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AFCI times 2? Basement finishing questionS - 2002 NEC Applies

AFCI times 2? Basement finishing questionS - 2002 NEC Applies


Old 08-09-05, 07:59 AM
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Post AFCI times 2? Basement finishing questionS - 2002 NEC Applies

My inspector notified me that he plans to enforce the AFCI requirement for the bedroom going into my basement-finish project.

So, the light in the bedroom is on the "basement lights" 15 amp circuit installed originally when the house was built (2001). All the receptacles in the bedroom are on another 20 amp circuit that was wired last year.

I need the bedroom to be AFCI protected, so would it be easiest to install a 15 Amp AFCI on the "basement lights" circuit and another AFCI on the 20 Amp circuit for the rest of the basement receptacles? I don't mind the extra cost. And, I don't have easy access to the light as the bedroom has already been drywalled (but not the family room).

I hope to put all the receptacles for the basement bedroom/family room - 400 sqft total - on the 20 amp circuit (about a dozen receptacles). If this is a bad idea.....I am open to suggestions as to how I can use the 15 amp lighting circuit (currently 5 60 watt lights on it) and 20 amp circuit most efficiently. My panel is PACKED, so right now all I have avail. is the 15 and 20 amp circuits. I could consolidate the dining room and one 20A kitchen circuit together to gain another 20 A ...but this seems to be a point of debate and will have to run it by my inspector...

Also, 2 smoke detectors wired together (alarm in both sounds if one detects) will be required. Can these be added to either the 15 or 20 amp circuit? My "wiring simplified" book based on 2002 NEC says to wire the detectors into lighting so you know if the circuit breaker has tripped when the lights don't come on.

I know this is a lot....I appreciate any and all input.

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Old 08-09-05, 08:23 AM
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Firstly, if you stated below which I have posted here you are really in a situation where you are narrowed down in that the light in the bedroom muct be on the AFCI circuit and since you can't get back to it you would have only (2) choices...

You Stated:
[quote]And, I don't have easy access to the light as the bedroom has already been drywalled (but not the family room).[quote]

Ok....here is what I have to say...lol

1.) Try to feed the switch from the circuit in the bedroom so that the light is then on the bedroom circuit.

2.) Just install another AFCI on the circuit with the light in the bedroom.

Nothing states the circuits in the bedroom MUST be the only circuit in the bedroom......so this brings me to the next issue..

The smoke detector which is inside the bedroom must ALSO be on the AFCI circuit....since it is within the bedroom it needs to be protected as well....just think of it this way...anything inside the bedroom needs to be AFCI....( excluding baseboard heaters or possibly other 240V items..not sure what they would be....but you got the point )

So the easy fix is simply additional AFCI breakers.....again will not harm the house to have ALL branch circuits ( 120V ) on AFCI protection and it is my opinion and only mine...lol...that soon AFCI will be moved to be required in other areas of the house as well.....look for that in the future....( man I am predicting alot today...lol...)

So to answer your question......on the 15A or 20A circuit...really does not matter as they do not pull anything....BUT the key here is you need to make sure if they are inside the bedroom area it must be on AFCI......personally we only add them in 15A circuits and we run a seperate circuit for our smokes so we can put it all on AFCI in the panel......makes it simple.

IN my opinion again....if you have access to the 15A circuit and you have to end up putting it on AFCI....I would tap into that one...again smokes dont really pull anything......to worry about anyway and it will be on your lighting as you stated to observe.....if you feel you need that safety.
Old 08-09-05, 08:50 AM
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I hope to put all the receptacles for the basement bedroom/family room - 400 sqft total - on the 20 amp circuit (about a dozen receptacles). If this is a bad idea.....
It's probably okay. 400 square feet isn't really a lot. In theory, a 20-amp circuit can provide minimal lighting and receptacle needs for twice that much. It depends on what you will use these rooms for. With only 20 amps, you won't be able to go whole hog with a home theater, computer with laser printer, microwave, refrigerator and space heater, but it'll be adequate for TV watching, reading, crafts and a computer with an inkjet printer.
Old 08-09-05, 10:11 AM
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Location: Central New York State
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Ask the inspector if the smoke detector MUST be on an AFCI circuit. Some inspectors are requiring this, others aren't, and local amendments may have excluded them from the requirement.
Old 08-09-05, 10:44 AM
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Talking Doh!


That makes sense. The switch/light thing really made me feel stupid! I forgot to point out that one smoke detector is already installed overhead in the bedroom, presumably feeding off the power going to the light. So I'm betting its on the basement lights circuit. Its battery backup, so it still worked when I shut off both breakers supplying power to the basement...and I haven't invested the time to take it off the ceiling and check the wires to be sure what circuit it is on.

I do intend to power a 6.1 home theater system in the basement living room. The receivers I look at are rated at about 600 watts, with a sub that will probably be 100-200 watts. Perhaps I should use the 15 amp basement lights circuit for, of all things, the basement lights AND the bedroom, inclusive, and use the 20 A for just the receptacles in the living room (and maybe to do the light/fan in the bathroom that is in the planning stages). I have a dedicated 20 A "bathroom" breaker that is only powering the GFCI receptacles in my other 1.5 baths.

Sound like a plan? I may be an idiot but at least I know enough to not just jump right into wiring!!!!
Old 08-09-05, 10:47 AM
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Full Disclosure

In the interest of being comprehensive.....

No appliances of any kind will be in this basement, nor is there any baseboard heat. A computer will not be in the basement either. However, I am still battling the wife for a beer fridge (small, dorm-kind). And a 42" widescreen HDTV for that matter......
Old 08-09-05, 02:42 PM
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Fight HARD my brother...BOTH the BEER and the TV are worth having...
Old 08-09-05, 02:49 PM
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Another good reason to run all the Smokes on their own circuit and AFCI it if your locality requires it. I know in our area and most of Virginia if the Smokes are in the bedroom they must be on AFCI as the code dictates.

But being a devils advocate.....if the electrician runs a circuit JUST for the smokes and ends the circuit in a junction box in the attic....it makes a GREAT spare circuit later if you need to add anything in a bedroom...

We always run a seperate circuit for the smokes and end it in a nailup in the attic capped and covered for future access.

Now if your area does not require them on AFCI......still a great spare circuit in the attic and you saved yourself the cost of an AFCI.

However I venture to say because the inspector SAID he would be enforcing the AFCI requirment he will enforce it ALL....thus needs to have the smoke on AFCI....

Another solution would be to call the inspector since he seems to not mind telling the guy he is going to enforce the AFCI's......ask him if he also intends to enforce the Smokes on that as well.....
Old 08-09-05, 08:17 PM
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The inspector will be coming by to give a preliminary inspection, as I explained my half-way basement finished situation, and my desire to "get the job done right" and "not waste anyone's time". I'm sure living in a small town helps.

I'll have the chance to ask him anything on Thursday. Can't wait!!!!

So, are you guys saying the two smokes need to be on their very own circuit? That would seriously suck! Like I said, the only easy circuits available are one 15 and one 20.......

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