Dennis, very good insight and I agree with
your assessment. Having completed many residential
wires and rewires, my experiences are similar. GFCIs
have actually become very reliable provided they are of
a quality production from a reputable manufacturer. Arc
Fault Current Interrupters, AFCI, however, has not
evolved as quickly or as far. Nuisance tripping remains
a major consumer issue.
I tend to "over build things". So some of the
technics I use to reduce the negative impact of both
GFCIs and AFCIs include:
- do not put overhead lighting on AFCI areas,
bedrooms, or GFCI protected areas, indoor "wet" areas,
on the AFCI or GFCI circuits. I put the lighting in
these areas on its own branch circuit. Bit of an
overkill, but does not leave the customer in the dark
if the GFCI or AFCI trips.
- I install individual GFCIs at each required
location rather than cascading GFCI protection through
single GFCIs. Yes, adds a little cost, but today
GFCIs are reasonably priced. The advantage of doing
this is again minimizing the impact of the GFCI trips.
I never had any jurisdictional inspectors or
inspections questions or object to doing either of
I also only use 20 amp branch circuits, number 12
AWG, as electrical usage, increasing number of
appliances, is ever increasing. The benefit far
outways the cost over time.
Steel switch and outlet boxes are more expensive
and take longer to properly install and bond, but are
infinitely safer should you have a wire nut,
receptacle, or switch fail, start arcing and
potentially burn. Just think about an electrical fire
within a plastic box.
Wire nuts...we all use them. But like all things,
there are good and not so good wire nuts out there and
please use the right wire nut for the size and number
of conductors being joined together. I can't tell you
how many times troubleshooting dead circuits I have
found failed wire nuts due to either quality or
Thanks Dennis for continuing the discussion and