AFCI at bedrooms on new construction?

I understand that AFCI are required at bedroom recepticles for new construction, but are they required for overhead lights and ceiling fans in bedrooms? If I’m correct, the 2002 NEC only requires AFCI at bedroom recepticles on new construction.


Kip McCullough

KRM Home Inspections, LLC
Atlanta, GA

All 125 volt, 15 and 20 amp, single phase outlets.

An “outlet” is any point of power supply (basically) which includes smoke detectors, lights, receptacles, etc., etc.

In most areas of ME, smoke detectors are exempt from the AFCI requirement.

That would have to be a local AHJ thing Jon, because based on the NEC as a whole it requires them to be on the AFCI circuit. Many fight the idea that if the AFCI circuit goes off the smoke circuit will also…Yet I would argue that the advantage of this is the notice you would get from the AFCI system via the smokes…since as we know the smokes are required to be of battery back up nature…anyway…not a all together bad thing when on an AFCI circuit…

Usually we feed a bedroom…smaller one of the closest nature…let it feed the smoke circuit and then loop it so they all are covered by AFCI…very important to note that AFCI can leave the bedroom and pick up other items…and you can have more than (1) AFCI within a bedroom…just wanted to throw that in for ya.

I caution folks from calling out missing AFCIs on new construction. You need to ask the AHJ if they require it, because not all do. AFCIs are not required on new construction in NY State… period.

Is this because they haven’t adopted a newer version of the IRC or NEC, or do they have their own State Code (like CA does)?

Below is info I lifted off of the “New York State Division of Code Enforcement and Administration”. Is your info something new?

Are arc-fault circuit-interrupters required in residential buildings regulated by the BCNYS?
*YES. Chapter 27 of the BCNYS references the 1999 version of the NEC which in section 210-12, requires arc-fault
circuit-interrupter protection for all branch circuits that supply 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20- ampere receptacle
outlets installed in dwelling unit bedrooms (effective January 1, 2002).

Here’s a good graphic from About Homes:

Click here


Is that a link from your IRS?


We’ve only recently been noting absence (or presence) of AFCI breakers, so I had to come up with something to explain why my Clients should have AFCI breakers installed, and something to explain what they do if they were installed.

Ultimately all of my IRS reference materials will be at About Homes, but the PowerPoint presentation (think marketing) won’t be there, just the information.

About Homes and the materials there are free to NACHI members through March 31, 2006, so check often (I create and/or upload information daily) and make sure you join us as a home inspector at our discounted NACHI rate prior to March 31, 2006.

I agree…I think your question is very important Jeff…because even back to 1999 the AFCI was mandated for 2002 as I believe Charles posted as well. The local AHJ certainly has the ability to modify the NEC but I am not in NY so I dont know but from all the places I deal with AFCI’s are now required…yes I can see some saying the smoke is not on the circuit but from an electricians standpoint it is moot…their is no way in getting around the wording of the NEC on the issue of AFCI’s in bedrooms…the smoke is 120V and should be on AFCI…period.

The 1999 NEC only requires AFCI protection for bedroom receptacles, and the 2002 NEC requires AFCI protection for all bedroom outlets (receptacles, lights, etc.)

However, the 2000 IRC as a “stand-alone” code does not require any AFCI protection for bedrooms (see IRC E3802). That was added to the IRC in 2002 (E3802.11)

And just for clarification, note that most, if not all, of the jurisdictions here are still using the UBC from ca. 1996, which, I believe, didn’t even know that AFCI’s existed. Yet I as a home inspector here regularly recommend the upgrade.

Just to be clear…I as an electrician wire to the NEC and it is refered from the UBC here in VA…and probably in most cases. In other words they are going to refer to the standards of the NEC if adopted in the state…and the NEC is clear on the AFCI requirements I believe…

Now if the local AHJ chooses to waive certain portions of things it is within their Art 90 power to do so.

RR…Does the UBC not refer you to the NEC on electrical installations and requirements…and if so what NEC edition has been adopted in your state?

The question really is does the Residential Code of New York State (RCNYS) require AFCI protection in 1/2 family homes and townhouses. I think the answer is “No” since the RCNYS/IRC is a “stand-alone” code that does not require you to go to the NEC unless specifically stated. Homes are not regulated by the BCNYS, they are regulated by the RCNYS.

The current RCNYS is based on the 2000 IRC, which does not require any AFCI protection (see E3802) … unless you also apply the 1999 NEC, which some AHJ’s may do (I think incorrectly, since E3802 does not kick you out to the NEC).

California has its own building codes. There’s one AHJ out in redneck country who has been in his job since 1849, I think, and he looks it. And, as he likes to say, “I ain’t tryin’ ta learn nuthin’ new at my age,” so I think he’s still using the 1849 codes. The townfolks love him.

I keep hearing talk about us joining the real world, but so far I haven’t seen anything concrete (not to change the subject to concrete, you understand. :smiley: )

lol…See RR…rednecks are everywhere…lol…been working since 1849…well now he preceeds the actual CODE so I guess he is allowed to write his own rulings…thehehe…

CA is in transition to the IRC and is expecting to have it fully implemented by 2009. The California Building Code will be based on the IRC but will still be the CBC.

Just to give some food for thought, I actually think it’s a mistake to connect smoke circuits to controversial AFCI breakers that have a history of problems and recalls. And if the AFCI shuts down the circuits right away, but a fire still starts, you have just lost what I think is the single biggest life saving provision ever added to the residential codes to warn people to get out of a burning wood building.

Also, if the smokes are interconnected/hardwired (required) with a separate dedicated circuit (I think they should be), it could be considered a “fire alarm system” and Section 760.21 of the latest NEC could be read to actually prohibit that circuit from being connected to a GFCI or AFCI device.

I have also heard that a work-around for possible conflicting NEC sections is to wire the dedicated smoke circuits to a 10A standard breaker (210.12 requires AFCI protection for only 15A and 20A bedroom circuits).

JMO and 2-nickels … :wink:


So it’s been pushed back yet again from the last date I had heard over at from Jerry McCarthy.

It might be kind of like tomorrow. . . .

Never comes.