National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Question:

Great work I love waking up and reading this forum every day!

My question relates to arc fault circuit protection and when, if ever, it is acceptable to put a standard breaker back in on a circuit that tripped the arc fault breaker.

I have been debating with several other electricians over this and I take the position that once an arc fault circuit breaker is installed, that circuit must remain arc fault protected. If it then trips The arc fault breaker, signaling a problem, that circuit must be repaired and continue to be arc fault protected. It is not allowed to simply put a standard, non arc fault breaker back in.  To do that would be removing the safety device from the circuit and would be putting property and people at risk.

If this is the case, where in the code book can this be found?


Thank you. Be well.
Michael
A

Answer:

Michael,

The Code does not permit an AFCI breaker or other required arc-fault circuit-interrupter protection to be replaced with a standard circuit breaker. This is an error that creates a Code violation. Section 210.12(A) provides the minimum requirements for installing arc-fault circuit-interrupter protection on branch circuits in dwelling units. There is no exception that permits what you describe. You are correct in your thinking that this is removing a protective feature from the system that is most likely trying to signal an arcing fault or something wrong. We recommend hiring a qualified electrical contractor/qualified electrician for this troubleshooting. 

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