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AFCI question


Robert Jones
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A home built in 1950 with the electrical service updated in May of 2008. Is there any reason that AFCI protection would not have been installed? The new install was given the "go" by the local enforcement guru's, but shouldn't the 2005 NEC if not the 2008 NEC requirements for AFCI protection have been followed? Didn't Washington State adopt the 2008 code? Oh and no GFCI's were installed either:(

Thanks,

Rob

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  • 2 weeks later...
Originally posted by bootsan

The answer is yes to AFCI protection. WAC 296-46B-210

How in the world do you figure this?

The requirement is for outlets on branch circuits. A service or panel replacement is NOT installing branch circuits.

IMO there is absolutely NO indication that the AFCI requirements are retroactive nor do they apply to a service change.

GFIs are the same thing. There is NO requirement to install them at the time of a service change. True, GFIs are a good idea and are a good upgrade at this time, but there is nothing making it mandatory.

The installer and "local enforcement guru's" are correct on this.

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I would agree with Speedy, but it would depend upon the AHJ. If they require the electrical system to be brought up to current code when a specific upgrade is done, they may not require AFCI protection at the bedroom receptacles, smokies, ceiling fan/light, etc. In my area, for example, I don't think any AHJ's require this for an older home with a new panel/service. If it was a flip and the electrical system was entirely redone, most would though.

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Originally posted by bootsan

A home built in 1950 with the electrical service updated in May of 2008. Is there any reason that AFCI protection would not have been installed? The new install was given the "go" by the local enforcement guru's, but shouldn't the 2005 NEC if not the 2008 NEC requirements for AFCI protection have been followed? Didn't Washington State adopt the 2008 code? Oh and no GFCI's were installed either:(

Thanks,

Rob

It's up to the AHJ to make this call. In most places, they won't require expensive upgrades on top of the requirements of the permit.

From the AHJ's point of view, it's better to have the work done under a permit than to have it bootlegged in. If it becomes known that the AHJ will require expensive upgrades along with every service change out, then fewer people will seek permits for the work. Adding AFCIs and GFCIs on top of a change out will increase the cost by hundreds of dollars. In that case, lots of people will elect to skip the permit and bootleg the job instead.

I wouldn't get too worked up about it. It's not like the current generation of AFCIs actually do anything useful anyway. They're an expensive boondoggle foisted on us by the electrical manufacturers.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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