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new electric panel wheres the afci

Posted by idratherbe (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 17, 12 at 8:39

I got a new freshly installed electric panel installed. correct me if im wrong (2008 nec laws) no AFCI breakers to be installed on service panel upgrades because according to the NEC its not required.
So if i were to add afci protection to one breaker would i have to add protection to them all ?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

I can't speak to the NEC requirements but if you want to add arc fault breakers, you would need one for each circuit you would like to protect.


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

This is one of the places where various inspectors take different positions. Most in my area do not require upgrades to other parts of the system for simple service changes. Such might be replacing a fuse-type panel with breaker-type or upsizing the service for an anticipated heat pump installation. I know one inspector who does require that GFCI be added to all ungrounded circuits even though the NEC does not require such. Nothing prohibits the use of AFCI in the proper panel. And if nothing absolutely requires the exclusive use of AFCI, then using just one should be fine.


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

2008 NEC only required bedroom outlets to be AFCI protected.

You can put them in if you want (the NEC is the MINIMUM acceptable) and I am supposed the AHJ did not require you to instal them with a panel upgrade.


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

i plan on switching a couple but i don't want to touch there work even though i wired it all i don't want to get nailed when the new inspector comes on in to check the panel and such. Pennsylvania law is weird we are protected through the ucc and other things i just want to make sure the panel is up to code and my wiring as i switch all the k and t out for nm wiring. and that was expensive enough. i want to get all living areas done but i cant see having just one circuit feeding an air conditioner needing a 50 dollar afci breaker, i plan on selling this house in a bad market


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

Sorry brick the NEC 2005 is the one that requires only the bedroom outlets to be protected. 2008 NEC (which is current in PA) is where they added just about all the living space to be so protected ( dwelling unit family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas).

Whether the modifications you are doing require you to change things to match the current code is up to the AHJ.


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

"Sorry brick the NEC 2005 is the one that requires only the bedroom outlets to be protected."

Checked after listing that and you are of course correct.

The AHJ may reject the work, so do not touch anything.


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

Definitely, I would not do anything more until inspections are complete.


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

i haven't done much until i realized that i need afci im going by the 2008 code theres not much detail as what is required for my local area and if i have to pull permits the electricians that did the panel still needed to be inspected from a third party


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

If you are selling WHY put any in at all?
They are NOT required for a simple service change, not in any area I have heard of.


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

In Dallas, when you install new service, grandfather dies. It's just like you are building a new home with all current 2008 NEC rules concerning AFCIs and GFCIs. We also have fire marshall rules concerning hard wired smoke alarms. Also, many cities now require all new construction to be wired in 12/2.


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

"They are NOT required for a simple service change, not in any area I have heard of."

Many of the AHJs I deal with require things like AFC protection be added when a panel is upgraded.

They also have required GFCIs on kitchen counters with ANY electrical permit that was pulled.


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

What do you consider a simple service change?


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

Brick and Tex, is this in writing somewhere, or do you simply do whatever the inspector asks? Even if that means providing $800-$1000 worth of AFCI breakers?


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

You can try arguing with the inspector, but they are within their rights to make that panel replacement come up to the current code. Whether they let it slide or not is purely at the discretion of the AHJ.


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

Do we know the location. If in Indiana they are not required. Maybe some other locations as well, I don't know.


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

okay I'll start off by saying I'm a general contractor not an electrician, so I'm still learning myself. Here's what I've learned as I understand it. If you know I have it wrong please share, so we all learn.

always check with you local authorities to see what codes are in your area. some will adopt the codes like the NEC then add or even subtract parts. some areas update quickly while others are slower to adopt new versions of code.

AFCI's & GFCI's I am told do not like shared neutrals, so if adding an AFCI to an old circuit you may or may not have problems with shared neutrals. As I understand it a "shared neutral" is when hot wires, on different phases, use the same neutral. it's sometimes used to feed a sub panel by taking a 3 wire(like 10/3, 12/3, 8/3 etc)from the main to the sub. Since each circuit only needs the neutral at different times (phases) it works unless a device is monitoring the hot and neutral for information like AFCI's & GFCI's do. if you run the sub like this do not put the AFCI to the panel but instead to each circuit needed, though only those will be protected then not the whole sub panel or wire leading to it.


I did read that GFCI outlets can be used on an AFCI circuit; and AFCI's are not required in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, outdoors, attics and unfinished basements.

Here is a link that might be useful: this is where I got some seemingly good information from


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

"You can try arguing with the inspector, but they are within their rights to make that panel replacement come up to the current code."

A panel replacement or service upgrade is NOT altering, extending or replacing the branch circuits.

Here is how it reads:

(B) Branch Circuit Extensions or Modifications " Dwelling Units. In any of the areas specified in 210.12(A), where branch-circuit wiring is modified, replaced, or extended, the branch circuit shall be protected by one of the following:

(1) A listed combination-type AFCI located at the origin of the branch circuit

(2) A listed outlet branch-circuit type AFCI located at the first receptacle outlet of the existing branch circuit

You'd be hard pressed to convince me that this means a service upgrade requires AFCIs.
NOW, if an area has a local amendment to the NEC (or local code) that SPECIFICALLY requires them then that's a different story.


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

And the AHJ can consider changing the breaker feeding a branch circuit as a modification.


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

All the current carrying conductors on an AFCI or GFCI must pass through the device. The device doesn't give a hoot if the neutral is shared or not as long as all the current carrying wires are connected to the device. This is not a problem for GFCI as you can easily find 240V GFCI's with load neutral. Harder for the AFCI because two pole AFCI's aren't that common.

Residential 120/240V service doesn't really have "phases"


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

The AHJ should realize that if a panel needs replacement, it should be replaced on a reasonable budget. An extra few hundred to a kilobuck to bring ancillary stuff up to where the AHJ might like to see them might be enough of a hurdle to clear that the home owner will limp by with the old panel even though it is rusting through or about to fall off the side of the house.

Some AHJs will see that and other are stupid.


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RE: new electric panel wheres the afci

What your BUDGET is has nothing to do with the AHJ nor the electrical code.
A panel replacement (i.e., replacing a older panel with a more recent one is one thing). This original post says UPGRADE. It is 100% impossible to know if the local jurisdiction will consider this change as one mandating the addition of AFCI. I'd have to suspect not in a lot of places, but there is NO POSSIBLE WAY we can say that with any amount of certainty. The AHJ (or someone very familiar with the AHJ) will need to be consulted.


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