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  1. #1
    christian wilson's Avatar
    christian wilson Guest

    Default Home Owner: Do I need an AFCI breaker?

    Hello

    This is my first post, so please excuse my ignorance. I am a home owner who is trying to finish his basement. I live in MN and my house was built in 2003. My question is about the need for AFCI breakers. I have passed my electrical rough-in and am trying to prepare for the final. I have run 14-3 wire in my family room with the plan to have a multi wire branch circuit. I have been reading forums and such, and it looks like NEC requires AFCI protection now. Do I need to adhere to this rule since I am just finishing my basement? It looks like this rule was for new construction only. My panel is square D, and they don't make a double pole AFCI breaker that I can find. I actually found a release from square D stating it doesn't even look like they think multi wire branch circuits are a good idea. Please help. The NEC code is hard for me to decipher. Thanks!

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Columbus GA
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    Default Re: Home Owner: Do I need an AFCI breaker?

    Your basement may have been built in 2003 but the wiring your are adding is new construction.
    If the building inspection dept in your area requires AFCI then you must have AFCI.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Morris, Illinois
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    Default Re: Home Owner: Do I need an AFCI breaker?

    Christian,
    Deciphering any code can be difficult. More importantly it can be very dangerous to not do it correctly, even before your inspection! Some people want to do their own installations, understandable. Learning is a good thing but at what expense? You don't know, what you don't know. Doing any part of a finished basement is challenging to say the least. Carpenters, plumbers, electricians, HVAC, etc. contractors have extensive training and a long apprenticeship under watchful eyes before they are considered competent enough to do a job correctly. Hire a licensed electrician. Learn a few things by seeing what they do. You will still not be able to do electrical work start to finish on your own, but it is a start. Don't electrocute yourself or a family member!

    Jess
    www.aplusinspector.com
    (815) 941-2345

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
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    Default Re: Home Owner: Do I need an AFCI breaker?

    Rick nailed it... it all depends on your AHJ. The NEC specifies AFCI on all 120V circuits as of 08. Some areas (like Oregon where I am) didn't adopt it. We still just have the 2003 spec of bedrooms.

    In any case it's not difficult... just a bit expensive. The breakers are about $40 for an AFCI breaker instead of $5 for a regular one. For the actual wiring there's really no difference except how you attach the neutral in the panel.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Lake Barrington, IL
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    Default Re: Home Owner: Do I need an AFCI breaker?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jess Alvarez View Post
    Carpenters, plumbers, electricians, HVAC, etc. contractors have extensive training and a long apprenticeship under watchful eyes before they are considered competent enough to do a job correctly.
    In Illinois that would be considered a vicious rumor.
    As inspectors, Jess and I only can dream of such a utopia.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  6. #6
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    Nov 2009
    Location
    St Paul, MN
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    Default Re: Home Owner: Do I need an AFCI breaker?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jess Alvarez View Post
    Carpenters, plumbers, electricians, HVAC, etc. contractors have extensive training and a long apprenticeship under watchful eyes before they are considered competent enough to do a job correctly.
    At least that's the way it's supposed to work. lol

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
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    Default Re: Home Owner: Do I need an AFCI breaker?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Rick nailed it... it all depends on your AHJ. The NEC specifies AFCI on all 120V circuits as of 08. Some areas (like Oregon where I am) didn't adopt it. We still just have the 2003 spec of bedrooms.

    In any case it's not difficult... just a bit expensive. The breakers are about $40 for an AFCI breaker instead of $5 for a regular one. For the actual wiring there's really no difference except how you attach the neutral in the panel.
    Where I live, work inside an electrical panel is not permitted unless you are a licensed electrician. So installing the breaker becomes a job for an electrical contractor.

    Matt, does the state where citizens are not allowed to pump gas have a similar rule?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

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