AFCI in bathrooms, garage and outdoors

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Old 05-17-19, 02:49 PM
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AFCI in bathrooms, garage and outdoors

Any disadvantage to set up my bathrooms circuits, attached garage receptacle circuit and outdoor receptacle circuit on AFCI? Out of my twenty 15 and 20 amp branch circuits, AFCI is required in sixteen of them. It seems like I might as well just include the extra four branch circuits when I upgrade to AFCI everywhere else.

It seems to me that the issues that AFCI protects against can just as reasonably be expected to be a risk in those areas. Also, if I assume that AFCI requirements will continue to be expanded, I might as well just take care of it now.

I am replacing every switch, every receptacle and every light fixture in my house, so upgrading to AFCI was going to be required if I understand the code correctly.

Itíll cost me an extra ~$140 to include those circuits in my work, but otherwise I donít really see any downside.

Thoughts?
 
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Old 05-17-19, 03:39 PM
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Receptacles in damp/wet areas like the garage, the basement, the kitchen counters, the bathrooms and outside are still required to be on GFI circuits. If you choose to use combo breakers....that's fine.

I don't believe just replacing devices requires an upgrade to AFCI protection. Modifying half the circuits does require a full upgrade.
 
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Old 05-17-19, 04:52 PM
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Yeah, all four circuits would require dual-function GFCI/AFCI, but those are readily available for my QO panel and only marginally more expensive than just GFCI.

I think about a third of the 16 circuits that require AFCI in my scenario, also require GFCI.

I just wanted to see if there were any experience out there that should steer me away from including those four additional circuits. 👍
 
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Old 05-18-19, 01:58 PM
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Do you have any Multi-Wire Branch Circuits, which typically have one shared neutral wire and 2 hot wires on opposite phases? If so, for those circuits you have to use 2-pole AFCIs, GFCIs, or dual function breakers that are rated for such usage. The exception is GE that has some AFCI breakers that can be single pole on MWBCs.
 

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Old 05-19-19, 11:40 PM
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Nope, so far I have not come across any 15 or 20 amp multi-wire branch circuits.
 
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Old 05-20-19, 05:22 AM
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I have seen trouble with using some power tools on AFCI circuits which might an issue in the garage. I wouldn't call it common, but it's a known issue with brushed motors on AFCI as brushed motors spark by design and AFCI breakers detect spark. The breaker manufacturers have gotten better at avoiding false trips, but they still happen. For example I have a miter saw that works fine on GFCI but always trips AFCI -- just something about that particular motor. I occasionally hear similar complaints about specific equipment on AFCI even though the equipment seems to be operating normally.
 
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Old 05-20-19, 12:29 PM
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Is the lighting in the bathroom and/or garage on a separate circuit from the outlets there? If not there is something to be said about using GFCI or even AFCI/GFCI receptacles there instead of breakers with those functions, unless local code requires it in your situation. The lights going out from a possible false trip on a power tool or hair dryer at a minimum would be an inconvenience. But I could envision it causing opportunities to trip and fall as well.
 
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Old 05-21-19, 08:08 AM
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Good point on power tools. Other than a miter saw, I donít have much that could cause issues, but worth keeping in mind.

And I agree that keeping the receptacles on separate circuits from the lights would be useful. Both my garage and guest bathroom are both currently on 15 amp circuits, so I need to run new 20 amp receptacle circuits for both of those locations. Seems like it would be easy to leave the lighting circuits as-is and just separate out the 20 amp for the receptacles in both locations.
 
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