Questions about Ground Fault and Arc Fault Circuit Breakers
Caroline in Tennessee asks:
Can I install a 2-pole combination AFCI breaker on two circuits
I recently had most of my breakers replaced with dual function AFCI-GFCI breakers. The electrician did not replace a couple breakers that share a neutral. My question is, can I install a 2-pole combination AFCI breaker on those 2 circuits to get the arc fault protection? And then install a GFCI receptacle for the one outlet that exists on those circuits? The other devices on the circuits sharing the neutral are a microwave(with a simplex receptacle) and overhead lights in several rooms. I am also concerned that the microwave is not on a dedicated circuit. Is that OK? Would it need a GFCI receptacle as well?
AFCI Breakers Cannot have a Shared Neutral Wire
Unfortunately, each AFCI circuit must have a dedicated neutral wire or the AFCI breaker will trip off. This is why the electrician did not install the other two AFCI breakers.
Generally, a microwave oven has it’s own dedicated circuit, depending on the size of the microwave oven and the power requirements. Depending on your local area and the NEC adopted codes, most all electrical outlets located in the kitchen require GFCI protection.
Gary in New York asks:
AFCI Protection for Bedroom Outlets and Lighting
I had an addition done on my house a while ago, but the builder never filed for the electrical work. To make a long story short I received a violation from the building department that AFCI protection has not been provided for all bedroom outlets and lighting. Surfing the web it sounds like an easy fix by just changing the circuit breakers. I have had 2 electricians tell me they have to put a loop in the outlets. Not sure what that is really. Does that sound accurate?
AFCI Circuit Wiring
Swapping out the standard circuit breaker with an ACFI Circuit Breaker is the starting point, however sometimes the wiring has to be changed or configured so the AFCI breaker does not trip when it is turned on, but only when an arc fault is detected.