Should We AFCI Protect Appliances?

Should We AFCI Protect Appliances?

A question posted from one of our followers regarding the requirements about ACFI and GFCI protection for Appliance Circuits. In this latest episode of Electrician U, Dustin dives into the topic to bring us answers!

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While Article 210 of the NEC DOES talk about AFCI and GFCI protection for circuits, the circuits that particular article refers to are Branch Circuits. Appliance Circuits are in article 422 of the NEC. However, while article 422 DOES cover certain GFCI requirements, those items it does refer to are not dwelling unit type items. So we do have to refer back to article 210.
To really understand the AFCI/GFCI issue, first we must know that the NEC is referring to LOCATIONS where the AFCI or GFCI protection is to be placed, not necessarily the equipment itself. The code tells us WHERE we are to have AFCI or GFCI, and if equipment is IN those areas, THEN it must be protected. It also helps to understand that a Branch circuit is a circuit that Leaves a Breaker and hooks up to a piece of equipment, whereas a Feeder generally leaves a Breaker and goes to another Breaker or Disconnect or some other type of controlling equipment. Also, as a reminder, the 2020 NEC did add 240v items to the GFCI requirements. So, keep in mind that if you do have a larger piece of 240v equipment that does fall within the AFCI/GFCI space, you will also have to protect that equipment as well.
So, Article 210.8(A) of the 2020 NEC states that ALL 125v through 250v receptacles (in the locations the NEC specifies), shall have Ground Fault protection. The key item here to pull out is RECEPTACLES! Not light switches or light fixtures, but receptacles. It may be worth it to check with your local AHJ (usually the inspector) and see what they will allow or not allow. Article 210.12(A) of the 2020 NEC states that AFCI protection is required for all 120v 15 & 20a Branch circuits. The keyword to be pulled out of this is BRANCH CIRCUITS. So, it’s the whole circuit, not just the receptacle! So, take a laundry room for instance. If you ran a dedicated circuit for your washing machine in that room, then it WOULD have to be AFCI protected. Something else to consider here, is that it is only 120v 15 & 20a circuits, not 240/250v ones.
Hopefully, this made the subject of AFCI/GFCI protecting of Appliances a bit clearer. What electrical content do you want to see in a video? Leave a comment in the comment section below. Please continue to follow Electrician U and Dustin as we are constantly adding new content to assist our followers in their electrical careers.

#electrician #electrical #electricity #branch circuits and feeders #customers questions #sparky life


  1. Michael Brooks on February 2, 2023 at 4:04 am

    This Is Interesting Video. Not Sure If AFCI Is Same As Industrial Arc Flash Study, But A Few Years Ago I Was Involved With An Industrial Arc Flash Study For My Employer. The Original Was Done When Plant Was First Built (Finished In 2000/2001). Our Safety Director Insisted On A New/Updated One Since There Had Been Some Expansion Through The Years. It Was My Responsibility To Gather Info (Wire Size & Distance/Breaker Size And Settings/Connected Loads). Consultant Said To Only Include 480 And Above For Study (I Believe They Said 208VAC Cannot/Does Not Carry Enough Capacity/Energy For Sustained Arc Flash). Has 70E Been Updated (2015 Was When We Completed Study)To Include Lower Voltage In Residential Setting?

  2. Worth Henley on February 2, 2023 at 4:04 am

    Can you also see in the near future all breakers costing $70 to $200? Their is no proof AFCIs do ANYTHING to reduce residential fires. Schneider, et al are laughing all the way to the bank.

  3. Ryan York on February 2, 2023 at 4:06 am

    It remember its location location location. Damp locations like basements and garages were within 6′ of watersource GFCI.. If it’s in the garage you don’t need AFC I. When you cross the threshold into the house through the garage it becomes AFC I from there on out that means if your washing machine is garage located GFCI is only required is only required not AFC I

  4. skyemac8 on February 2, 2023 at 4:06 am

    Not sump pumps?! But there be water… I guess it’s more important to pump water out than trip.

  5. GoogleMinus on February 2, 2023 at 4:08 am

    How am I supposed to GFCI protect my 220V EV charging outlet on the exterior of my house when the charger also has GFCI built in?

  6. Aaron Lesse on February 2, 2023 at 4:10 am

    I just need to extend a 20A branch circuit from one outbuilding to another (via new underground line) for the sake of adding some outlets in that second building.

    No water or wet conditions in either building. I’ll probably make sure the first outlet in the first outbuilding is an AF/GFCI outlet, I’ll use 12-gauge wiring (because of the 20A breaker), I’ll probably use 20A outlets in the second outbuilding.

    I think I’m all set for that, with a little more reading up on whether I need the AFCI feature at all. Now I just need to figure out the whole grounding thing (find out how the existing branch circuit is grounded and if I need additional grounding measures on the extension or just extend the existing ground wire through the new outlets).

  7. Randy Schaeffer on February 2, 2023 at 4:10 am

    I think arcfault protection is a waste of time and resources. But I do think ground fault is necessary to have.

  8. Simrri’s Power on February 2, 2023 at 4:11 am

    dishwasher is dwelling

  9. Kenneth Kaiser on February 2, 2023 at 4:12 am

    Arc fault breakers have always been over sensative pains in the ass for electrical contractors, general contractors and the homeowner, ever since they were put on the market. They still suck 30 yrs later. Better but still bad.
    To make them code for every receptacle in a home is absolutely ridiculous.
    We know that there are some backroom deals being made for profitsby government officials and the manufacturers.
    It’s similar to the big push for people to use CFLs instead of regular incandescent lamps. The whole push was to buy more time for LED production to ramp up and lower the cost before flooding the market with LED lighting. They told everyone CFLs were going to save the world and save money when they are worse for the environment and were more expensive. They even made them part of the code.
    It’s always about profit and never about the safety and protection of the consumer.

  10. Jeff Kardos Jr. on February 2, 2023 at 4:17 am

    Plug in air conditioners already often have plug in GFCIs.

  11. I'm Me on February 2, 2023 at 4:17 am

    To me, a GFCI isn’t just to protect when plugging/unplugging but if a fault develops in the device plugged into that outlet. If the insulation on a wire in that stove/oven fails, the body of the stove/oven could be electrically energized. If one happened to reach for the faucet at the same time touching the stove that would be very bad.

  12. Blayne Cowan on February 2, 2023 at 4:18 am

    Love your videos man, can you do some on motor controls and or temperature controls??

  13. Jeff McEwan on February 2, 2023 at 4:18 am

    Great information as always – I had the same discussion with my inspector about GFCI on the dedicated refrigerator plug.

  14. Homestead Haven on February 2, 2023 at 4:22 am

    I installed all AFCI breakers in my new home. Some have GGCI too. Haven’t had a problem yet.. my washer and dryer are not in home they’re in the utility shed with a regular breaker. No garbage disposal, I do have a dishwasher and a high end refrigerator plus a gas range. All lights are LED pod lights.

  15. 226cenk on February 2, 2023 at 4:24 am

    Can’t I just ground/arc fault the entire breaker box? Instead of individually having to purchase GFCI/AFCI, why not just straight up add it to the box? Is there such a thing?

  16. J W on February 2, 2023 at 4:24 am

    I LOVE your channel. I am a City Building Inspector. The problem is EXPERIENCED and Highly qualified electricians don’t write the codes. Electrical Engineers with limited field experience or common sense write codes. It is my job as an inspector to interpret the intent of the code and many times I will side with the aspects of safety combined with common sense! I learn so much from experienced electricians and I am not afraid to ask questions and get second opinions. Some issues are black and white with the code, but there is some wiggle room for interpretation for many issues.

  17. 123Electric321 on February 2, 2023 at 4:25 am

    Can you go over how you need to wire circuits so the AFCI’s don’t nuisance trip.

  18. Otto Roth on February 2, 2023 at 4:26 am

    Of course….we are talking about adding new circuits….not existing circuits. What I absolutely LOVE is these damn Home Inspectors who start testing circuits and then they start quoting NEC codes. I literally had a heated argument about counter recepticals requiring GFCI protection… a house built in 1981…….Anyway he said to me this counter needs to be GFCI protected(keeping in mind it it 15 ft from any water source)…..I told himit doesn’t but if he would’ve looked at the panel, he would’ve noticed Breaker #31 was an AFCI/ GFCI Breaker….it was my house and put that in when I replaced the panel 3 years ago!

    Ya’ll stay safe and sane out there!

  19. Otto Roth on February 2, 2023 at 4:26 am

    Well…a other note….about 20 years ago…..I had the home run receptical go bad and started to smoke in my Family Rm….an AFCI Breaker would’ve prevented that yes, they are not scams and do work!

  20. Jason R Williams on February 2, 2023 at 4:27 am

    Outdoor subpanel?

  21. ScienceBitch on February 2, 2023 at 4:27 am

    Where ever r

  22. mrbigcat9 on February 2, 2023 at 4:30 am

    I always install dual purpose AFCI/GFCI outlets?

  23. Alex Nunez on February 2, 2023 at 4:30 am

    Did I hear that correctly all recepticals need to be GFCI regardless of exposure to water now?

  24. 🌶️ Spicy Reef 🏄 on February 2, 2023 at 4:32 am

    I’m learning more about home electrical in your vids than I have my whole LIFE!
    THANKS!!!!! 🤩

  25. NATIONAL Security and Automation on February 2, 2023 at 4:34 am

    We put them in for inspection and then swap them out. They are HORRIBLE

  26. Mark Chidester on February 2, 2023 at 4:34 am

    How about a dedicated circuit that is hard wired?
    Example: An electric heater in a garage.
    240v 30a run directly from a breaker to a box mounted on a wall stud with a whip from the box to the heater that is permanently bolted to the ceiling.

  27. Jake Dennison on February 2, 2023 at 4:41 am

    Riddle me this bat man. I have a question on my journeyman exam were I have to do the voltage drop formula and find the length of the wire not the vd which I have already vd=2k×L×I÷ CM = 3=2×12.9×L×9÷6530 solve for L

  28. Stephen Petersen on February 2, 2023 at 4:41 am

    Been entirely unimpressed with acfi breakers.

  29. David Groskopf on February 2, 2023 at 4:42 am

    Due to the nuisance tripping of AFCI breakers their are certain circuits I would not use them Furnace,Refrigerator,Freezer.

  30. LDoctorKC on February 2, 2023 at 4:43 am

    What’s the point of even making regular breakers anymore? If I have a “branch” to a washing machine, it may be an appliance, but the that appliance is fed by a branch. At this point, just install all afci/gfci breakers in the panel. Before everyone gets upset with the cost, labor is expensive and people spends thousands on a counter top. Maybe if we go 100%, the device cost will come down.

  31. Darin Deer on February 2, 2023 at 4:45 am

    I have couple questions for you
    I have a new house built in 2021 and I’m in the process of finishing the basement and I pulled the cover off the main breaker panel and found that 99% of my breakers are AFCI two pole breakers and the neutral and power wires are both Terminated on the breaker with a jumper going from the neutral wire to the neutral busbar in the panel 60 and the grounds and neutrals are separated in the panel
    There is no other service disconnect other than the main breaker in the panel From the main service feed
    My question is are the neutrals and grounds separated in the main panel because of the AFCI Breakers or am I missing something
    Thanks in advance…

  32. Zach J on February 2, 2023 at 4:45 am

    Arc fault is trash and hasn’t seemed to have been improved since it was implemented.

  33. tony parker on February 2, 2023 at 4:45 am

    good info. thank you

  34. TheTubejunky on February 2, 2023 at 4:46 am

    Dustin, When installing SER cable do you recommend CU or AL? (copper or Aluminum)

  35. Timothy Rollins on February 2, 2023 at 4:49 am

    Nothing should be AFCI Protected, complete waist of technology

  36. I'm Me on February 2, 2023 at 4:51 am

    About AFCIs, how do they deal with things like vacuum cleaners and electric drills that have brushed motors? Brushed motors create arcs as the brushes switch from one segment of the commutator to the next. That is what would tear up the picture or sound on every TV and radio in the house. In fact, it would often disrupt the TV in neighboring houses.

  37. alex baus on February 2, 2023 at 4:53 am

    Hey could you possibly clear up the terminology in code "or fraction thereof" I have dealt with in show window outlets. Also in Island and peninsular countertops and work Surfaces .Definitely confuses me.

  38. Tom F on February 2, 2023 at 4:54 am

    I got one for ya…what about a toilet bidet? Separate circuit? I figure yes on Afci/GFCI.

  39. eddy2314able on February 2, 2023 at 4:54 am

    Hello, I have a question, I’m interested in becoming an electrician and recently encountered a brand new electrical panel that was painted over by the painters. I don’t mean the covers, the painters took the covers off of these panels and painted over them as they were painting the garages. I told them they should at least try cleaning the metal parts with isopropyl alcohol so at least the breakers would have a clean connection but later read that the inside of the panels should absolutely not be painted; so now I’m wondering if the panels should be cleaned or replaced? I don’t know if this is a problem seen often but would live to hear what an actual electrician would do.
    Thank you for your time.

  40. Xilstus on February 2, 2023 at 4:55 am

    2:03 is that a uk kitchen lmao?

    isn’t uk whole home gfci protected?

  41. chainEARL GM on February 2, 2023 at 4:56 am

    If the ground is touching the neutral anywhere past the main point of disconnect in a circuit or will cause what is known as "nuisance" tripping. I do lots of service work and install AFCI breakers all the time on old panels and rarely have issues.

  42. WAYNE DESHOTEL on February 2, 2023 at 4:57 am

    Does the bathroom Heat/Vent/Light have to be AFCI and GFCI protected?

  43. Matthew Miller on February 2, 2023 at 4:58 am

    Have they figured out how to fix these things so RF doesn’t trip them? Even after doing a lot to try and avoid it I am still tripping GFCIs randomly when I pull into the driveway talking on a 25-50 watt VHF radio…I hear AFCIs are even worse.

  44. Billy Newman on February 2, 2023 at 4:59 am

    in reference to gfci protection for stoves and the 6 foot rule, i did not know it was talking about the receptacle, i thought it was a contact issue between the stove chassis and water or wet surface….i remember back in the day when you couldn’t touch the stove and refrigerator at the same time without getting zapped…thank you for you highly appreciated show

  45. James Brzycki on February 2, 2023 at 4:59 am

    Thx for your clear, concise, complete explanations. My issue: I recently installed a ceiling fan in the living room that’s on the same breaker as the bathroom. The breaker is AFCI, and we get nuisance tripping occasionally. Could the ceiling fan motor be causing the tripping, or should I look elsewhere for the cause? Keep in mind the ceiling fan box is 18 ft up, so I want to check all possibilities before renting equipment to re-check the ceiling fan connection. Thx!

  46. Bob Jonquet on February 2, 2023 at 4:59 am

    I know this is a forest for the trees comment, but I wanted to say that I dunno whose legs those are at 2:05 doing the laundry, but they are nice! 🙂

  47. Abdul Elkhatib on February 2, 2023 at 5:00 am

    After reading all these comments about nuisance trips and all think how many people install them, then just return them for normal breakers. I’d do the same thing.

  48. Dan Larsen on February 2, 2023 at 5:00 am

    Video suggestion….making a pvc holder to protect your reach sticks and 6ft drill bit. Use 3/4 or 1" pvc two threaded female pvc couplings and the matching size threaded ko seals for the end caps. pvc glue one end and duct tape that end so you onow you cant open that side. no more weak plastic cover that shatters or gets eaten by the sun. Oh and never us a razor knife to remove the tape cuz you split the fiber glass of the reach sticks 🤘😠 and remember ladies save a fuse blow an electrician instead 😏 ….hey they dont have a shocker hand signal emoji we created that move!!!wtf

  49. AmericanOne on February 2, 2023 at 5:03 am

    I can understand the GFCI but the AFCI to me is just about someone making money upstream…

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