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  1. #1
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    Default Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    I looked at a 1.5 year old house yesterday in which the service panel was labeled as having the smoke detectors wired to an AFCI breaker for a 2nd floor bedroom (no double tapping at breaker, just labeled as being controlled by an AFCI protected bedroom circuit).

    Is this configuration allowable or improper?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    The folks at NEC have decided that smoke detectors installed in a bedroom (all bedrooms) should be on an arc-fault protected cicuit.

    Having said that, not all code jurisdictions currently see fit to enforce the presence of arc fault protection on hardwired smoke detector circuits (which are required in all bedrooms by NFPA 72).

    To find out what is and what is not "acceptable" in your area, you need to find out what the position of the local code authority is on the subject. If the dwelling in question is outside of a specific code authority, then find out what the position of the code authority is in the county/parish seat.


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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    ALL bedroom receptacle outlets SHOULD BE on arc-fault protected circuits, and this includes smoke detectors.

    With modern battery backup smoke detectors, it is best to protect the circuit least it *causes* the fire it then tries to warn the occupants about.

    That said, as Phillip said, some AHJ have opted out, just like they initially opted out of requiring GFCI protection back 35 years ago. Some people are just resistant to change, even when for the better.

    We see that every day when we are told 'I've been doing it this way for 30 years ... ', how often do you hear that from plumbers, roofers, electricians, etc.? All the time, right?

    Remember my post on another thread about (bold and underlining are mine) "R104.1 General. The building official is hereby authorized and directed to enforce the provisions of this code." Then it goes on saying they cannot make interpretations which go against the code, etc.

    As much as they say 'what I say goes' is only true to the extent that other let them get away with not enforcing the code - the code itself does not give them ultimate authority to do as they please.


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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Thanks guys.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    The "code", any code, is only as good as the local AHJ. Around here, code enforcement ranges from nil to adaptation of the latest. I've simplified things by merely reporting what is "best practice" or "most modern standards", and refer the client to the local codies to answer their questions....unless I know for sure exactly what is on the books locally. But always recommend that upgrading.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Jerry,
    Should that not be "all outlets" in the bedroom?


  7. #7
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    All outlets include lights, 15&20A 120v receptacles & smoke detectors.

    So if you have a 240vac receptacle for a window A/C then it does not have to be AFCI protected.

    Here is the debate. What about an approved closet light?

    Is the closet considered "bedroom"?


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    The closet is not part of the bedroom by websters definition of bedroom. The problem is whether residential smoke detectors are a fire alarm system as covered by article 760, if so then they would could be omitted from the AFCI if installed to the 210.12(B) exception 2. The jury is still out on this one. But wit NM cable it is required to be AFCI protectec.

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Nick,

    I think your question was, can smoke detectors be on the same ARC fault protected circiuit as the bedroom outlets? Yes, although many electricians put smoke dectectors on their own arc fault circuit,


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Spermo View Post
    Nick,

    I think your question was, can smoke detectors be on the same ARC fault protected circiuit as the bedroom outlets? Yes, although many electricians put smoke dectectors on their own arc fault circuit,

    I have not known an electrician to put any smoke detectors on their own arc fault circuit.

    I have yet to see any electrician do the whole house thing where if it is not GFCI it has to be arc fault.

    I think you will find it to be some long period of time before it is accepted practice in all municipalities.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 01-19-2009 at 06:55 AM.
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post
    The closet is not part of the bedroom by websters definition of bedroom. The problem is whether residential smoke detectors are a fire alarm system as covered by article 760, if so then they would could be omitted from the AFCI if installed to the 210.12(B) exception 2. The jury is still out on this one. But wit NM cable it is required to be AFCI protectec.
    Typical residential smoke alarms are not part of a fire alarm system and are not covered by Article 760.

    From the FPN in 760.1: Fire alarm systems include fire detection and alarm notification, guards tour, sprinkler waterflow, and sprinkler supervisory systems. Circuits controlled and power by the fire alarm system include circuits for the control of building systems safety functions, elevator capture, elevator shutdown, door release, smoke doors and damper control and fan shutdown, but only when these circuits are powered by and controlled by the fire alarm system.

    Delaware is one jurisdiction that requires a dedicated circuit for the smoke alarms.


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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Ted,

    The last five new houses that I have conducted phase inspections on have had the smoke alarms on their own circuit. Of course these houses are all over $1million and and they are built by a soild builder with excellent subs. The last 3 houses I built had a separate smoke alarm circuit. I am certain there are pros and cons about whether they should have their own circuit or not.

    I talked to TRCC last week about phase inspections and they told me to hold the builder to the nearest county seat adopted rules or the state of Texas adopted rules of the 1999 NEC. I talked to TDLR and they told me the electricians will be held by them to the NEC 2008. I asked them both why couldn't they agree and the phone went dead. Bottom line from TRCC is use their rules when doing phase inspections. Have you heard anything different?


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Wow! I started this thread 1.5 years ago and it suddenly gets new life.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Spermo View Post
    Ted,

    The last five new houses that I have conducted phase inspections on have had the smoke alarms on their own circuit. Of course these houses are all over $1million and and they are built by a soild builder with excellent subs. The last 3 houses I built had a separate smoke alarm circuit. I am certain there are pros and cons about whether they should have their own circuit or not.

    I talked to TRCC last week about phase inspections and they told me to hold the builder to the nearest county seat adopted rules or the state of Texas adopted rules of the 1999 NEC. I talked to TDLR and they told me the electricians will be held by them to the NEC 2008. I asked them both why couldn't they agree and the phone went dead. Bottom line from TRCC is use their rules when doing phase inspections. Have you heard anything different?
    I was talking arc fault breakers protecting the whole house other than where there were GFCI

    As far as detectors on their own circuiy, yes, I have seen that most of the time on newer homes. As far as being on their own arc fault circuit, no.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce m graham III View Post
    Jerry,
    Should that not be "all outlets" in the bedroom?
    Yes, but I made two mistakes in that sentence and two negatives ("-" minuses) "-" "-" equals a positive.

    I did say "receptacle outlets", but ... ... I also said "and this includes smoke detectors".

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    ALL bedroom receptacle outlets SHOULD BE on arc-fault protected circuits, and this includes smoke detectors.
    Cool with that?

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    A closet is part of the bedroom, it is accessible only through the bedroom and is simply a walled off area of the bedroom in which the clothes are hidden from view.



    Works for me and works for many AHJ.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Bedroom--A room furnished and used for sleeping. Jerry- do you sleep in your closet??

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post

    Bedroom--A room furnished and used for sleeping. Jerry- do you sleep in your closet??
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Roland,

    My BEDROOM closet is in my BEDROOM and is therefore part of my BEDROOM, which is, after all, why it is called a BEDROOM closet.

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  20. #20
    Jim Port's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    The 2008 has cleared this up and now requires AFCI protection for closets along with other areas that meet the expanded AFCI coverage requirements. 210.12(B).


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    And under Jerry's definition of "bedroom" closet, the wall space would fall under the receptacle spacing requirement.

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

  22. #22
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Miller View Post
    And under Jerry's definition of "bedroom" closet, the wall space would fall under the receptacle spacing requirement.

    Roland,

    Read the post above yours for the code's intent, not my intent, but the code's intent.

    The closet 'was intended to be' included, and now is.

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    By the way, Rick, Aaron, Nolan, is Phillip still around? Haven't seen any of his posts in a very long time.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Jerry, I know. You are still orbiting and I went off on a tangent. Faster horse--I am telling you it will solve a lot of problems..

    "Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. " Robert E. Lee

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    By the way, Rick, Aaron, Nolan, is Phillip still around? Haven't seen any of his posts in a very long time.
    JP - Not sure. I think I saw his website on a recent scan I did for several HIs. He is down in the Houston area. I'll put some messages to some HI contacts I have down there to see if he is about.

    He used to be on the TREC IC (Inspector's Committee) and once some changes came about there with that entity he probably just focused on local HI work.

    Donald Lawson (HI from Conroe, TX ... near Houston) has left the industry and moved back to Oklahoma as well.

    Cheers - Nolan E. Kienitz
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  26. #26
    Mike Peterson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    When the code refers to outlets it means all openings. This includes lights (fans) , recpts, and smoke detectors. No exceptions. I have talked with some inspectors that have said they don't worry about AFI because they have been told in the past by inspectors (electrical) not to worry about it because that state had not adopted the new code. I feel like if it is the National Electrical or Fire Code it should be listed in our report.

    Mike


  27. #27
    Mike Peterson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    When the code refers to outlets it means all openings. This includes lights (fans) , recpts, and smoke detectors. No exceptions. I have talked with some inspectors that have said they don't worry about AFI because they have been told in the past by inspectors (electrical) not to worry about it because that state had not adopted the new code. I feel like if it is the National Electrical or Fire Code it should be listed in our report.

    Mike


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Smoke Detectors on AFCI Bedroom Circuit

    Sorry about the double post

    Mike


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