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Building Code Council upholds circuit-breaker rule

Posted September 16, 2009

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— The North Carolina Building Code Council voted Tuesday to continue requiring special circuit-breakers in new homes.

An arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) is a circuit-breaker that can detect an irregular electrical current and shut it off before it ignites a fire. Firefighters say AFCIs could help prevent fires and save lives.

The state has required AFCIs in nearly every room of new homes since January – previously, they were required only in bedrooms – but home builders had asked lawmakers to have the code council to reconsider the rule.

Some home builders say expanded AFCI use is unneeded because codes already prevent electrical fires.

They also said AFCIs cost about $35 more than regular circuit-breakers, meaning an estimated $19 million a year would be spent on AFCIs – costs that would be passed on to home buyers.

Existing homes can be retrofitted with AFCIs. A homeowner would need to hire a professional electrician to find out if the home’s wiring is compatible.

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  • james27613 Sep 16, 2009

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUI5S27jM_w

  • james27613 Sep 16, 2009

    This is what AFCI can do for you

    http://www.afcisafety.org/presentations.html

    http://www.paceforensic.com/AFCISeminar.aspx

  • james27613 Sep 16, 2009

    An AFCI detects low levels of arc in the cable.
    Building codes can not do this.

    "Some home builders say expanded AFCI use is unneeded because codes already prevent electrical fires."

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Sep 16, 2009

    Anything extra that might save my life, I am willing to pay for. I wish they would stop trying to cut corners.

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Sep 16, 2009

    "Some home builders say expanded AFCI use is unneeded because codes already prevent electrical fires."

    I disagree. AFCI would provide an additional level of security if the primary "defensive" measures do not work. I installed a whole-house surge protector at the main electrical panel in my house, and my equipment losses from power surges and brownouts reduced to zero. It acts similarly to an AFCI for major surges.

    Plus, home builders pass the cost of the AFCI to the consumers like everything else, so why should they care if the AFCI is required or not. May be these home builders who complained do not have the properly skilled people doing the construction to handle an AFCI installation?