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.
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.
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