To AFCI or Not

Merry Christmas

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
In the next month or two I'm going to replace the service in my house and given the choice should I install AFCI breakers on the circuits that now require them as if it were a new installation? I'm leaning towards not installing them due to the large extra cost involved but feel that they might be good for resale down the road.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
House is 23 years old and there are no MWBC's. I know that many HI's flag the lack of AFCI's on inspections reports so that would be one reason why I might consider installing them now. Last thing I want to do is rewire a bunch of circuit breakers when selling the house to appease a potential buyer. But on the other hand I'm still on the fence about the usefulness of AFCI protection and I am wondering if the extra cost is worth it. :unsure:
 

augie47

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Staff member
Location
Tennessee
Occupation
State Electrical Inspector (Retired)
When they were first introduced one of the selling points was protection from frayed cords in contact with bedding or bedroom furniture hence the original requirement for bedrooms. Given the choice, I would likely install them on my bedroom circuits but only those.
 

wwhitney

Senior Member
Location
Berkeley, CA
Occupation
Retired
The answer may depend on whether the brand of AFCI you are considering includes GFPE or the like. As I think the argument for GFPE is stronger than the argument for AFCI ex GFPE.

Cheers, Wayne
 
Are insurance companies offering a rate reduction for AFCI's? Probably not.

I am in the not installing them camp. Like K8 said, I like the idea of putting off installing them so you will get more updated versions which might work better and have less issues
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Retired Electrical Contractor
I doubt afci will increase the cost or make your house more sellable. That doesn't mean you shouldn't use them but since I wired my home and it is such an incredible wiring job I would not add afci's....hahaha
 

suemarkp

Senior Member
Location
Kent, WA
Occupation
Retired Engineer
I just did a panel change at my house and put AFCIs where required except for two places. I had one multiwire branch citcuit and wasnt spending the money for that one. I had another that trips instantly, so need to track down where N and G are touching.

If you change out a receptacle, you need to add AFCI protection. That is difficult to enforce, but it is code. Id rather havi it as a breaker and not some receptacle solution.

Finally, my house wiring has been touched by many different people with terrible workmanship (cable clamps arent needed on metal can lights...) I thought AFCIs might be a good idea. It was pricy though as i needed 20 of them.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
I doubt afci will increase the cost or make your house more sellable. That doesn't mean you shouldn't use them but since I wired my home and it is such an incredible wiring job I would not add afci's....hahaha
There is a sizable cost difference between 10 or 12 single pole CB's and 10 or 12 AFCI CB's. Thing is that from an old job I already have all of the non-AFCI CB's that I would need to do the change so if I do choose to use AFCI's I would be buying the AFCI's.
 

Little Bill

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Staff member
Location
Tennessee NEC:2017
Occupation
Electrician
I'd take my chances on a HI not seeing them. Plus, they weren't required 23 years ago. They don't have to know you changed the service and panel.
 

DrSparks

The Everlasting Know-it-all!
Location
Madison, WI, USA
Occupation
Master Electrician and General Contractor
In the next month or two I'm going to replace the service in my house and given the choice should I install AFCI breakers on the circuits that now require them as if it were a new installation? I'm leaning towards not installing them due to the large extra cost involved but feel that they might be good for resale down the road.
I get aways with service upgrades without upgrading AFCI breakers. I think maybe twice I was compelled to do it and so what, go and buy some breakers. Low risk.

Sent from my BE2028 using Tapatalk
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
Around here they are not required for a service change so it's a matter of personal choice as to whether or not I should use them. Given that so many here on the forum seem to doubt their usefulness I'm leaning towards keeping the extra $500 in my pocket. :unsure:
 

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
If it's not NEC required then I wouldn't, just on the extra cost alone.
If you want to experiment with them to see how they function on certain circuits then go for it.
Also if not required and you intend to do one or two for the experimental purposes, do so after the inspection. Otherwise you'll be left with "as inspected" situation and removal if you don't like how they behave and an incident occurs that officials would deem electrical in nature they will look at the inspection report indicating AFCI presence, a conclusion that a safety device had been removed and would complicate claim payment. Just saying.
 
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