 2001, but when I finished off some space in 2007 I had to AFCI breakers for the bedrooms.  I don't recall if I had to add AFCI to the smoke alarm circuit or not.

Different states adopt the codes at different times.  I suppose some states could still be on the 1999 code.  My reading of the 2008 code made it unclear if RVs needed AFCIs.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2009, 06:32:59 PM »

Our county is still back on 1997 Roll Eyes. Nice for us contractors Grin They are going to move up a year or two soon Sad. Oh well...

God bless,

John
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Chuck Newman
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2009, 06:55:06 PM »

David,

As Brian said the Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) requirement has been in the NEC for some time.  I was thinking it started in '05, but I don't work the area any longer and my memory is fading fast with dates.

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install arc-fault, tamper proof plugs

The only AFCI currently being sold, around here at least, is the combination circuit breaker/AFCI in one unit.  Available in 15 or 20 versions.  I'm not aware of any associated tamper proof plugs.  But that certainly doesn't mean their aren't any.

I put an AFCI on my house master bedroom circuit.  It supplements the Ground Fault Receptacle (GFR) in the bathroom.  They do different jobs.  Contrary to what some say, they work fine in conjunction with each other.

I have put several of each in the bus AC wiring.  The only downside I have noted is they will not work on "2 wire" circuits or "multi-wire" circuits that you will find in many homes.

Keep in mind that States and Counties can add requirements to the NEC as deemed necessary by the "Local Authority".

Chuck

« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 06:57:21 PM by Chuck Newman » Logged

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Sean
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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2009, 09:20:35 PM »

I've been told that in homes we now have to install arc-fault, tamper proof plugs in new construction or remolding.


These are two separate items.  Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCI's) are usually integral to a circuit breaker; tamper-resistant outlets are just what you'd imagine.

AFCI requirements have been in the code for quite some time.  What changed in 2008 is that the list of circuits requiring AFCI protection was expanded.

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Another attempt at gov't protecting me from all risks, I guess.   I bet the device manufacturers really lobbied hard to get that into the NEC.  


You'd lose that bet.  In fact, most manufacturers resisted adding AFCI requirements to the code for a long time because they did not have a good way to make them.  The AFCI provisions were highly controversial because the need was clear, but the solution was not.

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Gee, how did I make it to my age with 2 pronged ungrounded plugs.


You made it.  Others were not so lucky.  They are not here to tell us about their experience on the Internet.

Every provision in the code has a pile of dead bodies behind it.

-Sean
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« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 09:24:51 PM by Sean » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2009, 10:30:52 AM »

 
Every provision in the code has a pile of dead bodies behind it.

-Sean


Sean,

Do you know how large the pile for ARC?  GFI?  It has been several years since I looked but the only justification I found was hypothetical.  X number of people's lives could be saved by these changes.  I always suspected the insurance industry pushed the standards.

Mike 

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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2009, 01:16:05 PM »

My recent experience in installing a ceiling fan on a circuit protected by AFCI; With the wall switch OFF, if you touch both conductors, your bare hand will pass sufficient current to trip the AFCI breaker even though there isn't even enough current to shock you.  Reminds me of the early GFCIs that would trip practically if you sneezed. LOL  I liked the remark above re. the requirement for them regardless of the fact that the technology hadn't been perfected.  Ain't that always the way?  Deliver us from our protectors...
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2009, 01:21:57 PM »

Do you know how large the pile for ARC?  GFI?


It's hard to say, because of the way in which statistics are compiled (or, more accurately, not compiled).  So, yes, the actual life saving potential is an estimate based on extrapolating from poor data.

What is not disputed, though, is that about 10% of all house fires are electrical in origin, and that at least some of those are from arcs that would have been prevented by arc-fault protection.  It does not take a very large percentage to add up to a lot of lives.

GFI's are more clear-cut, because virtually every electric shock that anyone ever gets from an AC appliance would be avoided by a GFI.  So at some level, you can say that anyone who was electrocuted using household power would have been saved by a GFCI.

The GFI history is also very illuminating, in terms of how the code really helps.  I'm sure everyone in the construction industry has known for a long time that GFI's save lives, and yet virtually no one installed them until it became mandatory (you can see parallels here in many industries -- look at air bags in cars, for example).  Unsurprisingly, GFCI's cost nearly $100 each when they first came out.

As the code requirements to install them ramped up, so did the number purchased and thus made, and the per-unit cost plummeted.  A GFCI receptacle today is a commodity item costing only a few dollars; as a result, people install them sometimes even where not required.  If there is any doubt in the mind of an electrician whether it's needed or not, he's probably just going to put one in.

Many safety innovations would not exist today or would not be affordable without mandatory regulations calling for them, because left to themselves, consumers will not elect to spend extra money on them.  I remember Lee Iacocca appearing before Congress saying he would love to put airbags in Chrysler's cars, but he couldn't afford to do it unless the playing field was leveled by Congress mandating everyone do it.  Yet, today, there is no question that these devices have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

-Sean
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« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2009, 01:25:45 PM »

...  I liked the remark above re. the requirement for them regardless of the fact that the technology hadn't been perfected.  Ain't that always the way?  Deliver us from our protectors...


But see my comments above.  GFI's would never have been perfected without the mandate to install them, and neither will AFCI's.  You have to start somewhere -- Schneider and Leviton are not going to invest millions in perfecting a technology for which there is no viable market.  Now that the mandate is there, they'll each trip all over themselves trying to make one more reliable than the other guy -- that's how they capture market share.

-Sean
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Len Silva
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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2009, 03:01:10 PM »

We don't need no stinkin' Electrical Code nohow.  Damn government gettin' in our business all the time!
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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2009, 06:11:44 PM »

Do you know how large the pile for ARC?  GFI?

What is not disputed, though, is that about 10% of all house fires are electrical in origin, and that at least some of those are from arcs that would have been prevented by arc-fault protection.  It does not take a very large percentage to add up to a lot of lives.

You statement is exactly what I found.  There isn't any proof that any of the devices help.  Most fires are started from fires:  matches, cigarettes, stoves, fireplaces, fireworks etc.  Electrical wiring fires have been low to nonexistent since the advent of circuit breakers.

Here is what happened.  The National Code people sued for copyright protection.  They won.  This made them lots of money.  Now how does a publisher make more money?  Change the book under the guise of updating.  Much of the code has been foisted on us mainly to provide an income stream not because you or I am better protected. 

I understand why hospitals/nursing homes would adopt items such as GFIs.  I don't understand why it would be required for all of America adopt.  It doesn't provide one bit more protection for the average person.

What added protection do ARC devices provide over circuit breakers?

Mike
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« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2009, 06:45:03 PM »

Arc fault circuit interrupters are supposed to protect against things like nails through wiring that does not cause a direct short.  Apparently there have been cases where smoldering fires start from this.  They started with bedrooms because it is more likely someone asleep could be overcome.

I think AFCIs are just stupid.  I suspect most homes that could ever have this problem are older homes that aren't subject to AFCIs.

GFIs I have no problem.  People do stupid stuff with water and electricity all the time in bathrooms.

I've heard that a lot of the requirements in the NEC are due to lawsuits.  Enough lawsuits and eventually the NEC is changed to prevent that particular problem.
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« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2009, 06:57:44 PM »

According to the CPSC  http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/afcifac8.PDF  there are about 40,000 residential electrical fires annually resulting in 350 deaths and 1400 injuries.  My guess is that the majority of those fires is from arcing circuits that are not drawing enough current to trip the breaker.

I know, the CPSC is another one of those government agencies that only exist to make life difficult for everybody.
    
The National Fire protection Association (NFPA is the organization that writes the National Electric code as well as the Life safety Code, the Sprinkler Code, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling code and others.

The mission of the international nonprofit NFPA, established in 1896, is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

They are not there for profit, nor are they concerned about copyright.  

AFCI's will detect an arc and open the circuit even if there is not enough current being drawn to trip the breaker.

So when your grand mothers lamp cord gets caught under the rocking chair and sets the carpet on fire, she might not die.

I just cannot, for the life of me, understand why anyone would be reluctant to add a possible life saving device that costs so little.
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« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2009, 07:08:49 PM »

I have AFCIs.  I am just not convinced of the need for them.

It is getting to the point now where folks aren't going to be able to afford new homes if they keep mandating more and more safety stuff.  I've heard the IBC is soon going to require residential fire sprinklers.  Might be fine and dandy in the south, but in areas where it freezes the pipes have to be in heated spaces.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
Sean
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« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2009, 07:11:53 PM »

....  Electrical wiring fires have been low to nonexistent since the advent of circuit breakers.


Spewing inaccuracies does not help your case.  See what I wrote above: about 10% of all residential fires are electrical in origin.  That's not a guess, it's a fact, and even 30 seconds of research would have revealed this information.

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Here is what happened.  The National Code people sued for copyright protection.  They won.  This made them lots of money.  Now how does a publisher make more money?  Change the book under the guise of updating.  Much of the code has been foisted on us mainly to provide an income stream not because you or I am better protected.


Again, you're not very convincing.  The NFPA (publishers of the NEC and many other life-safety documents) is non-profit.  They exist strictly for the purposes of advancing life safety, and all the money they raise, whether that's through membership fees or sales of publications, goes to advance life safety.

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I understand why hospitals/nursing homes would adopt items such as GFIs.  I don't understand why it would be required for all of America adopt.  It doesn't provide one bit more protection for the average person.


I beg to differ.  Millions of lives of "average persons" have been saved by fire and life safety codes promulgated by the NFPA and other similar organizations.

Would you really move into a house that someone else built without any codes or guidelines at all?  If so, I have a few properties I might interest you in...

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What added protection do ARC devices provide over circuit breakers?


Regular circuit breakers protect only against overcurrent.  AFCIs protect against dangerous arcs that would not trip a regular circuit breaker.  Thousands of fires have been started by such arcs;  as recently as two decades ago, the technology simply did not exist to detect or prevent these.  Today such technology is readily available, and becoming more affordable and more reliable with each passing year.

The requirement for AFCIs first appeared in the 1999 edition of the code.  So we are only ten years into the evolution of this technology.  And understand that this is a technology designed to prevent an extremely rare problem -- but so is a cardiac defibrillator.  If you're the one having the sudden cardiac arrest, the invention of the defibrillator and its widespread deployment will seem like a good idea.  OTOH, if you're just the taxpayer paying to equip the fire department with them, maybe it seems like a poor tradeoff.

This is the balance that code-making organizations constantly wrestle with.  How many lives have to be lost before we make people spend money they don't want to spend on technology they don't understand?

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com

(Apologies to Len for being repetitive:  we were typing simultaneously)
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 07:15:53 PM by Sean » Logged

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