Do you recommend AFCI breakers?

If the home doesn’t have AFCI protection, do you recommend it?

I will explain what they are and have them consider if they so chose, especially old wiring.

An arc fault circuitinterrupter (AFCI) is a circuitbreaker that breaks the circuit when it detects an electricarc in the circuit it protects to prevent electrical fires.
An AFCI selectively distinguishes between aharmless arc (incidental to normal operation of switches, plugs, and brushedmotors), and a potentially dangerous arc
(that can occur, for example, ina lamp cord which has a broken conductor).
AFCI breakers have been requiredfor circuits feeding electrical outlets in residential bedrooms by theelectrical codes of Canada and the UnitedStates
since the beginning of the 21st century; theU.S. National Electrical Code has requiredthem to protect most residential outlets since 2014,[1]](
and the Canadian Electrical Code has since2015.[2]](
Arc faults are one of the leadingcauses for residential electrical fires.[3]](
Each year in the United States,over 40,000 fires are attributed to home electrical wiring.
These fires result in over 350deaths and over 1,400 injuries each year.[4]](
Conventional circuit breakersonly respond to overloads and shortcircuits, so they do not protect against arcing conditions that produceerratic, and often reduced current.
An AFCI is selective so that normal arcs donot cause it to trip.
The AFCI circuitry continuously monitors thecurrent and discriminates between normal and unwanted arcing conditions.
Once detected, the AFCI opens itsinternal contacts, thus de-energizing the circuit and reducing the potentialfor a fire to occur.[5]](

AFCI circuit breakers have been an NEC® requirement since 1999. Each year the National Fire Protection Association indicates there are more than 45,000 electrical house fires in the U.S. These fires result in over 350 deaths and over 1,400 injuries each year.
As of January 2008, only “combination type” AFCIs meet the NEC requirement. The 2008 NEC requires the installation of combination-type AFCIs in all 15 and 20 ampere residential circuits with the exception of laundries, kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and unfinished basements, though many of these require GFCI protection.
Many homes in San Diego, built prior to 2008, have what is known as a “branch circuit” type AFCI breaker. These are no longer an acceptable form of AFCI protection. These breakers are recognized by their blue test button, and should be replaced by a licensed electrician.
The 2014 NEC adds kitchens and laundry rooms to the list of rooms requiring AFCI circuitry, as well as any devices (such as lighting) requiring protection.

Some (lots?) of older panels don’t have AFCI breakers that fit them, such as FPE, so installing even one AFCI might require a new panel and all new breakers. Alberta changed the code for 2017 so that all outlets now must have them, as per the NEC requirements above.
One AFCI breaker is 80 bucks so replacing is a big expense. So far I have kept quiet about recommending, I will not be replacing my own old panels and all the breakers unless I have to. The electrical fires that I personally know about were caused by faulty appliances, not wiring, most of the fires in Edmonton are caused by careless disposal of cigarette butts, I am not convinced of the real world benefit of AFCIs. Was the Code change mostly the result of lobbying by insurance co’s and electrical manufacturers? :frowning:

Well said I to feel the same and will not be changing my 30 year old Canadian FP panel .

[quote=“frotte, post:1, topic:122151”]

If the home doesn’t have AFCI protection, do you recommend it?


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AFCI Receptacles

Too simple :slight_smile:

They aren’t even part of the code anymore here in Michigan.

I’m not a code inspector. If a system looks to be competently installed and there are no material defects observed, I move on. I have heard first hand about the latest AFCI requirements and all the nuisance tripping for ‘as - yet undetermined’ reasons. I see no need to recommend updating to the latest, greatest code requirements.

At the risk of sounding hypocritical, I DO recommend that they “consider” updating to GFCI’s within 6 feet of a sink or water source, outside outlets, garages and unfinished basements with bare concrete floors.

I don’t test AFCI or GFCI breakers in the panel. I don’t know what’s running on them and I don’t want to crash someone’s computer or turn off Granma’s iron lung …

No, I don’t.

As far as I understand the purpose of an AFCI, a receptacle would not help if the arc was in the wiring to the receptacle, correct me if I am wrong.

I don’t call them out but…

During any future upgrading of the electrical system or for added safety, we recommend installing GFCI and AFCI outlets in all appropriate areas to further reduce shock and/or short hazards.

Nether do I.

At that point the code would require them. Same as when replacing a receptacle.

LOL…if you mention them you will get BANNED on other websites…LOLOLOLOL

I don’t. I find that even with a full explanation, many people don’t know how to parse the risk-benefit equation, and just assume that without AFCI breakers their system is not safe.

Hi. I’m a homeowner that knows basic wiring. Not an inspector but have seen some shoddy electrical by electricians.

Sorry to revive an old thread. But I have an old box and was wondering if afci works like gfci down the line. If so. Could I add an afci outlet next to the box to protect the wiring from arc faults?

The main reason I’m interested in the protection is that the lights are all on old wiring from the 60s right before the ground wire requirement. I’m looking for a workaround other than a rewire.