AFCI test liability

It appears that most AFCI 's are located in the maim panel. I believe that
outlet type AFCI’s are rare and fairly new. A situation may very well arise where “tripping an AFCI”, will effect several outlets. If
happy homeowner finds his computer off line and with a loss of all his work because of your testing , he will be an unhappy homeowner.The inspector may be hunting down the affected AFCI in a basement panel to reset it.
Any advise as to the SOP’s on how to address this issue before it

Sure make him aware you will be testing ahead of time, if you feel the need to push the trip.

AFCI is so far normally found just in bedrooms, so if there are computers in those rooms you can either test or not test and state why in your report.

As with any breaker in the electric panel, I don’t test/operate it, and tell my Clients why. Running around all the rooms in a McMansion to try to determine what types of programmable equipment is running and if information could be lost just is not in my pay grade.

Ditto to what RR said…I educate them as to their purpose and how to reset them.

I do not test any breaker in a panel in an occupied home. I think I learned that on day 2 in my home inspection training course. Just put some words to that affect in the elect. section of every report.

I am torn on this one.
I do not make a habit of tripping them, but in new construction, which is where you see these most often at this point, I often educate clients with a demo.

Thinking about it now,this is a circuit interrupter and maybe should be tested once a month the same as GFCI.

Anyone have paper to back up reasoning?

I do test new construction at the panel and in the room with a SureTest. Want to make sure closet lights and overhead lights go out along with the wall outlets. I used to write it up if the smoke detector stayed on, but I let that slide now.

It may just be on another circuit.

What we normally see here in SC is a separate 20amp circuit labeled “smoke alarms” or “Smoke Detectors” that is not NOT AFCI protected.

I don’t believe any of the AHJ’s in the Trident area enforce AFCI’s for the smokes though they are in the bedrooms…:roll:

Here’s some info from Mike Holt
As Joe has said, To properly test an AFCI circut, one must use an AFCI circut/outlet tester, like the SureTest. The above arcticle explains that little test button does not actually create an arc fault condition(a true test), it mearly operates the interupter through telling board’s processor to operate. In a GFCI, the test button actually creates a ground fault through the use of a resistor to ground.
Hope this info is useful.

I thought the only recognized test for a AFCI was the test button on the breaker.

The last I checked, that is what the manufacturer said.


How do I test to determine if my AFCI circuit breaker is functioning properly?

To test an AFCI, make sure there is power to the load center, or panelboard. Turn the AFCI handle to the “ON” position. Press the blue test button. Pressing the test button simulates an arc to the AFCI sensing electronics, causing the breaker to trip. The AFCI breaker is functioning properly when the circuit is interrupted and the handle moves to the tripped center position. To reset, turn the AFCI off and turn it on again. If the AFCI does not trip when the test button is pressed, it should be replaced. Refer to a qualified electrician for servicing. You should test your AFCI breaker monthly to insure protection against electrical arcing faults.