210.12(D) AFCI Protection. Branch Circuit Extensions or Modifications - Dwelling Units and Dormitory Units.

An exception allows a branch circuit extension up to a 6 ft. to remain without the need to install AFCI protection, as long as no additional outlets or devices are installed.
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An exception allows a branch circuit extension up to a 6 ft. to remain without the need to install AFCI protection, as long as no additional outlets or devices are installed.

Code Change Summary: Revised code language now requires AFCI protection when modifying or extending specific circuits in a dormitory room.

In the 2011 NEC, the following rules were put in place to require AFCI protection for extended or modified branch circuits in dwelling units:

“In any of the areas specified in 210.12(A), where branch-circuit wiring is modified, replaced, or extended, the branch circuit shall be protected by one of the following:

(1) A listed combination-type AFCI located at the origin of the branch circuit.

(2) A listed outlet branch-circuit type AFCI located at the first receptacle outlet of the existing branch circuit”.

In the 2017 NEC, the above rules were expanded to include any modified or extended 120-volt branch circuit wiring in dorm rooms.

This applies even in older dorm rooms that were built long before AFCI protection first appeared in the code book.

In a dormitory room, AFCI protection is required for 120-volt, single-phase, 15- or 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets and devices installed in dormitory bedrooms, living rooms, hallways, closets, bathrooms, and similar rooms.

An exception allows a branch circuit extension up to a 6 ft. to remain without the need to install AFCI protection, as long as no additional outlets or devices are installed. This gives a bit of relief for older homes and dorm rooms where a fuse box is replaced with a newer panelboard. As long as branch circuits are not extended more than 6 ft. to make terminations on the new circuit breakers, AFCI protection is not required.

Below is a preview of Article 210. See the actual NEC text at NFPA.ORG for the complete code section. Once there, click on their link to free access to the 2017 NEC edition of NFPA 70.

2014 Code Language:

210.12(B) Branch Circuit Extensions or Modifications — Dwelling Units. In any of the areas specified in 210.12(A), where branch-circuit wiring is modified, replaced, or extended, the branch circuit shall be protected by one of the following:

(1) A listed combination-type AFCI located at the origin of the branch circuit.

(2) A listed outlet branch-circuit type AFCI located at the first receptacle outlet of the existing branch circuit.

Exception: AFCI protection shall not be required where the extension of the existing conductors is not more than 1.8 m (6 ft) and does not include any additional outlets or devices.

2017 Code Language:

210.12(D) Branch Circuit Extensions or Modifications — Dwelling Units and Dormitory Units. In any of the areas specified in 210.12(A) or (B), where branch-circuit wiring is modified, replaced, or extended, the branch circuit shall be protected by one of the following:

(1) A listed combination-type AFCI located at the origin of the branch circuit.

(2) A listed outlet branch-circuit type AFCI located at the first receptacle outlet of the existing branch circuit.

Exception: AFCI protection shall not be required where the extension of the existing conductors is not more than 1.8 m (6 ft) and does not include any additional outlets or devices.

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210.12(D) AFCI Protection. Branch Circuit Extensions or Modifications - Dwelling Units and Dormitory Units.

Below is a Real Question from our Electrical Continuing Education Courses for Electrical License Renewal:

Which of the following is true when extending an existing branch circuit in the bedroom of a dormitory built long before AFCI was ever required?

A: It can remain without AFCI protection if the extension is 6 ft. or less and no additional devices or outlets are added.
B: If an additional receptacle is added, it can remain without AFCI protection as long as the extension is 6 ft. or less.
C: The new branch circuit extension must be done with a metallic wiring method.
D: The branch circuit extension must NOT be AFCI protected.
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