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When did AFCI protection first become required for most rooms in a house?
Monday, December 16, 2019
The 2008 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC) expanded the rooms required to have AFCI-protection to also include “family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas.” Only bedrooms were mandated to have AFCI-protection earlier in the 1999 edition of the code. The 2008 NEC also specified that a Combination AFCI (CAFCI) breaker, an upgraded design that detects both series and parallel arc faults, be used instead of the older AFCIs—which only recognized parallel arc faults. To read more about it, see our blog post What is the difference between a Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (CAFCI) and an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) circuit breaker?
Kitchens and laundry rooms were added to the list in the 2014 NEC. There are also rather complicated rules for when the AFCI device can be in the panel, or the first receptacle outlet in a circuit, or a combination of both, which we won’t go into here.
While the year that the NEC added a new location requirement is easy to define, each local juridiction’s building codes don’t necessarily adopt the latest edition of the NEC immediately. The state of Florida, for example, did not make the 2011 NEC effective until mid-2015. Other jurisdictions have sometimes waited even longer to adopt a newer NEC edition and, to complicate things further, they might make amendments that exclude parts of the newest requirements. So the year when the NEC first required FCI-protection for a new receptacle location can be several years before your local building department adopted that edition of the code and began enforcing it.
See our blog post What is the difference between GFCI and AFCI circuit breakers to learn more.
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