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How Hot is Hot... AFCIs?  XML
Forum Index » Thermal Imaging
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Philo
The Rock
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Joined: 06/18/2014 10:46 PM EDT
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Location: Dallas, Texas
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Using thermal scans, how hot would AFCIs have to be considered a defect?

PHILO RAMOS, BS Civil Engineering
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gfricke
The Big Lebowski
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Joined: 06/19/2014 09:51 PM EDT
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Location: St Petersburg, FL
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Your question is one that will not have an answer. Excessive heat is a by product of a defect, not a defect itself. There are too many variables that you cannot measure out in the field. For instance if the AFCI is supplying a 10 amp draw on a 15 amp breaker its going to read very warm but that heat signature isn't going to tell you the current draw and will more than likely be normal. A loose wire will buildup heat, but the thermal will only pick that up if crosshaired on the wire and you physically tug it or shut it down to check the tightness on the screw. I routinely see 120+ degree temperatures on these. There is not definite set temperature that I myself use other than if I look at the bank of them and 2 are at 120 degrees and the other is at 180 degrees, I might call it out for further evaluation due to the anomaly of the higher temperature than the other two, but stating its a defect because its warm is incorrect and will bite you on the backend. I have yet to call out any GFCI or AFCI breaker on thermal scans due to heat signature.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 08/05/2014 09:53 PM EDT


Glenn Fricke
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Russ Hensel
RockStar!

Joined: 06/18/2014 08:36 PM EDT
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I think Glen has said it best...no need to go any further. Well said.

Russell Hensel
Comprehensive Building Consultants
Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Naples Florida
Philo
The Rock
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Joined: 06/18/2014 10:46 PM EDT
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Location: Dallas, Texas
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Glen, thanks for your detailed and cerebral explanation. Very enlightening for me. And thanks Russ for the confirmation. My Thermal training has been "hit-and-miss," as it seems in class I'm given info, and then in the field more questions are generated.

PHILO RAMOS, BS Civil Engineering
PRECISE Home Inspections, TREC#4319
Texas Professional Real Estate Inspector Association (TPREIA) #418
InterNachi Certified Master Inspector
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972-517-8757
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Kris Svendsen
49er
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Joined: 06/22/2014 08:52 PM EDT
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Location: Dallas, TX
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If you're shooting electrical you are now taking a quantitative measurement. If you've done all the other necessary steps to take an accurate measurement and you come up with a temperature, the only way for the most part to tell if it's outside the operating temperature is to get the manufacture's specs on the breaker.

Kris Svendsen
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msteger
Cupcake
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Joined: 07/01/2014 03:42 PM EDT
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Location: Elizabethtown, PA
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Ditto to what Glen stated above.

Matthew Steger, ASHI Certified Inspector
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Joe Tedesco
Wizard
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Joined: 06/19/2014 08:59 AM EDT
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Location: Boston, Massachusetts
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Please review www.afcisafety.org for additional information.

Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

My statements, written or oral on this site, shall not be considered as the official position of NFPA or any of its Committees, and shall not be considered to be, nor be relied upon as, a Formal Interpretation. They are my personal opinions.
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Cameron Anderson
P. Diddy
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Joined: 09/27/2014 09:37 AM EDT
Messages: 602
Location: Peoria, IL
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Isn't the UL standard 50°C above ambient temperature? That seems like a pretty exact number to me.

Cameron Anderson
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WillyStambaugh
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Joined: 02/01/2015 12:34 PM EST
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Location: Morgan Hill, CA
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Glen hit it on the nose. I think too many inspectors try to use a specific number. Variables such as load alone will impact the reading.

William (Willy) Stambaugh
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