Can you put a GFCI outlet on an AFCI circuit? Yes, there’s no problem with doing this if your specific setup has no other choice but to settle for it or you have a particular purpose for doing so. Even if you put these two on the same circuit or use an AFCI breaker on a GFCI receptacle, they won’t “fight” each other at all. I’ll explain more about this topic in the sections that follow, so if you want to get more information, continue reading.
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AFCIs and GFCIs Can Be Used Together
The 2014 edition of the NEC explicitly stated and confirmed that GFCI and AFCI on the same circuit are compatible. This same edition put out the relatively new requirement that all houses constructed from now on should be given both GFCI and AFCI in all rooms. You can feed GFCI receptacles from AFCI circuit breakers because the latter can impart protection on any kind of modern wiring system.
That being said, I understand that every case is unique. For example, you may have arc fault breaker wiring that you intend to extend to a room that will require GFCI protection or vice versa. It’s perfectly fine to connect a circuit that is GFCI on an arc fault breaker, so don’t worry about damaging the breaker if you decide to do this.
Are There Disadvantages to This Kind of Setup
If you connect a GFCI outlet on an AFCI breaker that doesn’t have a GFCI component, you may be defeating the intended purpose of the former, which is to provide protection against ground faults. Also, AFCI breaker installation and its GFCI counterpart are usually done to fulfill a specific requirement or provide the right kind of protection to a given room in a home.
Why would you bother using an AFCI breaker with a GFCI outlet knowing that it’s not really ideal to do so? I understand that you may have certain future plans in mind that require such an arrangement. Large-scale renovations are a good example of this.
However, with the advent of combination GFCI/AFCI circuit breakers, this shouldn’t be a problem anymore. I can even say that it’s an issue that’s already been taken care of by the said updates to the NEC I mentioned above and the availability of the said two-feature breakers.
I Suggest You Do Your Best to Find Dual-Function AFCI/GFCI Breakers Instead
This way, you practically won’t have to worry about getting a less-than-optimal setup or even have to ask, “can I use AFCI instead of GFCI?” Check out UL 489 or UL 1699 combination AFCI/GFCI breakers in your local stores or online. Investing in them will remove all the usual hassles homeowners get when replacing receptacles in rooms where it’s a must to have either AFCI or GFCI protection.
It’s well worth ordering them online if you can’t find them locally, especially if you’re renovating your home or are planning the electric wiring system of a new one. Your home can get to enjoy the protective benefits of both and practically future-proof it to any updates to the NEC recommendations as time goes by. After all, NEC wording only required dual GFCI and AFCI protection in kitchens and laundry rooms in the past; now, they’re also required in bathrooms.
With all things considered, new homeowners are actually lucky because, around ten years ago, folks were only thinking how convenient it would be to have combination GFCI/AFCI breakers. Now, it’s a reality!
If you want to learn more about the perks of this kind of breakers and brush up on your knowledge of AFCI and GFCI protection, I highly recommend watching this video:
In summary, there’s no need to worry about connecting a GFCI receptacle to an AFCI circuit or breaker. To me, the best steps to take are the following so you can avoid having issues with these two altogether:
- Keep yourself up-to-date on the latest NEC recommendations, especially if you’re planning on doing major changes to your home’s circuits, outlets, and breakers.
- If you want to spare yourself from needless headaches related to this topic, install a dual-function AFCI/GFCI main breaker instead.
Hope you found the answer to the question “Can you put a GFCI outlet on an AFCI circuit?”. If you want to add anything else, don’t hesitate to let us know.