arc-fault

cappo11August 1, 2011

Hello my electrician is going to install arc-fault breakers to all 3 of my bedrooms. my house apparently was built late 70's and has conduit throughout. my town is currently going by the 2005 code. He says only the receptacles are required to be protected and not the lighting.

I think the house would be safer if the lighting(can lights) were included. Or would including the lights cause some sort of problem. this is not a rehab or anything just an upgrade to the new breakers

Thanks

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normel

Under 2005, all outlets in the bedroom require AFCI protection. An outlet is any point where current is taken to supply equipment, i.e., receptacles, lights, smoke detectors.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 2:49PM
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cappo11

since the breakers are expensive, would it be advisable/allowed to use just 1 breaker/circuit for the entire bedroom. (lights and recepts.)
Thanks

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 8:29AM
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Billl

I bet you it will be a LOT more expensive to rewire the rooms so that the lights and the receptacles are on the same circuit than it would be to buy an extra AFCI. Just leave the wiring alone and plug in a AFCI's where needed.

BTW - none of the circuits in your home are required to have AFCI unless you are altering them in some way. If you do any alterations to the circuit, then you have to bring the whole circuit up to current code. Otherwise, it just needs to meet the code in force at the time of construction.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 8:48AM
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brickeyee

"BTW - none of the circuits in your home are required to have AFCI unless you are altering them in some way."

Generally but not always.

While the NEC itself allows grandfathering of old work, localities can adopt whatever they want.

Ask you AHJ if there is a local requirement.

Many places required upgrades of kitchen counter receptacles to GFCI a long time ago, even if nothing else was changed.
ANY electrical permit for ANY work forced the upgrade.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 9:58AM
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Ron Natalie

As previous pointed out, when AFCI was added to the code, it's never been a receptacle only thing. In the 2002 NEC, all 15 and 20A 120V branch circuits serving outlets (of whatever nature, lights, receptacles, etc...) in bedrooms was to be protected. In NEC 2005 this was changed to require them to be the "combination" type. In NEC 2008 the areas requiring AFCI was expanded to just about all living space that wasn't required to be protected by GFCI (the wording is specifically "family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas ").

Of course, you're always at the potential whim of the AHJ on what constitutes enough of a change to require updating to the current codes. It also, depending on the jurisdiciton, may lead to local code differences from the published NEC and give some discretion to the inspectors.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 9:47AM
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cappo11

thanks for the info. Then would it be up to code if the lights and recepts were on same (afci)breaker. my electrician says he could do it either way

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 4:52PM
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brickeyee

"Then would it be up to code if the lights and recepts were on same (afci)breaker. my electrician says he could do it either way"

Yes. There are no special rules for non-commercial bedrooms.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 10:47AM
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texasredhead

You indicate "your electrician." Was he there for some other work and decided you need arc fault breakers? We have been in hundreds of home doing various types of work. If we are doing a full scale service upgrade we bring everything up to code including hard wired smoke detecters, GFCIs, and arc fault breakers.

If we are simply there to add a couple cans, we might make suggestions, but do not tell them we are going to do what ever without their permission.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 9:19AM
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cappo11

yes when he installed new breaker panel a while back he mentioned the arc fault breakers. he said it did not have to be done but was an option. going to add them now so thanks everyone for advice

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 12:52PM
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