AFCI Breaker info...Question

Should we be recommending to our Clients to Upgrade their Bedroom circuit breakers to AFCI’s if their house was built before the code was


How do you report GFCI’s? Why would you not handle AFCI’s the same way? Why just bedroom circuits?

Same answer for any health or safety upgrade.

If they ever upgrade their Electrical system Circuit Interrupters should be installed according to present code.

I also recommend GFCI for all outlets at wet locations so why would I not recommend AFCI protection.

It is present code because it is better for your safety.

Knowing what the code says gives you an idea of where to start, David, but you are not limited by them.

Remember that a building code, when adopted, is nothing more than the most minimum and basic level of acceptability to the degree that anything less is illegal. A building code does not indicate that something is “safe” or that something is of any degree of quality.

AHJs are limited and can only observe and address these minimum basic standards. Home inspectors, however, are not looking at the least amount of quality or materials to get by…but what is good and right, and what is not.

Never ever discuss your findings in terms of “code” or you will be made to look like an idiot by contractors and AHJs who freely misinterpret them for a living. Allow them to reign over their mediocrity while you address material defects and the means of improving the quality and safety of the home and its systems.

Interesting. How many of you recommend installing fire-suppression systems in the residence as a “safety upgrade?”

Not me…but my state SOP does require me to report lack of GFCI’s & AFCI’s.

I have started to recommend the home be torn down and rebuilt with all fire proof materials.;-):wink:

Great question.

For those who insist that aluminum wiring and two-prong electrical systems (all acceptable under the NEC) should be written up as “defects” in an inspection report…how do you justify NOT writing up the actual 2006 IRC requirement for fire-suppression systems in two or less family dwellings?

This should be fun.

By not adopting the 2009 amendments, Minnesota will not be requiring home sprinklers for at least five years, if ever.

Effective Date:

The IRC provision calls for an effective date of no sooner than January 1, 2011. If the
state adopts the IRC by January 1 the provision will apply. If adoption occurs after
January 1, 2011 then only those homes built after adoption will be required to comply
There is no retroactive provision in the code.

At the last legislative session, at the behest of the builder’s lobby, Texas passed a law prohibiting the requirement of residential sprinklers. They can be offered but not required here:

Jim’s question is a fair one but maybe another example of ‘defect’ would work better.

Reporting on their absence is a different story altogether. Some people report the “absence” of and air-conditioning system.

I’m looking to get a feel for the “logic” behind recommending such an “upgrade.” I’ve pondered this question for some time now and, with the help of my legal counsel, have learned where I should “draw the line.”

How is it a different story? The question is “Should we be recommending to our Clients to Upgrade their Bedroom circuit breakers to AFCI’s if their house was built before the code was required?”

It doesn’t seem wise for me to simply state “AFCI not present”. I do expand upon the subject some to explain what an AFCI is and why I recommend considering them if they are not present. I think it all goes back to the age-old question of whether or not to report pretty much anything that is missing or deficient in the home doesn’t it? Another similar example would be 8" gaps at stair balusters, would you mention that? I do agree that we all have to draw the line somewhere but that line will vary from state to state and inspector to inspector.

Which (without drawing a line somewhere) would essentially be suggesting that the home be “brought up to current code standards.”

This falls more in line with where I will suggest “upgrades.”

I’d like to hear from more inspectors before I tell you where I draw my line. . .

There is no doubt that the AFCI will save lives and prevent $$$$$ in fire damage. The reason to recommend upgrades is that an older home will be significantly safer with the upgrade at a reasonable price.

My list of recommended upgrades are: smoke detectors, railings, railing balusters, GFCI’s, sensors at garage door openers and hurricane ties. I will be adding AFCIs in the near future.

Thankyou for this reply

Thanks everybody for the replies…

[size=2]I put this comment in the circuit breaker section of my reports:

SAFETY UPGRADE: Consider upgrading some of the circuits (especially bedrooms) with arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) type breakers to reduce the risk of arc related fires.

I find it interesting that, even though it is a part of the 2009 International Residential Code, you do not recommend an upgrade to a fire suppression system. These save more lives than your list of upgrades, combined? Why push for smoke detectors when the code required fire suppression system would save the lives and property of all who hire you?

Our area is still working off the ‘97’ UBC, ‘91’ plumbing and the ‘99’ NEC with no mention of changes in the wind. The cost and abiltiy to easily upgrade also comes into play.