Best breaker to protect wiring?

Discussion in 'Workshop and Home Improvement' started by Living in the Past, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. Living in the Past

    Living in the Past SILVER Star

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    I just ran a couple 20 amp dedicated circuits to power a couple of electric fireplaces in the downstairs bedrooms at our cabin. Hate the thought of not knowing if there are any loose connections getting hot. Just want the heat coming for the fireplace not the walls. Used 20 amp rated outlet with 12 gauge wire. But only used 15 amp breakers. While running the wiring into the main panel noticed a few wires rodents had been nibbling on the insulation. I know getting rid of the rodents is the best option but with 2"X6" frame could never guarantee nothing going on in the walls. In my old house (early nineties) I used GFI breakers on the 115 circuits. I know there arc protection breakers now. Are these better to protect wiring? Is there breakers to protect two pole 230 volt breakers. I know dryers use a neutral for 115 volts and my sub panel to the garage has a neutral. That makes it trickier detecting a short.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. rkymtnflyfisher

    rkymtnflyfisher SILVER Star

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    @Living in the Past

    There are combination AFCI/GFCI breakers hitting the market now, the AFCI essentially measures line-neutral current flow, GFCI measures current on the ground, basically.

    The AFCI breakers will do a better job of protecting the cable in your circumstance, the best option would be the combo AFCI/GFCI breakers. The early days of nuisance trips have for the most part been worked out. Yes, there are 230V models on the market now also.

    As far as your connections, if you twisted the conductors together with your Kleins before you put the wire nut on you will be good, and at the receptacle, I am not a big fan of the stabs or clamps, I curl my wire and tighten it down with the screw, under the clamp plate if the receptacle has one.

    The nuet at your sub panel won't give you any problems, turn off the breaker to the dryer and you just opened the circuit, don't overthink it.

    Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
     
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  3. LAMBCRUSHER

    LAMBCRUSHER

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    the fisher gets it...but I disagree about pre-twisting the conductors at a splice- a good wirenut does that part without scratching up the copper. Also agree about bending a hook to go under the screw- just make sure to keep it directional so torquing down the screw doesn't undo the hook. Of course, if you're using stranded wires, they MUST be utilized with clamp down type terminals or crimped on terminal ends. wire nut pretwisting - Mike Holt Code Forum
     
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  4. rkymtnflyfisher

    rkymtnflyfisher SILVER Star

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    @LAMBCRUSHER

    I'm a believer that the wire should make a solid joint before the wire nut is twisted on. Twist the bare copper tight, trim the tip, and twist the wire nut on. I agree that using the wire nut can get a great twist on the wires, I still feel better about pre twisting.

    I have also worked around too many hacks that can't figure out how to make a good connection with a wire nut.

    I'm not saying your method is wrong, I just have my own preference.
     
  5. LAMBCRUSHER

    LAMBCRUSHER

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    hehehe, that is one loaded subject, for sure...
     
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  6. Dparo

    Dparo SILVER Star

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    I did residential wiring for ten years.

    I wish I still had the picture of a neutral splice behind a switch that almost caught a house on fire. The wirenut plastic was ash and the internal wirenut spring was red hot. The wires were not twisted prior to placing the wirenut on them.

    Kind of seems like an odd subject to have to discuss but given that a splice is the weak point I prefer taking a few seconds to twist.
     
  7. Living in the Past

    Living in the Past SILVER Star

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    Two years and still haven't gotten this done. Moved it up to the top of my to do list. but a few more questions before purchase them. Is it better to buy dual AFCI and GFCI breakers or just AFCI and use the GFCI outlet I already have and then the single inline GFCI used with power and other items like I do now. One of my main concerns is nuisance trips. Especially the refrigerator. House is empty for months at a time and leave food in the freezer that would spoil and leave a smell that pretty much would ruin a refrigerator. Other than the 115 outlet for wifi used for security and thermostat nothing else matter when were gone. Would assume the surge when the compressor in the refrigerator starts is the biggest issue. Nuisance trips on volt draw electronics are not as likely. Best ones to use the not the cheapest?

    Would still like to explore more protection for the 220 volt circuits. while a dedicate run all the the heat pump are aluminum wire. PO replaced the Heat Pump and upgraded that circuit to copper. For now when we leave the dryer is unplugged and water heater turned off at the breaker. Not a fan of using a breaker as a switch and plan on installing a two pole for the water heater. Figure the biggest risk is in the device not the wiring going to it.

    Any thought on switches and outlets? When every I replace them I always round the wire so I get 180 degree contact under the screw. All copper wire and torque the screws down tight. Every one I find the simple push in was used verses the screw. Never took one of these apart but can't think the contact surface is much with the push in. It's all these connection is my biggest concern and want as much protection as possible all the way back to the panel.


    @rkymtnflyfisher @LandCruiserPhil
     
  8. Dparo

    Dparo SILVER Star

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    Don't use AFCI.

    Refrigerators don't require a GFCI receptacle. Just use a dedicated 15A breaker.

    Always wrap the screw, don't backstab.
     
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  9. rkymtnflyfisher

    rkymtnflyfisher SILVER Star

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    @Living in the Past shoot me a pm tomorrow and remind me to read this thread again. Some thoughts ran through my head but I want to dig in the code book before I respond.
     
  10. KLF

    KLF Frame waxer SILVER Star

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    I agree with points #2 and 3, but curious why you don't like AFCI?

    AFCI protects the wiring inside the walls, GFCI protects the device plugged into the receptacle (or the person using it).

    Ask 50 electricians about pre twisting wires prior to putting the wire nut on, and you will get 25 on each side of the argument. I'm with the fisher guy, I always pre-twist and snip the ends dead even before putting the nut on.

    I installed a DIY "Mr Cool" mini split this summer with a friend, he put it on a GFCI breaker just to be safe, and it would trip the breaker with about 2-3 seconds every time we turned it on. Turns out these new inverter style heat pumps don't play nice with GFCI, he swapped it out for a normal breaker and it's been fine. Just an FYI...
     
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  11. Dparo

    Dparo SILVER Star

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    I remember when they came out, seemed like the scam of scams. Maybe something has changed but I have no reason to use one. My career has moved on from residential wiring.

    I swapped out a switch in a bedroom bath that wasn’t working, when I pulled off the trim plate I could see the wirenut coil on the splice glowing red. I killed the circuit and at the bottom of the 1900 box was a pile of ash, the plastic remains of the wirenut, pulled it apart and the splice was the neutral that wasn’t twisted. I wish I had taken a picture. Considering a splice is the weakest point it makes little sense to not twist.
     
  12. rkymtnflyfisher

    rkymtnflyfisher SILVER Star

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    @Living in the Past

    No need for AFCI or GFCI protection on the 220V circuits, just make sure all your terminations are clean and tight.

    Odds are that your breakers are SWD rated=OK for use as switch.

    Like @Dparo stated, use a dedicated circuit for the fridge, if you're getting it inspected you'll need AFCI protection for the wiring, no inspector, it's your call. The newer AFCI breakers have proven a lot more reliable that the older stuff. Same with the GFCI breakers.

    If it's on a fridge that is on all the time while you're away for extended periods, I personally would just have it on a dedicated 15A regular molded case breaker, not a worry in the world.

    Definitely wrap your terminals, I'm not a fan and never have been a fan of the stabs. I don't even like the plates.

    IMO connections should be made tight before a wire nut is put on. Stripped, twisted with linesman pliers, trimmed even, wire nut. That's my method.



    Aluminum wire is no good.
     
  13. DickM

    DickM SILVER Star

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    With 40+ years of construction time with a lot of it spent supervising work and with a lot of hands on time pulling wire and making up boxes with a variety of electricians, my strong opinion is that this is the way to do it.
     
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