Afci ?

Does the bedroom outlets all have to be on one circuit? can there, as long as all outlets are AFCI protected be more than one circuit in a bedroom.

Todays inspection had the smokes all on a seperate afci.

Paul, you out there.:smiley:

As long as they are all protected, they do not have to be on the same circuit.

And here’s a visual from Mike Holt’s site, with permission.

Around here the vast majority of AHJs allow the smokes to be on their own dedicated AFCI.
The rest of the bedroom circuit devices/fixtures are AFCI protected just not by the same breaker.

I was told the reasoning was to allow the smokes to go off even if the bedroom circuit was tripped and the battery back up was dead.

i saw a house last week with 3 bedrooms and only 2 afci breakers. No breaker for the smoke detector (new home) How do you tell if the 3rd bedroom is connected to one of the only 2 breakers available?

In homes with AFCI breakers, I trip the breakers at the panel and then check to see that all of the receps, lights, and smoke detectors (and anything else 120v) are dead. I don’t count how many afci’s there are.

I never trip any breakers in the panel since I don’t go around each bedroom to determine whether or not there is any programmable equipment plugged into anything. I also don’t trip GFCI outlets that have programmable equipment plugged into them (had a really nice programmable coffee pot plugged into one the other day). I just note their presence and where they are, and advise my Clients to test them at close of escrow and monthly thereafter.


Sorry I dont have time to read others posts so I will answer on your post originally.

1.) Any receptacle in the bedroom that is 125V 15A or 20A is required to be on GFCI ( as well as lights, smokes and so on )…if you have (2) circuits in the bedroom for the above mentioned items then both will need AFCI protection…also it is important to understand that the AFCI circuit does not have to STAY in that bedroom…lets say they want to pick up a hall receptacle as well off the AFCI of the bedroom…then that is fine also.

Many times we have a different AFCI circuit for the smokes which ties them all together around the house and ends in the attic ( atleast thats how i do it ) so that it leaves a spare circuit in the attic since the smokes doe not pull anything really…

Hope that answers your question…now I am off to catch a plane…later.

RR, are you saying you don’t even test GFCI’s and AFCI’s? The close of escrow is a little too late isn’t it for further evaluation or repairs to be made?

I find it odd that the smokes can all be on a single, separate circuit…the dedicated panel breaker could then be used as a switch for nuisance alarms!! Who would then turn the separate alarm circuit back on every time?

In Canada, “A smoke alarm shall be supplied from a lighting circuit or, from a circuit that supplies a mix of lighting and receptacles, and in any case shall not be installed where the circuit is protected by a GFCI or AFCI”.

Also, we only have to protect the bedroom receptacles with an AFCI since apparently this is where the arcing is most likely to occur due to poor/old receptacle /plug blade contact.


I don’t unplug anything to test anything. Never have. Never will.
I also don’t plug things in that have been unplugged. Never have. Never will.
I also don’t turn water valves on or off. Never have. Never will.
I also don’t turn circuit breakers on of off. Never have. Never will.
I also don’t turn gas valves on or off. Never have. Never will.

I had a smarty-pants Client a few weeks ago who determined that he just had to turn the water on while my back was turned; I was outside doing the exterior. So he did and then joined me outside. I had already noted that the water had been shut off. When we got inside, the upstairs was flooded and there was water pouring down the stairs. Uh-uh. He didn’t buy the house, but I also understand that he’s being sued for damages.


The CODES in the USA can’t account for ignorance other than to mandate the requirements as the NEC® defines them. I know of a few places in the USA where local AHJ’s have adopted the requirement ( in their area ) to have the smokes on a bathroom lighting circuit or kitchen lighting circuit as well…but then it falls into which protects more…do we worry about the power going out to a smoke that SHOULD be properly backed up with a battery…or worry about the AFCI requirement because the NEC® says so.

Basically the NEC® does not care that regard, it simply states all 125V 15 & 20A outlets ( smokes being SUCH an outlet ) shall be protected with AFCI…nothing more…now as you will see in the US in 2008 the AFCI will be required on ALL 125V 15 & 20A circuits…even those with GFCI protection afforded to them so you see…the NEC® does not care about someones ignorance in that regard…but a local ordinance may and can ammend something to say what you are saying…but as it is now Smokes would need to be on AFCI if in the bedroom…

As for Canada…Now days I try to stay away from the canada requirements because it does not serve my speaking goals right now…I am only doing seminars in the USA from now on.

P.S. in the NEC® the term " shall be " is permissive…meaning you can if you wish but not required…wont comment on it in regards to Canada…sorry.

So you don’t trip the AFCI breakers or the GFCI receptacles, right? I don’t understand, it is so easy. AFCI stands for ANY FOOL CAN INSPECT,no?

Ok…technically speaking you are RESETTING AFCI/GFCI Breakers after you test them…the on/off is well…a removed undertaking…:wink:

I inspect AFCI. I don’t test them. We put the AFCI in the electric panel here, and the electric panel is outside. I’m not going to go running around the bedrooms to see what kind of equipment is plugged in to the outlets, whether any of it is on, and whether or not any of it is programmable, and then run back outside to push the test button, then run back inside to make sure that everything is off, then run back outside to reset the AFCI, then run back inside to make sure everything is back on. And I’m not going to be responsible for re-programming programmable equipment or any damage to computers or other equipment that was (claimed to have been) damaged when I shut off power and restored power to those outlets. Too many horror stories from the (foolish) ASHI and CREIA inspectors here at their dinner meetings. Ain’t gonna go there.

For the GFCI outlets, I test them as long as nothing programmable is plugged into them. Testing outlets is one of the last things I do, so I already know at that point where the GFCI outlets are. For example, one in the kitchen and one in the garage but none in the bathrooms indicates that the garage operates the bathrooms. 99.9% of the time, true. Etc.

Comes with experience, my boy. :cool:

lol…no disrespect ole’ California fellow…but I would venture to say the guys need to test them by atleast tripping them at the breaker itself or in the case of a GFCI receptacle at the receptacle…either way I don’t care about what is plugged in because my job is to TEST them…it is there job to know I am coming and what I will be testing…if Ole’ Grandma is on a ventilator in the back bedroom and I trip it and she dies…well they should have gotten ole’ granny out the house while I did the inspection…:slight_smile:

So as I said a million times…I don’t care about their MEAT in the fridge, I dont care about their inconvience…I am testing because by doing so I find defects, I find units that dont respond and so on…THUS saving a much larger lawsuit than someones spoiled meat or having to reset a clock…

But then again…I am on the EAST COAST and we do things different around these here parts…:wink:

Well golly gee RR. Here I thought you had and open mind and gave people choices. I would say you could add this to your repertoire of inspections. That’s right folks, we now have the RUN Inspection where RR tests all the AFCI and GFCI circuit breakers in the exterior panel. :mrgreen:

The homeowner shouldn’t expect 100% reliability from the local POCO. There will be power failures from time to time and anything he deems so critical should be on a battery back-up. Testing a GFCI/AFCI is no different than a power failure. I test all that are present just as my state SOP requires me to:

Since it would require taking the covers off of all GFCI’s to inspect the wiring then I do not use the 1st two options but rather I use the 3rd, i.e. use of a separate tester or the integral test button.

Paul, I think you may have uncovered the mystery of how his wise ol granny died,(Really Daniel Webster) he tripped the AFCI in her bedroom by accident and now he can’t bring himself to test anymore! Good work Paul!:wink:

I tested one GFCI in a bathroom.last month that would not reset. It controlled all the bathroom receptacles. The sellers were very upset, untill they tried an extension cord on the hair dryer the next morning and it almost started a fire. When they called the lawyer (he was smart), he told them the GFCI was obviously not working and advised them to forget trying to make me pay for the repair. He told them this showed the GFCI needed t o be replaced and my test may have saved their life. They immediately went out and bought a new GFCI receptacle for the bathroom.
The problem with this is now I have to think good things about lawyers.