AFCI Protection Needed on Remodel?

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  #1  
Old 07-15-07, 11:10 PM
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AFCI Protection Needed on Remodel?

My bedroom receptacles are currently being fed from two circuits. One of them is the circuit that feeds the kitchen countertop receptacles, and the other is the circuit that feeds the microwave receptacles. The bedroom receptacles are all "downstream" of these receptacles.

After the kitchen remodel, the bedroom receptacles and the small appliance circuits will need to be separate. That brings me to the question of whether or not I would need to provide AFCI protection to the bedroom receptacles as part of the kitchen remodel.

The way I see it, I would be adding new small appliance circuits for the kitchen, leaving the existing circuits for the bedroom receptacles. Therefore, I'm leaving the bedrooms "as-is" and wouldn't need to upgrade to AFCI protection. However, I will need to add new wire from the first bedroom receptacle to the existing breaker in the panel. So I could see an inspector saying that I need to upgrade to AFCI protection.

Have any of you had a similar situation and what's your experience?
 
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  #2  
Old 07-16-07, 12:20 AM
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I wouldn't THINK you'd need to add AFCI protection to the bedrooms. Worst case, your inspector says you do and it takes $75 and 15 minutes to do, plus the time to get the parts and a new inspection if required.
 
  #3  
Old 07-16-07, 07:05 AM
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Well, maybe more than 15 minutes, because those circuits are on tandem breakers, and there are no AFCI tandem breakers yet, right? So I would have to put some other circuits on tandem breakers in order to make room for the AFCI breakers.

One thing I forgot to mention is that I'm considering adding wire-in smoke alarms to the bedrooms, where there were no smoke alarms before. So I guess I would need AFCI protection for whatever circuit the smoke alarms are on?
 
  #4  
Old 07-16-07, 07:30 AM
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The NEC requires AFCI protection for bedrooms. Yes, the wired smoke detectors would require this protection according to code. however, some locations of the country allow exceptions for smoke detectors. However, since you are not redoing the bedroom I think you would not be required to add AFCI protection.
 
  #5  
Old 07-16-07, 08:27 AM
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Any local rules aside, running a new home run for the bedroom circuits would constitute a new circuit as far as most electrical inspectors would be concerned. The circuit is substantially changed and therefore not grandfathered. Code language can be argued all day but in the end the inspector would decide this one.

Whether the new work is obvious enough get the inspector to ask or not is a whole other matter.
 
  #6  
Old 07-16-07, 12:36 PM
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I missed the new home run when I first read it. While I am no fan of AFCIs, there is a much greater chance now that you will need it. I'd call an inspector now and ask nicely.
 
  #7  
Old 07-16-07, 01:51 PM
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Looks like the best thing to do may be to bite the bullet and upgrade to AFCI breakers. But with the way things are set up now, I would need a total of 3 AFCI breakers - 2 for the bedroom receptacles and 1 for the bedroom lighting/smoke alarms. That's 3 spots in the panel where I will have to replace tandem breakers with single AFCI breakers, and I am already hurting for space inside the panel. I could combine the two circuits for receptacles into one, but that would be a lot (over 10) of receptacles on that circuit. There are only two lights/ceiling fans plus the smoke alarms on the other circuit- any downside to combining this with one of the receptacle circuits?
 
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Old 07-16-07, 01:59 PM
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> There are only two lights/ceiling fans plus the smoke alarms on the other
> circuit- any downside to combining this with one of the receptacle circuits?

You'll have to check with your local inspector. Smoke detectors are regulated at the local level. What many localities require, others forbid. National code would allow smokes and bedroom/living room receptacles on the same AFCI-protected circuit. I prefer to put smokes on the same circuit as commonly used lighting so that it's obvious if the circuit breaker has tripped; however this is not allowed in some areas.
 
  #9  
Old 07-16-07, 03:01 PM
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The best thing you can do to clarify any unknowns is to call your local inspector. They will be glad to answer any questions you may have concerning your remodel,

As far as the AFCI breakers goes, it may be in your best interest to have them installed for your bedrooms, regardless if inspector will want them in or not. The inspector doesn't live nor sleep in your home, you and your family does. AFCI breakers are designed for safety and after the 2008 nec code comes out later this year may be required in all rooms other than kitchens and bathrooms.

Yes, they are a little pricey but the investment is worth their weight in gold.
 
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Old 07-16-07, 04:25 PM
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I'd still love to see some evidence that AFCIs provide measureably greater safety, or some example of a death that could have been prevented by an AFCI. But I digress.

As long as you are making a new home run for the bedroom receptacles, can't your smoke come from the same HR?
 
  #11  
Old 07-16-07, 08:32 PM
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Forget the smoke detector. No inspector in his right mind is going to make you put the smoke detector on this new bedroom circuit. All the smoke detectors in your house must be on the same circuit so that the interconnects will work, and it's not really feasible to transfer just one of them to a new circuit.
 
  #12  
Old 07-17-07, 07:28 PM
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Exclamation

"Forget the smoke detector. No inspector in his right mind is going to make you put the smoke detector on this new bedroom circuit. All the smoke detectors in your house must be on the same circuit so that the interconnects will work, and it's not really feasible to transfer just one of them to a new circuit"

But it is often required that when a circuit is extended for a new smoke detector installed in a bedroom that the circuit breaker on the smoke detector circuit be changed to an AFCI. Again this will be an inspector issue for you to resolve.
 
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Old 07-18-07, 11:30 AM
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I'm assuming that the circuit serving the smoke detector is untouched by this project. The bedroom is also untouched. I see no need to do anything with the SD circuit, although I do agree that when the bedroom receptacle circuit is split off the kitchen circuit, the bedroom receptacle circuit breaker should be AFCI.
 
  #14  
Old 07-18-07, 11:35 AM
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I was taking a look at AFCI breakers at one of the big box stores yesterday during lunch. It seems to me that all of them are "supersized" compared to regular breakers. That might cause me some headaches with the wiring in the panel - do they have smaller AFCI breakers?
 
  #15  
Old 07-18-07, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
I'm assuming that the circuit serving the smoke detector is untouched by this project. The bedroom is also untouched. I see no need to do anything with the SD circuit, ...
He mentioned in his reply that he is also planning on NEW smokes in the bedrooms where there are non currently.
 
  #16  
Old 07-18-07, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by biking_brian
... do they have smaller AFCI breakers?
You are limited to what that manufacturer makes for his panel, sorry.
 
  #17  
Old 07-18-07, 11:45 AM
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I believe I may have had conflicting information above (too old of a post to edit it), but there will be new smokes in the bedrooms just as Mac said.
 
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