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6' Rule for Arc Faults


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Fellow Inspectors,

I see a lot of flips with upgraded (100) and up-sized (150-200) panels.  Most of the time they are not adding arc fault protection on the required circuits. 

When I ask the local inspectors, they say that if the new panel is located with in 6' of the previous panel, they do not require upgraded protection to the circuits.

At the same time they do require all outlets to be upgraded to tamper resistant.  Is this a local thing or part of the NEC?


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Yes, it's part of the NEC in section 210.12(D).  The general rule is that you're supposed to add AFCI protection when you "modify, replace, or extend" a branch circuit that would require it in new construction. An exception says that you don't need to follow that rule if the "extension of the existing conductors is not more than 6 feet *and* does not include any additional outlets or devices."

As for the TR receptacles, I have no idea. As far as I can tell, the NEC doesn't require upgrading them unless you're actually replacing the receptacles. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
11 minutes ago, Plummen2 said:

As far as I know we aren' required to install afci breakers unless it' new construction or remodel work.

I have not been required to install them on service panel change outs.

Right. The rule only kicks in if you extend the circuit - including moving the panel to a new location more than 6' away from the original location. 

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