12/04/08 148 W, 1 I - + 9 - 8 Builders Fight New Circuit Breaker Rule

Today's News & Observer reports on an initiative to repeal a requirement that new homes have a special circuit breaker that can prevent electrical fires. The devices are called arc fault circuit interrupters, writes the paper. They're advanced versions of circuit breakers and can detect the slight variations in current often caused by frayed wire. Such fluctuations can lead to fires, and account for 40,000 home fires a year. The breakers are already required for bedrooms in new North Carolina homes, and the new rule requires breakers in nearly all rooms in new homes. Read the entire article. For more information on the technology, do a quick Google search.There are fact sheets and news articles and even this Wikipedia page. Sounds good for older home owners as well, such my myself. Sounds like a good Christmas gift to ourselves, an electrician's call.

Well I’m not a builder but I play one on tv. Not really, but our home came equipped with these new arc fault breakers when we purchased it in 2006. I honestly feel much safer (from a fire hazard perspective) and think they’re a good idea. We had an issue with one of the circuits and it took the builder’s electrician 1 year (yes 1 year) to figure it out. The problem was that the ground wire was slightly touching the box in one of the rooms and that was tripping it up. Fortunately, my father found that the electrician had “rigged” the wiring on the install to pass inspection when we were adding a circuit. They ran the breaker as a normal one with the neutral wire still insulated into the arc fault side of the circuit so it wouldn’t trip… Glad he found it and I made them come out and fix it. I will say though that some electricians are NOT happy with the regulations because there’s so new that most don’t know the ins and outs. I used them exclusively in the 1000sq ft add/on that I’m doing myself at my house and have had no problems whatsoever with them. I think it’s like when the gfci breakers came out long ago. It was chaos for a while then every body got the hang of it and things started running smoothly. From a firefighting perspective, I firmly believe that it will save lives and property if they function as designed.
yfd482 - 12/04/08 - 11:05

I think this is another issue that is great for the common good of all, but unfortunately comes down to money and how the additional costs take profits from the builders bottom line. Similar to how the sprinkler requirement got voted down recently.
Sparky - 12/04/08 - 12:41

The sprinkler requirement was voted down? I thought that in the big conference that it was approved….at least that is what I was told
kprice205 - 12/04/08 - 14:44

I read that ,yes it passed, but the builders appealled it due to the fact that “special interest groups”, mainly the fire service, had too much influence on the decision. Was it voted down after that?
New - 12/05/08 - 06:41

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