AFCI in Damp Locations

From what I’ve read, it seems that arc-faults are a structure protection device and ground-faults are a personal protection device. But why does the arc-fault requirement not include damp locations? I realize that those locations should be protected by GFCI’s, but that’s just personal protection, right?

If a bathroom is connected with GFCI receptacles and not a GFCI breaker, why wouldn’t the cables running through the walls need protection by an AFCI breaker?

There’s no prohibition to installing AFCI’s on additional circuits, there’s just nothing currently requiring them.

AFCI’s are relatively new technology and were originally required at bedroom receptacle outlets. It has been expanded to include all bedroom outlets, and may (one day) be required at all branch circuits of the residence.

Currently their are few places remaining in a dwelling that is not going to require AFCI technology. The few places still not requiring AFCI is kitchens, bathrooms, garages and so on…but I am sure it is coming.

You are 100% correct in that AFCI protection should also be in those locations as well and the kitchen one was an oversite as they probably wanted just the SABC circuits only but instead it exempted the entire requirement within the kitchen.

Statistics are what started it in the bedroom back in the 1999 code, effective in 2002 and it has grown from their…and look for it to continue to grow.

Some areas opt out of portions of the code as they are allowed to do if they file the right papers with the state. We have one county that does not allow bedroom smoke detectors on AFCI’s.

And you know bruce…that county probably has a building official that simply does not understand how the AFCI works. At one point OHIO was against the AFCI to in the end remove the OPT OUT and accept it.

Only time will tell but in most cases ( and I do work for a local goverment…lol ) the going against the grain is usually marked up to ignorance but i see it everyday in our own governmental roadblocks.

Thanks guys. That’s what I figured but wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something.

Paul, what are they going to do about the excessive heat generated by AFCI’s if all branch circuits require protection? Required ventilation of the panels? New AFCI design?

As it is, having 6 or 7 AFCI’s in a panel heats the wall in the adjacent room where it can be felt with your hand.

Has anyone determined the watt consumption of these devices?

I may just do that, if that info is not available.

I think you meant to say “expanded to include all living areas”?


I actually read a report that was in the Eaton office when I was in PA doing a seminar. They have actually done the tests on the “crowding” of AFCI devices and have determined that the rise in temperature will not effect the operation of the product. They also determined that since the temperature levels of the optimum operation levels would never rise enough to cause any concerns. The research is on going but to date their is no evidence that the rise in heat will lead to an excessive level like you would have from an ARC condition…the heat is stable and within the UL testing levels and this test was done with a fully loaded enclosure and panelboard at full load capacity and it did fine.

Don’t as me for a copy of it because I dont have it , however I can promise you it was and is always being looked at by the manufacturers and during UL Listings.