I haven't wired a new house in quiet a while, haven't done a complete rewire in quiet a while either, so I'm a little rusty on the newest code requirements concerning AFCI's.
I understand that according to the code AFCI's have to be located in bedrooms,living room, recreation rooms, dining rooms, and other habitable rooms. I THINK I understand according to one of my inspectors, that the refrigerator SHOULD NOT be on a GFCI or a AFCI circuit.
So the only way I see is to run the refrigerator on a circuit by itself? And I guess it's still allowable to run a dedicated 15 amp circuit to the refrigerator.
Question # 2 The circuits that have an outside receptacle coming off of an AFCI circuit; Is there a combination AFCI breaker that is allowable on circuits like this, or do I have to use a GFI receptacle also?
Question #3 If I have a circuit going to the kitchen receptacles and bring the homerun to an outlet that is not required to be GFI protected first, then go to the counter receptacles that do, can I use a combination AFCI breaker on this circuit also, or do I have to use GFI and AFCI on the same circuit?
Any other "tricks" of the trade that is allowable to cut down on AFCI's ?? Thanks for the info. I just learned from one of our inspectors that the 2011 Code is going to go back to just bedrooms having to be protected:( Seems like a waste to me, but then I acknowlege that they( the ones who make the rules) are human too. With so many minds together, you would think they could "think it out" better before making a final decision. Maybe I'm wrong Thanks for the input.. Steve
#1 If you use GFI receptacles instead of a GFI breaker, make the fridge receptacle the first one in the circuit. If you're doing more than a code minimum job, then you could make the fridge receptacle a separate circuit.
#2 I'm thinking you'll need a separate GFI receptacle. The AFCI has 30 ma of ground fault protection (way too high for people) and I don't see how it could be both 4 to 6 ma and 30 ma.
#3 Kitchen receptacles are not required to be AFCI protected. Receptacles serving counter top loads require GFI protection & the 30 ma provided by an AFCI is way too high.
To cut down on the number of AFCI's, install the minimum number of circuits to the areas that require the protection. The number of required general purpose lighting circuits (these serve receptacles too) are based on square footage, 600 sf for a 15 amp circuit and 800 sf for a 20 amp circuit. Be sure to check with your AHJ about this, some areas have more stringent requirements about the number of outlets on a circuit. Most small to medium size houses should be able to get by with 3 to 6 AFCI's, but you'll have to do a minimum circuit installation.
The 2011 NEC has not been voted on yet. I believe you have until October 23rd to make comments about the proposed changes.
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
Opinions are like fingers, and I'm going to offer you a handfull right now.
My first point is to forget 'code rules' or 'saving money' as your primary consideration. Rather, let 'good design' guide you. Doing so willhelp you avoid any code quagmires, and any changes you might have to make will be easier to make.
The short form of the 2011 is that if it doesn't have to be on a GFCI, it ought to be on an AFCI. Yes, there are exceptions - you can argue for the fridge and the stairway receptacles as examples - but, for all practical matters, that's the situation. You're not going to be running a dedicated circuit for the bath fan just to keep it off an AFCI, are you?
There are other major changes in the 2011 code, that will directly affect the way you wire a house. The effect is that it strongly discourages the use of either 'skinny' breakers, or shared neutrals.
In the past, it was common for one circuit to serve receptacles on both sides of a common wall. I suggest that you plan to use more wire, and have circuits organized by rooms, rather than walls.
With the increased number of circuits in today's homes, I suggest you plan on several sub-panels. One for each floor, the kitchen, and the mechanicals is a good way to start. The 'required' circuits have a way of really adding up.
According to the 'experts,' there is no reason not to add a GFI receptacle to an AFCI-protected circuit. I am not aware of any breaker that provided both protections.
Lighting circuits have become quite complex, with sundry dimmers, timers, motion sensors, electronic ballasts, and who can guess what else. I reccomend breaking the lighting circuits up - again - by area, and not having very many fixtures and devices on each one. Complaints of AFCI problems seem to turn up most common on these circuits, and they're the devil to troubleshoot.
Another suggestion is to wire the lights with 12/2, and the smoke alarms with 14/3. This will help keep you from hanging a light on the smoke circuit, and vise-versa. Bring your neutrals into the switch boxes, rather than splitting out a 'switch leg' from one of the ceiling cans - again, think 'troubleshooting.'
I think I would run the fridge off one of the SA circuits ahead of the GFCI. They really do not pull that much current these days. I have the one outside in the tiki bar on a Kilowatt meter for over a month. (side by side with ice and water in the door) I am really surprised how small the load really is.
I suppose with some planning you could put every outlet that is not required to be AFCI or GFCI on one circuit. There really aren't that many. (if it was my house I would also sneak the smokes on that circuit but that would be wrong ) I have heard stories about the mythical AFCI/GFCI (Cutler Hammer) but it will just be an AFCI with 5ma GF protection, instead of 30, nothing magical.
You are right, if a kitchen receptacle is not serving the counter top it doesn't have to be AFCI or GFCI. There are usually just not many of them. Most kitchens maximize wall space with cabinets. I suppose you could have receptacles in the toe kicks or low enough in the cabinet face so as not to qualify as serving the counter. Of course you always have the dining room, breakfast nook and pantry walls.
I've noticed that a dining room is one of the areas requiring AFCI protection. Since the receptacles in the dining room are required to be on a small appliance branch circuit, these receptacles will need to be on a 20 amp AFCI protected circuit.
Looks to me, if someone wants to go really cheap, they could install an AFCI small appliance circuit for the dining receptacles and a non-AFCI circuit for the kitchen, pantry, etc.
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
You are right Tom, they did pick up "dining room" in the AFCI requirements. I can see the argument now. Is that a dining room or a breakfast room? Is it a pantry or a closet? This code churn is really posing more questions than it answers.
It's not the Code causing the problems, it's the 'barracks lawyers' who try to get around various Code requirements by using creative names for things.
At O'Hare airport, one of the terminals consists almost entirely of glass walls and exposed steel. Per Chicago's Building Code, all structural steel must be fireproofed; but the designers didn't want to have to put that 'ugly fuzzy stuff' on their steel, so they got creative. They simply started calling the structural steel around the perimeter of the building "window frames" and pointed out that there was no requirement to provide fireproofing for "window frames".
What happens in 2011 when we have to put a floor box in the center of every Meeting Room? Will we suddenly have new room names pop up like Congregating, Assembly, Training, Lecture, Briefing, Presentation, Classroom? Where does it stop???
A couple of years ago, a presenter at an IAEI conference told of the time that he was writing a definition for the word "kitchen". When his wife found out what he was doing she had a simple question..."Just how stupid ARE these people"? It's not us, it's the people who have a love affair with their thesaurus who are the real problem.
You can't get the right answers if you don't ask the right questions.
This thread started with "I haven't wired a house in a while." This then became "I am doing a rewire ..." Old house, new house - you know, that just might make a difference! For example, the OP might be stuck with some existing multi-wire branch circuits ("shared neutrals") and a panel for which 2-pole AFCI's don't exist. Or, the existing panel may not have the space to put every circuit on a full-size breaker.
I think our OP needs to develop a plan, then sit down with the AHJ and see what they will require. If there are access issues, etc., the AHJ is very likely going to be reasonable.