bedroom AFCI

House built in 2003. No AFCI in bedrooms. Do I call it out, if so, do I recommend a Lic. Elec. est. repairs? because not to code?

The 2006 IRC calls for all branch circuits that supply 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20- amp outlets installed in bedrooms shall be protected by a combination type or branch/feeder type arc-fault circuit interrupter installed to provide protection of the entire branch circuit. There isn’t an effective date, tho. IRC E3802.12

Another book, Electrical Inspection by ITA, published 2001, says beginning in 2002.

Check with the local jurisdiction for the home for the final call.


The ONLY recourse with AFCIs is to check local code. NOT nearly all areas have adopted them yet as a rule.
Even though it is in some local codes in some areas they are not enforced at all either. My area is as such. Almost no one installs AFCIs here.
If the LEAD inspector for my whole part of the state does not think they need to be installed I do not argue with him.

We have many towns in our area that do not even have building inspectors/officials. In such a case, would any defects/irregularities be considered defective? Where do you draw the line?

Where townships have no ordinances, they must follow State standards.

ok…Basically the NEC 1999 stated that on a certain DATE ( ie: Jan 1,2002 ) to which it would be required. If the state you are in adopted the 1999 even before the NEC 2002…and if the 1999 was STILL in effect it would mandate AFCI’s after Jan 1. 2002 as written in the 1999 NEC.

While it formally became required in the 2002 NEC and most certainly be expanded in the 2008 the concept of it is “Purely” safety in the eyes of the review board that accepted the proposal.

While certain areas and certain communities can “ignore” the requirement it is still in my opinion a safety enhancement that is worthy of suggestion if the house in question was built in 2003…but again their are still many who do not believe in AFCI’s…but more and more are coming to the “DARK SIDE” of the concept…they save lives much like GFCI’s and in that case are a welcome recommendation.

As the HI you are not going to really in MY opinion be overly concerned with what the local rulings are…you are simply looking for safety issues and the NEC and NFPA have made the updates because they save lives…and in any case that saves lives is worth a recommendation in my mind and not a VERY expensive one if you ask me…whats the COST of a life??? which might be your own.

While the technology of the AFCI is evolving and getting better with age, the foundation is proven and will be a safety enhancement. Now do I think the entire 15A and 20A 120V branch circuits in a dwelling ( as proposed in 2008 NEC ) is excessive…possibly but again those choices are for the people on the board and not electricians to decide.

Jeff, not being confrontational, just curious. Where is this written?
And what if there is no state standard?

I do hear that from time to time. Meaning no building department, inspections, codes, etc. I wonder how this is done.


You draw the line at personal safety in my opinion when this happens. The NEC is only a minimum acceptance…BUT it is a basis for safety and any violation of that “Minimum” safety is worthy of write up regardless…and if the potential for hazard is higher then it gets written up regardless…

Remember the report is probably your BEST line of defense in a lawsuit…report what you believe and what you see. Even if their is no local municiple inspections…does not make it OK…all states have adopted some form of the NEC of the most part…while some local remote areas may not…the state still governs overall.

I agree that when one does not install a “life safety” device, even if the code does not require it yet, there are risks involved.

where is the written proof that arc fault circuit breakers have proven themselves???
The change proposed for the 2008 NEC is proposed by a manufacturer…HMMMMMMMM!!!

So until they show me written proof from a study performed by other than a manufacturer, I do not think that not installing an AFCI is such a risk.


 Can you prove MANY other things in the NEC that can cause a risk but are required by the NEC?

 Electricians are BOUND by our license to follow the minimum requirements of the NEC and in this case....AFCI's are required in the pretext of my example thus they should be and shall be used.

 Are you saying that GFCI's are not proven?.....they basically work on the same premise with some differences.......

 While I agree it is probably to make the Manufacturers more money BUT without saying "EVERY" board member on the NFPA Board is on the "TAKE" something was explained and shown to get us to this point. a long conversation with Mr. Mike Holt from one of the engineers of a AFCI even the "GREAT" one has changed sides to recommend the AFCI...

I am sure their is plenty of proof they WORK.........but like in the early days of the GFCI their were skeptics......

Look...I am a ACTIVE electrical I like the idea of every 120V 15A & 20A Branch Circuit being AFCI....not hardly........but their are POWERS that BE higher than me.......that have done the testing and believe they for me....the " Lowly" Electrician...I must comply........regardless of my feelings because NOTHING gets put onto the market without some sort of testing taking place.

OH…BTW…I just happen to be one of the guys who believe AFCI’s do work or atleast increase the ability to save lives much like GFCI’s have.

Now…it is also important to say that opinions are like A&&holes and everyone has one…BUT I happen to believe more and more lives will be saved from them and they do have stats that show deaths from house fires have decreased since the use of AFCI’s in 2002…could be a freak thing but it is good enough for me.

Again do I believe they should be on ALL of those circuits…probably not as I think the Bedrooms is where it should stop…but again we dont write those proposals…atleast not YET anyway but I am working on that…theheheh

Ahhh…it is NOT a risk in it’s nature…BUT suggesting it is a Safety Enhancement and thats the HI’s job. What is the basis for the Safety Enhancement…because the NEC and NFPA requires it on homes built after Jan 2002…so it is a change and safety enhancement that is worthy making comment on…if it happens to save (1) life it is worth the $ 44.00 investment in my eyes.

DO AFCI’s FAIL…YEP…just like GFCI’s can fail…would you say not having GFCI on a Kitchen counter is not a safety concern…? even IF the code is not retroactive…it is always evolving and it is NEVER wrong to suggest safety enhancements…NEVER

Here is an interested little thing on AFCI’s if anyone wants it

Paul, that is a lot to digest, but I will comment on a few things.

  1. I was going to say the same thing as Pierre. Where is the REAL testing? AFCI’s have, and ARE, being forced into use by manufacturers and lobbyists.

  2. Which electricians are bound to obey the NEC? Not me in residential work.
    The ONLY ones bound to obey it are the ones working in areas that have adopted it.

  3. By reporting more than is required by code or other than a blatant safety defect you are suggesting to a potential buyer that there is a problem that may not exist. Is this fair to the seller?
    Sometimes I think the seller is not even considered when an inspection is done for a buyer.
    I VERY often hear about issues reported that are NOT issues at all. Yet a potential buyer demands action before a contract is signed. Since…“it was in the inspector’s report”.

If this absurd notion to require AFCIs on all general branch circuits passes, which is seriously doubt (at least for 2008), I guarantee many areas will try and adopt the requirement to install them for service changes. That will raise the cost of a new service by $1000, not $44.

I don’t know of any state that does not follow a standard - UBC or IRC.

Most states will require adherence to state minimums, through their Health and Safety Code (State Law) for transfer or sale of single or multi-family dwelling structures.

You are speaking of WHAT IF’s…again the NEC is not retroactive…but they could attempt to do this…again will be a local AHJ issue as it is currently as you so noted…My belief is in the technology…not the boards " Notions" of what they apply to future NEC revisions…I just happen to believe AFCI’s save lives…and in fact I personally think all homes in the 60’s -90’s should have them upgraded to protect the bedrooms…thats MY opinion…why do I stop in the 60’s…not sure…heck I know plenty of homes older with poor wiring I would like to see AFCI’s added…but they are safety enhancements…not DEFECTS and should not be listed on a report as such…I never MADE that statement.

I’ll just reply to the part about #3.
I thinnk you took this out of context. Re-read what I wrote.

I said by reporting "more than is required by code or *other than a blatant safety defect".
Meaning that not having AFCIs is not a defect in many cases and not required by code in some cases.

I totally agree, suggesting “enhancements” or improvements is not a bad thing at all.
Problem is, many buyers take a HI’s word as gospel or required regardless of how it is written.

I do not question your methods, we just have differing opinions.


It comes down to how the HI does their report. I speak to ALOT of HI’s around the country as they call me all the time when on the job. Everyone has a different report but clearly stating safety enhancements in a different light than a " Defect" is something everyone should have in their report as it seperates the Defects from the Suggested Enhancements.

While many people take the HI’s word as gospel…I think it boils more down to how the HI provides the information.

I just happen to believe “safety enhancements” are things the HI should consider in their reports…I think what is possibly out of context is I am not saying “EVERY” enhancement should be listed…I like to only devote myself to the “Electrical” side of safety enhancements…and while the AFCI is a good one to debate on…I welcome any safety enhancement that can save a life…at a minimal cost…

Again we are NOT speaking to the Electrician here…but to HI’s on this specific issue…of suggesting AFCI’s in a 2003 built home…I most certainly would put them in as a “Safety Enhancement” in my report and I have absolutly NO fear of a lawsuit because of it…

However I don’t suggest it and little “Mindy” dies in her bedroom at night from a fire due a arc fault…where possibly an AFCI could have prevented it…a grief stricken family will sue EVERYONE that is related to anything about the home…and if I recommended it…it is not MY fault they did not take me up on my suggestion…

Again this applies to THIS specific question…and my personal preference…do I suggest AFCI’s on all homes…no…am I a hippocrate…maybe…been called worse…but in a home built 2003…I would suggest it…however in all my reports I have a disclaimer about AFCI’s and GFCI’s being added to enhance the safety…but again thats my choice…

BTW…Speedy and Pierre…these are my opinions…not trying to sway ANYONES personal opinion. I just don’t fear the AFCI Technology…I embrace it…again I am not paying for it and technology costs MONEY the end user is going to have to payup to get…

Joe T…Give your views on the AFCI debate…:slight_smile:

Actually guys…things like THIS ends up being SO valuable to the HI…just to be a FLY on the WALL !

Hello Paul and others who may be lurking on this thread

I understand your position, and I respect it, yet I do not agree with it. This statement does not mean that either of us is wrong or correct… we are both expressing our opinion.

There is no documented proof of Arc fault protection actually working yet. Maybe there will be one day. There is proof that they do not work as were originally proposed to the NEC code making panels.

I believe very much in life safety devices, such as GFCIs. I also believe in following CODES when they are required, even if I do not like them (Ground rods are something I do not believe work well, especially more than one, yet I inspect for them every day).

The proposal to increase the use of Arc fault protection does not have very good substantiation, and I do not believe it will get past the ROC portion of the 2008 cycle.

That being said, I do not believe a HI should mention thisif the house was wired before the requirement was in existance. As has been mentioned, this could become a “deal breaker” in the sale of the house.

Another point you made. The installation of these devices in an older home. That could become very costly for a homeowner as the installation of these in older homes will most likely generate a tremendous amount of other work for the electrician.