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  1. #1
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    Default bedrooms and afci protection

    Is there a definition of 'bedroom' somewhere? All I can find in the electrical code is that the afci must be present in all bedrooms.

    In particular, I'm wondering about these office/bedrooms that might have closets but are really not bedrooms. Are these supposed to be protected or is it a gray area between the AHJ and builder/designer?

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  2. #2
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: bedrooms and afci protection

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Is there a definition of 'bedroom' somewhere? All I can find in the electrical code is that the afci must be present in all bedrooms.

    In particular, I'm wondering about these office/bedrooms that might have closets but are really not bedrooms. Are these supposed to be protected or is it a gray area between the AHJ and builder/designer?
    Matt:

    In a word, no. I've heard all of the arguments from all sides, but still do not find a definition per se in the ICC or NEC literature.

    See:

    ICC Bulletin Board: Bedroom egress

    Aaron


  3. #3
    Richard Pultar's Avatar
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    Default Re: bedrooms and afci protection

    the tax record, the listing, the plans....all are the usual final answer for me .


  4. #4
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    Default Re: bedrooms and AFCI protection

    From the 2008 NEC. (Makes the need for that definition moot - underlining and bold are mine.)
    - 210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection.
    - - (B) Dwelling Units. 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, sunrooms, 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.

    From the 2005 NEC.
    - 210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection.
    - - (B) Dwelling Unit Bedrooms. All 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit bedrooms shall be protected by listed arc-fault circuit interrupter, combination type installed to provide protection of the branch circuit.
    - - Branch/feeder AFCIs shall be permitted to be used to meet the requirements of 210.12(B) until January 1, 2008.
    - - - (then lists some complicated exceptions which really do not change the AFCI protection requirement, just how the AFCI protection is provided)

    Now, though, to answer the question of 'what is a bedroom':
    - ARTICLE 100 Definitions
    - - Scope. This article contains only those definitions essential to the proper application of this Code. It is not intended to include commonly defined general terms or commonly defined technical terms from related codes and standards. In general, only those terms that are used in two or more articles are defined in Article 100. Other definitions are included in the article in which they are used but may be referenced in Article 100.
    - - Part I of this article contains definitions intended to apply wherever the terms are used throughout this Code. Part II contains definitions applicable only to the parts of articles specifically covering installations and equipment operating at over 600 volts, nominal.

    Okay ... so what is a "bedroom"?

    I think the most widely accepted definition of "bedroom" is: a room intended primarily for sleeping or a similar room with a closet which could be readily used primarily for sleeping

    I.e., one could call it an office, but if there is a closet in that room, and there is a privacy door to the room, the next occupant 'could readily' use that room primarily for sleeping, making that room a "bedroom".

    Meaning that a bedroom would then require: smoke detectors, EERO, AFIC protection.

    If you are under the 2008 NEC, the AFCI requirement would be there regardless what type of room it is, but then you would still need to consider smoke detectors and EERO.

    All that said, the AHJ can make up their own rules, but that does not stop a home inspector and their client from using "common sense".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: bedrooms and afci protection

    So after what Jerry said...if the structure was built by the 2008 NEC...doesn't matter...needs one!

    If built by the 2005 NEC..maybe!

    I am under the same scenario as Jerry.
    You can call it what you want but...If it has a closet....privacy door.....it's can be used as a bedroom...therefore AFCI's and smokes.


  6. #6
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: bedrooms and AFCI protection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    All that said, the AHJ can make up their own rules, but that does not stop a home inspector and their client from using "common sense".
    JP:

    So then there is no real definition for bedroom, as I said. True there are some common acceptances in the industry, but nothing that really puts this issue to rest. Why do you think that is?

    If we look at the sleeping room part of the equation, we have probably all fallen asleep in other rooms than bedrooms. (Some of the local inspectors here sleep through all of them). That aside, what if you have a 20' X 30' master suite closet (I've seen many of these) that also contains another closet, a small wet bar with refrigerator, a stack washer dryer unit and a 6' long bench. Is this a bedroom, laundry, kitchen, wet bar, or what? Best of luck with that.

    We also might picture someone going to sleep in their media room watching reruns of both of George W.'s inauguration ceremonies. This particular media room, like most I've seen, also has a closet. Is it a bedroom?

    You drink one too many bottles of Dom Perignon, stumble to the powder room and fall over passed out. The powder room has a closet and a window. The code says it is not a bathroom, but is it a bedroom?

    I could go on like this for a long time. OK, in new homes, IF you have access to the design firm's construction documents you can say what the intended function of the room is. Without those docs, it's open naming season. Anything goes.

    Why are the code authoring agencies afraid to just cut loose and define bedroom?

    Aaron


  7. #7
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    Default Re: bedrooms and AFCI protection

    Aaron,

    Among all that rambling (not to worry, I do it too) you lost the fact that I said "primarily for sleeping", with the emphasis on "primarily for sleeping".

    That is a lot different than falling asleep 'anywhere' in the home.

    Remember too (and I mentioned this in my post), if that room is "primarily for sleeping", you also need to be concerned with smoke detectors and EERO, not to mention 4% natural ventilation and 8% natural light.

    If you wanted to go by the dictionary's definition, that would be 'a room equipped with a bed and intended primarily for sleeping', but if you did that, none of the rooms would be a "bedroom" in a new house as none of the houses come 'equipped with a bed'.

    However, with the 2008 NEC, that discussion becomes a moot point.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: bedrooms and AFCI protection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    Among all that rambling (not to worry, I do it too)

    you lost the fact that I said "primarily for sleeping", with the emphasis on "primarily for sleeping".
    JP: No argument that you lean toward rambling now and then.

    That is a lot different than falling asleep 'anywhere' in the home. Where though does that leave an opera house? Jackie Mason called it a bedroom for rich Jews. I concur.

    Even if we go with the "primarily for sleeping" definition, it is not in the IRC or NEC. Why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    If you wanted to go by the dictionary's definition, that would be 'a room equipped with a bed and intended primarily for sleeping', but if you did that, none of the rooms would be a "bedroom" in a new house as none of the houses come 'equipped with a bed'.
    JP: I don't want to go with the dictionary's (which one by the way, there are hudnreds) defintion. I want a code authoring agenciy's definition. Not from you, but from them. And you are right, new house, no bed, no bedroom - unless it's on the plans.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    However, with the 2008 NEC, that discussion becomes a moot point.
    JP: As it pertains to AFCI locations the 2008 NEC is still more than vague regarding what goes where. "And similar areas" is a term that should be eliminated from an serious defintion of spaces.

    In the end, I still want these people to define "bedroom" once and for all. Is that too much to ask?

    Aaron


  9. #9
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    Default Re: bedrooms and AFCI protection

    Aaron,

    You want, you want, you want, ...

    This is what the NEC says about that.

    (underlining is mine)
    ARTICLE 100 Definitions
    - Scope. This article contains only those definitions essential to the proper application of this Code. It is not intended to include commonly defined general terms or commonly defined technical terms from related codes and standards. In general, only those terms that are used in two or more articles are defined in Article 100. Other definitions are included in the article in which they are used but may be referenced in Article 100.
    - Part I of this article contains definitions intended to apply wherever the terms are used throughout this Code. Part II contains definitions applicable only to the parts of articles specifically covering installations and equipment operating at over 600 volts, nominal.

    I.e., the NEC wants you to use common sense and common knowledge, after all, the NEC, like all codes are "minimum" standards.

    The IRC says something similar. (underlining is mine)

    - R201.4 Terms not defined. Where terms are not defined through the methods authorized by this section, such terms shall have ordinarily accepted meanings such as the context implies.


    Sorry old chap, you are not going to get it from a "minimum" standard such as a code.




    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: bedrooms and AFCI protection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Aaron,

    You want, you want, you want, ...

    This is what the NEC says about that.

    (underlining is mine)
    ARTICLE 100 Definitions
    - Scope. This article contains only those definitions essential to the proper application of this Code. It is not intended to include commonly defined general terms or commonly defined technical terms from related codes and standards. In general, only those terms that are used in two or more articles are defined in Article 100. Other definitions are included in the article in which they are used but may be referenced in Article 100.
    - Part I of this article contains definitions intended to apply wherever the terms are used throughout this Code. Part II contains definitions applicable only to the parts of articles specifically covering installations and equipment operating at over 600 volts, nominal.

    I.e., the NEC wants you to use common sense and common knowledge, after all, the NEC, like all codes are "minimum" standards.

    The IRC says something similar. (underlining is mine)

    - R201.4 Terms not defined. Where terms are not defined through the methods authorized by this section, such terms shall have ordinarily accepted meanings such as the context implies.


    Sorry old chap, you are not going to get it from a "minimum" standard such as a code.



    JP: And often, such as in the case of "bathroom", where terms are defined in the NEC, the definitions are counterintuitive. If someone visiting my house wishes to use my bathroom I do not commonly hesitate to direct them toward the powder room where they can wish for a meaningful definition in one hand and dump in the other to see which one fills first.

    Aaron


  11. #11
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    Default Re: bedrooms and AFCI protection

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: And often, such as in the case of "bathroom", where terms are defined in the NEC, the definitions are counterintuitive. If someone visiting my house wishes to use my bathroom I do not commonly hesitate to direct them toward the powder room where they can wish for a meaningful definition in one hand and dump in the other to see which one fills first.

    Aaron
    Aaron,

    You've lost me there.

    This is the NEC definition of Bathroom: "Bathroom. An area including a basin with one or more of the following: a toilet, a tub, or a shower."

    Not sure what is counterintuitive about that.

    To me, a "bathroom" would be a 'basin and a toilet, and one or more of the following" shower, tub, bidet, and other plumbing fixtures.

    The primary purpose of the "bathroom" is (to me) to have a toilet, and, with a toilet, one would be required to have a place to wash your hands for sanitary reasons, thus the basin would also be a basic necessity for a "bathroom"

    Now, with the existing definition, one could design "the bathroom" so as it was not, by definition, "a bathroom". I.e., one could have a separate "toilet room" (we see it done all the time now anyway, a separate "tub/shower room", and a separate "basin room", or, have a toilet/tub/shower room (not a "bathroom" be definition) and have a separate "basin area", which, in fact, is actually done many times.

    Think of the bathrooms between two bedrooms, frequently referred to as Jack and Jill bathroom in some areas, the tub/shower and toilet is in a separate room (with a door) from the basin area (usually two basins) which is accessed by two doors, one to each bedroom.

    By definition, is that actually a "bathroom"? It is only if you consider that the basin is a basic necessity for the toilet, which it is for sanitary reasons.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: bedrooms and AFCI protection

    The IRC, on the other hand makes the typical "powder room" NOT a bathroom by definition.

    To avoid a long post, I broke this up into two posts.

    (underlining is mine)

    - BATHROOM GROUP. A group of fixtures, including or excluding a bidet, consisting of a water closet, lavatory, and bathtub or shower. Such fixtures are located together on the same floor level.


    Did you catch that?

    "consisting of a water closet, lavatory, and bathtub or shower"

    It the power room does not have a bathtub or a shower, but only a water closet and a lavatory, then, by definition, *it is not a "bathroom" in the eyes of the IRC*.

    How does that play out on having "the code or some authoritative source" define what a bathroom is? Think what they could do to a bedroom?

    You really do not want to go there.



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: bedrooms and AFCI protection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Aaron,

    You've lost me there.

    This is the NEC definition of Bathroom: "Bathroom. An area including a basin with one or more of the following: a toilet, a tub, or a shower."

    Not sure what is counterintuitive about that.

    To me, a "bathroom" would be a 'basin and a toilet, and one or more of the following" shower, tub, bidet, and other plumbing fixtures.

    The primary purpose of the "bathroom" is (to me) to have a toilet, and, with a toilet, one would be required to have a place to wash your hands for sanitary reasons, thus the basin would also be a basic necessity for a "bathroom"

    Now, with the existing definition, one could design "the bathroom" so as it was not, by definition, "a bathroom". I.e., one could have a separate "toilet room" (we see it done all the time now anyway, a separate "tub/shower room", and a separate "basin room", or, have a toilet/tub/shower room (not a "bathroom" be definition) and have a separate "basin area", which, in fact, is actually done many times.

    Think of the bathrooms between two bedrooms, frequently referred to as Jack and Jill bathroom in some areas, the tub/shower and toilet is in a separate room (with a door) from the basin area (usually two basins) which is accessed by two doors, one to each bedroom.

    By definition, is that actually a "bathroom"? It is only if you consider that the basin is a basic necessity for the toilet, which it is for sanitary reasons.
    JP: Entirely my fault. I forgot to mention that my powder room consists of a lavatory area separated from the adjacent foyer by a door. It is also separated from a water closet compartment by another door. So, as far as the NEC is concerned, I cannot tell my guests to go there to use the "bathroom".

    But now, let's go back to the bedroom needs a bed scenario. Then a bathroom needs a bath? So then, no bathtub, not bathroom?

    Back yet further to the example I made regarding Dom Perignon. If I fall asleep on the floor in front of the lavatory in my powder room, which also happens to handily have a closet, albeit it a water closet compartment, then is this a bedroom?

    I can't even go where the Jack and Jill example would take me. A man can only stand just so much!

    Aaron


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