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Ark Fault / GFI question

Old 07-17-2012, 08:17 AM
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Default Ark Fault / GFI question

When wiring an addition to my home, an exterior outlet was added to one of my bedroom outlet circuits. It is a GFI outlet outside. Under the new codes (which I have based the wiring on), bedroom recepticles must be arc fault protected. unfortunately, the GFI outlet does not like being on an ark fault circuit and the breaker kicks whenever a switch is turned on.

Question I have for the electricians. Do you know if a GFI meets code in place of an ark fault breaker. They do 2 different things so my suspician is NO. Alternatively I could keep the circuit ark fault and put in a regular outlet outside.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:38 AM
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I have always kept them separated
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:06 AM
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I've always understood that the arc fault is superior over the GFI and does the same as GFI plus more. I would arc fault the exterior and be done with it. Are you arc faulting via breakers or receptacles?

ETA: It is nice to have exterior outlets on a separate circuit. That's what I did on my addition. Prior to that the admiral would always bitch at Christmas time (outdoor lights) when there was rain, because her bathroom hair dryer outlet would trip! Now we don't have that problem anymore.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by TheRealMacGyver View Post
I've always understood that the arc fault is superior over the GFI and does the same as GFI plus more. I would arc fault the exterior and be done with it. Are you arc faulting via breakers or receptacles?

ETA: It is nice to have exterior outlets on a separate circuit. That's what I did on my addition. Prior to that the admiral would always bitch at Christmas time (outdoor lights) when there was rain, because her bathroom hair dryer outlet would trip! Now we don't have that problem anymore.
If the ark fault gives the same coverage as a GFI, I will pull the GFI outlet and keep the AF breaker.

This is only on a cantilevered second floor deck that at most will see a radio plugged in from time to time.

I arc faulted via a breaker. The GFI's were through receptacles.
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:17 AM
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BIG difference between the two. AFCI prevents fires starting from sparks that are caused by an arc, GFCI prevents electrical shock. A GFCI should work on an arc fault breaker, but the breaker that you may have may be a little too sensitive...I am an electrician but have not worked in construction/service since AFCIs were required, but I think i remember hearing that the first generation of AFCI breakers were too tempermental to have a GFCI on it. Maybe try a different breaker?
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by burtonboards32 View Post
BIG difference between the two. AFCI prevents fires starting from sparks that are caused by an arc, GFCI prevents electrical shock. A GFCI should work on an arc fault breaker, but the breaker that you may have may be a little too sensitive...I am an electrician but have not worked in construction/service since AFCIs were required, but I think i remember hearing that the first generation of AFCI breakers were too tempermental to have a GFCI on it. Maybe try a different breaker?
That is what is happening-too sensative AF breaker.

Reality is it is not a big deal to pull the outside GFI receptacle after the inspection. Or, use a regular breaker after teh inspection and GFI the receptacles.

The whole arc fault thing is a joke anyhow.
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by BACKTOTHESEA View Post
That is what is happening-too sensative AF breaker.

Reality is it is not a big deal to pull the outside GFI receptacle after the inspection. Or, use a regular breaker after teh inspection and GFI the receptacles.

The whole arc fault thing is a joke anyhow.
I would not remove either, I would first try to change the breaker with another arc fault and see if it is less sensitive but if you were going to remove either the GFCI or AFCI, I would remove the arc fault and leave the GFCI.
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:57 PM
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Are you sure it's wired correctly on that GFI . GFI's wire different then a outlet
edit( sorry I am thinking different like a spa pack )
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by docters oarders View Post
Are you sure it's wired correctly on that GFI . GFI's wire different then a outlet
edit( sorry I am thinking different like a spa pack )
You know that is a good point here. GFCI receptacles have a source side and a load side so that other receptacles after the GFCI are also protected by the first. Do you have it wired into the source side? (not sure how it is worded, but something like that...maybe line instead of source)
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by TheRealMacGyver View Post
You know that is a good point here. GFCI receptacles have a source side and a load side so that other receptacles after the GFCI are also protected by the first. Do you have it wired into the source side? (not sure how it is worded, but something like that...maybe line instead of source)
There is a line side (feed) and a load side. If the feed was to the load side the GFI would not reset and would never have worked at all.
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:08 PM
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I believe it is the last outlet in the circuit (the GFI outlet) and is wired correctly. the AFCI does not trip if we disconnect the GFI outlet. Could be a bad AFCI as previously stated.

I think I may actually be able to get away with GFI as we have a wet bar in the master that in theory also requires a GFI that is part of the same circuit.

I'll talk to the inspector to get his thoughts.
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:11 PM
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The outside GFCI receptacle should have never been wired into the arc fault bedroom circuit. Have who ever made this basic wiring error fix it at their cost, that is the only correct solution.
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Old 07-17-2012, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by gort View Post
The outside GFCI receptacle should have never been wired into the arc fault bedroom circuit. Have who ever made this basic wiring error fix it at their cost, that is the only correct solution.
And why is that?
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by burtonboards32 View Post
And why is that?

because it is against code
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:26 PM
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Arc fault sux and is not perfected yet. If and when I ever do an addition in my house the arc faults will come out and be replaced by standard shortly after inspection. They are nothing but trouble.

Don't believe me? Google arc fault problems and get back to me in 8 years after you've read it all.
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:32 PM
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I love AFCI breakers I get lots of easy service calls on those things. I have GFCI'S in my home but I am not about to be bothered with AFCI'S.
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by BACKTOTHESEA View Post
the breaker kicks whenever a switch is turned on.
If the arc fault breaker is tripping when a switch is turned on then the arc fault is located in the lighting portion of the circuit

If the arc fault breaker only trips when the GFI is installed, make sure when you cram all of the wires in the box when you are installing the GFI that the bare ground wire is not touching the neutral wire. Try leaving the GFI connected and pull it and the wires out of the box to ensure nothing is touching. If this does not work then try a new GFI

If the arc fault is not otherwise located, replace the arc fault breaker

Troubleshooting is a logical process of elimination
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by baypro21 View Post
because it is against code
Really? I do not see anything in my code book or my electrical wiring -residential book, 17'th edition based upon the 2011 NEC. There are even examples of outdoor outlets tied into an indoor branch circuit.

I think the brand of AFCI I have is the issue. Another one is tripping on a completely separate circuit with only the receptacles in a single room. After 3 hours of playing a small radio it kicked.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Elusive View Post
If the arc fault breaker is tripping when a switch is turned on then the arc fault is located in the lighting portion of the circuit

If the arc fault breaker only trips when the GFI is installed, make sure when you cram all of the wires in the box when you are installing the GFI that the bare ground wire is not touching the neutral wire. Try leaving the GFI connected and pull it and the wires out of the box to ensure nothing is touching. If this does not work then try a new GFI

If the arc fault is not otherwise located, replace the arc fault breaker

Troubleshooting is a logical process of elimination
We have been through all of the connections. As I mentioned, I think it is due to the AFCI's. They are being replaced.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by baker2605 View Post
I love AFCI breakers I get lots of easy service calls on those things.



I love Carrier AC's.
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