AFCI receptacle availability?

ntruroJune 14, 2010

I'd like to install AFCI protection in our bedrooms. However, because the circuits are wired with shared neutrals, AFCI breakers cannot be installed. I've seen some discussion of AFCI receptacles on the Internet, but can't find anyone who sells them. Are they available?

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get a double pole AFCI circuit breaker

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 12:36PM
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As of yet there is no such thing as an AFCI receptacle.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 1:08PM
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My understanding is the entire branch circuit has to be protected anyway so any non breaker device would have to be installed right next to the service panel. I can't remember where the info is from (heard it in a class) but the only other AFCI devices is a dead front device that installs in a box and has to be mounted something like 6 feet or less from the panel and be connected with a metallic raceway. Not certain to that however as I can not remember the exact information. The intent of an AFCI is to protect to just receptacles, lights, etc. but to also protect any wiring on the circuit.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 1:37PM
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Found this on the internet. I think the catch was that the code specifies how to install it without using an AFCI breaker but no-one makes such a thing.

Exception No. 1: The AFCI-protection device can be located at the first outlet if the circuit conductors are installed in RMC, IMC, EMT or steel Type AC, and the AFCI device is contained in a metal outlet or junction box.

Author's comment: Type MC cable without a bare aluminum grounding/bonding conductor does not fall within the scope of this exception because the armor cable is thinner than that of Type AC cable.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 1:43PM
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yea.... yet another instance of them putting stuff into the NEC before the actual product even exists. Really grinds my gears when they do still like that.

in your situation it looks like a double pole AFCI breaker is the only option, unless you can somehow pull a new 2 wire circuit in. I know for sure Siemens makes double pole AFCI's but have no clue if other brands do??
No clue on the cost either. It very well could be cheaper if you have the means to just pull in a new circuit.

Here is a link that might be useful: Double pole AFCI

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 1:53PM
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Hexus, thanks for your suggestion regarding two-pole AFCI breakers. Neither I nor the 3 local supply houses I called knew they existed. Even Siemens hasn't educated its employees about them - I was routed to 3 different departments before anyone could even find the part number from their website (Q215AFC) in their inventory system.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 5:51PM
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