The future is now, Dual function AFCI/GFCI Breakers.

Home Inspector with NCW Home Inspections, LLC

The future is now, Dual function AFCI/GFCI Breakers.        East Wenatchee Home Inspections


Depending on what electrical code cycle you are in you will most likely start to see the new dual function Arc Fault/Ground Fault breakers (AFCI/GFCI). The only ones I have seen so far are by Square D (They are designated with a purple test button). The other major manufacturers are not far behind and will have thier products readily available soon.


So on recent home inspections of new homes I saw my first panels with the new Dual function breakers installed.

AFCI/GFCI breaker

Where these come in handy is that per the 2014  National Electrical Code there are several areas in the home that now need to be both AFCI and GFCI protected. The easiest way in many of these cases is to have a dual function AFCI/GFCI breaker installed to provide the required protection.


AFCI protection has now expanded to the Kitchen and Laundry areas and in both of these areas there is a requirement for GFCI protection.

AFCI/GFCI protected circuits


You could provide this protection in other ways but having one device that does it all is pretty easy. I did notice that a couple of these circuits were not required to have both the AFCI and GFCI’s but the electrical contractor choose to use them here (Circuit numbers 16 and 15).

Here is the code for AFCI requirements (Bold and Underline are mine to show that kitchens and Laundry areas now require AFCI protection)


2014 NEC 210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection


Arc-fault circuit-interrupter protection shall be provided as required in 210.12(A) (B), and (C). The arc-fault circuit interrupter shall be installed in a readily accessible location.

(A) Dwelling Units.


All 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets or devices installed in dwelling unit kitchens, family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, laundry areas, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected by any of the means described in 210.12(A)(1) through (6).

This will add some additional time to inspection to verify that the proper circuits have been protected but this will be the new landscape we will have to deal with.


A little history of AFCI’s. By code this is the adoption cycle-


1999 NEC, Section 210.12  dwelling unit bedrooms have AFCIs installed to protect all branch circuits that supply 125-volt, single-phase, 15 and 20-ampere receptacle outlets installed in the dwelling unit bedrooms.


2002 NEC, 210.12  expanded the AFCI protection to all bedroom outlets (lighting, receptacle, smoke alarm, etc.).


2005 NEC 210.12 expanded the AFCI requirement for a technology upgrade to the combination AFCI. The earlier version was a Branch Feeder type and detected parallel arcing, this now adopted combination AFCI would also detect series arcing, and at lower current levels. The code allowed for the use of Branch Feeder type till January 1st 2008.


2008 NEC 210.12  (expanded to many more areas in the home) All 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sun rooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter, combination-type, installed to provide protection of the branch circuit.


“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”

Peter Drucker


NCW Home Inspections, LLC  is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  


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Show All Comments
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

I'm just amazed that I can actually read the names on that illustration of the panel box.

Jan 18, 2015 12:20 AM #1
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thanks for sharing your experience and your photographs.

Have a great day and an outstanding week.

Jan 18, 2015 01:10 AM #2
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

I haven't seen any of these yet Don, but now that I think about it... the refrigerator? Yes, most of them have water and ice in them as well as electricity. Wait, the house has water in it... let's protect the main too! It's coming...

Jan 18, 2015 01:58 AM #3
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Donald Hester Thanks for this super informative blog post on these new combination breaker devices. Great Info!

Jan 18, 2015 02:25 AM #4
Michael Dagner
Brokers Guild Classic - Denver, CO
Your Denver Homes Realty Expert

Donald, haven't seen any of these in the field yet, but when I do, I will remember I heard it first here.

Jan 18, 2015 02:20 PM #5
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Lenn, That is so true.

Roy, Thank you.

Fred, Yeah the fridge receptacle does not GFCI unless it is within 6 feet of the sink, but I am sure that will be coming soon.

Norm, Thanks for stopping by.

Micheal, yeah we are going to see these devices more and more.

Jan 18, 2015 10:50 PM #6
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Donald, no wonder that you teach classes, you are always right there giving us the scoop on what is new OR old! I can tell these are your areas of passion. I attend all of my inspections and I'll see if this comes up. Not many new homes out in these parts!


Jan 22, 2015 09:45 AM #7
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Good morning Donald. Have heard this was coming, but haven't seen one set up until your post. Not sure why it is necessary, but suppose it doesn't matter.

Jan 23, 2015 12:40 AM #8
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Amazing. Where does it stop. Now we have required dual protection. 

Jan 24, 2015 08:30 PM #9
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905 Thank You


Joe, This has been coming for a while. AFCI's will be the norm.


Jim, Yep, At least here this will be the new landscape.

Jan 28, 2015 07:48 AM #10
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Sorry I missed this one Don!  I think the future holds a big purple button on the roof.


Jan 29, 2015 09:11 AM #11
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

 Good morning Donald. I have not seen any of these installed in our area yet. I can imagine it will only be a matter of time.

Jan 29, 2015 09:15 AM #12
John Helmick
John Helmick Success & Ohio Property Inspection Services - Dayton, OH
Realtor Personal Growth/Success Coach

We inspected some brand new builds here recently that had them.  Really rare though.

Feb 17, 2015 10:30 AM #13
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jay, LOL

Michael, This will be coming to neighborhood by you ;)


John, Yeah I am just starting to see them show up also.

Feb 21, 2015 01:28 AM #14
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Donald Hester

NCW Home Inspections, LLC
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