AFCI receptacle vs AFCI circuit breaker

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Old 11-19-18, 11:37 PM
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AFCI receptacle vs AFCI circuit breaker

The latest NEC Code requirements mandates that all living areas must be Arc fault (ie, AFCI) protected. So this means living rooms, bedrooms, etc..

I was just wondering. From a new construction standpoint, what is the preferable method of protecting these living areas... AFCI receptacles or AFCI circuit breakers?
 
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Old 11-20-18, 12:00 AM
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Correct. Basically all circuits that are not GFI protected will need to be AFCI protected.
AFCI breakers are my choice.
 

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Old 11-20-18, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by PJmax View Post
Correct. Basically all circuits that are not GFI protected will need to be AFCI protected.
AFCI breakers are my choice.
Thanks PJMax. The consideration, in new construction, of using AFCI breakers vs AFCI Outlets is an interesting one.

And on a related note, regarding GFCI in the kitchen and bath... Around where I live, the normal method of GFCI protection is to install GFCI outlets and not the GFCI breakers. However, it seems though that, in terms of AFCI protection, maybe AFCI protecting the circuit breaker would lead to easier resetting of a tripped circuit. I mean, who wants to hunt around behind the TV, desk lamp, bed table, etc. to reset an AFCI outlet?

Just wondering, in your area - is the norm to install AFCI protection at the breaker? Are there any advantages to go the other way and install AFCI receptacles instead of AFCI breakers?
 
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Old 11-20-18, 11:21 AM
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I've never seen AFCI receptacles used. The main issue with a receptacle is that the first portion of the cabling through the walls aren't protected. While it may be code compliant, it's probably safer/better for the wiring to be protected from the breaker.

GFCI breaker/receptacles are a toss-up, since the GFI isn't protecting the wiring, but the actual device that's plugged in.
 
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Old 11-21-18, 07:01 PM
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If a circuit is required to have AFCI protection that protection would have to begin at the panel. Without looking it up and working entirely from memory, it seems to me that when AFCI receptacles first appeared in the NEC there was a requirement for the feeder to the first AFCI receptacle to either be installed in conduit or with metal clad or armored cable. Without doing research I cannot say for sure what version of the NEC this was, but I remember a lot of discussion about it at the time because there were at that time no AFCI receptacles on the market yet.
 
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Old 11-22-18, 08:57 AM
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2017 NEC requirements have continue to change and you can install an AFCI device at the first "outlet" box (not receptacle) as long as the distance of the branch circuit from the panel and the first box is not more then 50' for #14 wire and 70' for #12 wire. The requirement of the wiring method to be metallic (MC, AC, FMC, EMT etc) has been dropped.

AFCI devices are also required to be readily accessible the same as GFCI devices. In my experience it is easier, and more convenient, to have the AFCIs grouped in the panel using breakers. You can also get combo AFCI/GFCI breakers. I have had issues where people place a heavy piece of furniture in front of an AFCI making it not readily accessible.
 
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