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Walker Administration changing electrical code

2012-09-17 01:24:52.338245+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's administration targets electrical safety codes, citing home builders' concerns:

Current code requires builders to install arc-fault circuit-interrupter (AFCI) protection, ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) protection, and tamper-resistant receptacles in new construction and most remodeling.

The new plan would make installation of those devices optional.

I recently installed a bunch of tamper proof sockets in my shop, and am not sure that was a great move, and have no love for all of the false trips of our house AFCI (though the shop one, used only for lighting, is fine). GFCIs, however, are awesome and I can't imagine why anyone would be down on them.

Anyway, I'd love to learn more about this.

[ related topics: Politics Invention and Design Current Events Machinery Fabrication Real Estate Model Building ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2012-09-18 16:37:15.457985+00 by: Dan Lyke

Here's a handy comparison: American Academy of Pediatrics claims that:

In fact, 200,000 people – 16,000 of them children – are injured in lawn mower-related accidents each year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports.

Makin' me more and more sympathetic to this change...

#Comment Re: made: 2012-09-17 21:21:03.030188+00 by: Dan Lyke

Catastrophic failure of GFCI. Yeah, the more I read the more sympathetic I become to the Walker administration...

A quick glance through CPSC: Electrocutions Associated With Consumer Products: 2008 suggests that we are, at most, dealing with a few tens of cases per year that would be prevented by these protections, generally less than 10 cases per year for those nineteen(!) and younger.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-09-17 21:04:10.269216+00 by: Dan Lyke

And now I must refrain from going off and investigating failure modes of GFCIs, but a cursory search suggests that manufacturers are now building them to fail open. Yeah, that seems like a really bad idea...

#Comment Re: made: 2012-09-17 20:33:54.413152+00 by: TheSHAD0W

Heh. It wasn't a "nuisance trip", the outlet actually failed. Wasn't the only one I've had fail either.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-09-17 18:50:45.812036+00 by: Dan Lyke

Interesting. The only "nuisance trip" situations I've had with GFCIs have been actual problems. AFCIs, on the other hand, seem to be looking for any excuse. But my experience has been fairly limited.

Everyone's piling on to this with the "OMG, Scott Walker wants to electrocute children for profit" theme, but I'd like to see both the actual proposal, and some real statistics. How many children are shocked every year? How many of those would the tamper-proof sockets really save? Under what circumstances are they proposing to not require GFCI? What are the statistics behind that?

Heck, it could be that the AFCIs really only make a difference on compromised knob-and-tube, and so wouldn't be a factor in new construction anyway. I know I'm becoming less and less of a fan of the tamper-proof sockets, and may end up swapping the ones I've got through my various inspected projects while going behind and replacing 'em with the old style as I go.

Wish we had some real reporting on this, or at least some press releases from the other side of the story.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-09-17 12:25:35.773702+00 by: TheSHAD0W

GFIs are nice, as far as they go, but their general use violates the KISS principle. I had one GFCI fail where I had a freezer plugged into it, and it caused quite a mess. They're great in bathrooms, near sinks and in outdoor locations, but putting them everywhere is maybe a bit too much.