Stacking AFCI Breakers

I just had an electrician friend of mine call me. He was contacted by a realtor because an Inspector had called out what he determined to be an unsafe condition that was a “fire hazard” because 2 AFCI breakers were stacked on top of one another. Anyone have information or opinion on that call?

I see that all the time. What did your electrician friend say?

He said there was no regulation against it but asked me to check with the inspection community for any possible explanation this was called out.

When AFCI first came out, some had issues with heat. That was 2002. 13 years later it is no longer and issue.


Nothing will cause an inspector to lose their credibility faster than making up “hazards” that don’t exist.

It would be quite a trick wire a new panel to comply with the 2014 NEC AFCI requirement and and not have two devices next to one another.

Yes sir!

New construction will have 10+ AFCI breakers “stacked” on both sides.

Lately, I’ve been seeing MWBC AFCI breakers. Factory-made two-pole AFCI breakers on a single neutral…

Not a concern.

Paul, was there a time (older panels) when the panel manufacturer had the restriction (and labeled in the panel as such)?

Hello Jeffrey,

I am honestly unable to answer that question with any degree of accuracy since I have never seen it or asked the manufacturers about it. I have been installing AFCI’s since their inception and have never seen any document, sticker or notice about stacking issues.

I just do not believe the mutual heating effect that could result from the stacking of devices (both AFCI or GFCI) would reach a level that it would be a problem. But that is the best i can with certainty answer your question…No, I have never seen such a label within an panel enclosure and my stint with NEMA did not reveal such information.

Best I can offer my friend.

Thank you. I appreciate the honest reply (as expected).