Arc Fault and Ground Fault Circuit
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Wisconsin Department of Safety& Professional Services Division looks to roll back electrical safetyrequirements
Blog Post created by Tim McClintock](

TheWisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Division]( is proposing to exclude Arc Fault and Ground Fault Circuit interruption(AFCI/GFCI) expansion from the Wisconsin Electrical Code despite objection fromthe State’s Electrical Advisory Council. DSPS tried to eliminate AFCI andGFCI in 2012 and the reaction from the electrical industry and fire serviceswas so strong that Governor Scott Walker “pulled the plug” on DSPS’s actions.

Likemany states, Wisconsin has adopted the NEC for the state’s electricalcode. DSPS’ proposed amendments for AFCI and GFCI requirements would beless than the minimum requirements prescribed by the current edition of the National Electrical Code]( Sincethe introduction of GFCI requirements in NFPA’s National Electrical Code in1971, the Consumer Product Safety Commission shows a decreasing trend in thenumber of electrocutions in the United States. The U.S. Consumer ProductsSafety Commission provides valuable insight to the importance of GFCI in theirElectrocution Reduction Program. Recognizing the value of GFCI protectionthrough timely adoption of the NEC will further the safety of Wisconsincitizens and will demonstrate that DSPS is a leader in public safety. departments responded to an estimated average of 47,820 reported U.S. homestructure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction in 2007-2011. Thesefires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, 1,518 civilian injuries and $1.48billion in direct property damage.

Toproceed with the proposed rules changes is a dangerous disservice to thecitizens of the state of Wisconsin who have an expectation that they can safelyinterface with the electrical systems within homes, businesses, institutionsand recreational facilities.

TheDSPS has an opportunity to stand-up for the safety of all Wisconsin residentsby not allowing these rule changes to proceed and maintain the exemplary recordthat the state of Wisconsin has achieved as being a leader in electricalsafety. It is a decision that we can all live with. If you are interesting in attending the public hearings on these proposedchanges, and weighing in with your thoughts, they begin tomorrow, January 31st](

I’m not surprised. Many States have modified or eliminated a lot of the requirements for AFCI protection including right here in New Jersey.

Not sure I would say MANY…“Some” States sounds better…:wink:

Some, many, either way some very smart people have decided that AFCI technology isn’t exactly as great as the industry that is pushing them thinks that it is. :shock:

Smart and Removed AFCI Requirements…Now thats an Oxymoron!

Just saw this posting, Utah Legislature has now done away with AFCi’s thanks to a local and state representative home builder that was tired of having to replace them within his one year warranty period. GFCI’s are still in place though.

There has been quite a bit of push back against AFCI’s, some argue that the technology is not mature or reliable enough to keep expanding the requirements. Anyone who has been around for a long time can remember the infancy of GFCI technology and just how bad those early devices really were. Many feel that AFCI technology is in the same boat but with time will get better.

Were they detecting a wiring problem that is now being ignored by standard breakers? I guess we will have to wait to see the fire reports.

I’ll admit that I did not realize AFCI requirements had been eliminated in Utah until after my last two New Construction inspections. I called it out…And I was Wrong!

Did some research and it is based on studies showing the cost of installing AFCIs is 2.8 times more $$$ than damage caused actual fires they “may” prevent , “and that is if the AFCIs work 100% of the time”.

Seeing that over the years I have found about 1 out of 5 will not trip when tested or will not reset after testing (leaving that bedroom circuit dead till the seller pays an electrician) I will side with Utah’s decision on this!

Link to the minutes of the meeting, Study findings at the very end.

When I built my house in 2009 I was introduced to AFCI breakers (pre-inspector days). I did not like them as they seemed to trip at the least provocation. The electrician explained he was required to install them and provided a box of the older style for me to change out as I desired. I have yet to use any of them.

I can see the objections to them if my experience was common. On the other hand, the statistics for loss of life and property are compelling.