A Room Addition May Mean Changes to Your Electric

Safety standards when you do a home remodeling project can protect you from an arcing wire.  It may cost more, but your life is worth it!

For safety reasons, a special kind of circuit breaker is now required for most circuits in your home.  Arcing wiring is a leading cause of electrical fires in homes, and many of them happen in bedrooms.

What Is An AFCI Receptacle?

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) have been required for circuits in bedrooms under the National Electrical Code since 2002, but they are now required on most other circuits as well. The AFCI is designed to trip if it senses an arc. The updated code calls for AFCIs on most circuits, including some that also must be protected by a GFCI.

What Is A GFCI Receptacle?

Most people are familiar with the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), which is now widely installed in kitchens, baths and other areas with running water and is recognizable by the reset button on the face of the outlet.  The GFCI breaker trips when current flows unimpeded – the idea is to prevent people from being shocked.

Cost Implications

The increase in cost is potentially large.  Standard 15- and 20-amp breakers sell for under $10.  The AFCI breakers in those amperages start at $30 and up.  For a full 42-slot 200-amp panel, that can mean a cost increase of $1000 or more.  While the largest impact will be on new construction or complete rewires where panels are being assembled from scratch, the added costs can significantly boost the cost of remodels as well.


AFCIs can be temperamental. Check with your electrician if you’re having trouble with a tripping AFCI.  They may have suggestions about how to use your devices differently or may even try trading out the breaker for a new one.

The upside of the AFCI code is that it should reduce the risk of electrical fires in homes where the breakers are installed.  The downside is that it is likely to take many years before they become as ubiquitous as the GFIs we all know so well.


Leading Edge Homes, Inc. is a Florida certified building contractor specializing in improving your lifestyle through room additions, bathroom renovations, kitchen updates, and hurricane-resistant screen enclosures. In business since 1991, the most important thing they demolish is your stress and build is your trust. Contact them at 561-795-2551 or visit their website to discover how they can help you with your next home remodeling project in Palm Beach County.