A new requirement addresses the replacement of receptacles in areas requiring AFCI protection, tamper-resistant receptacles, or weather-resistant receptacles.

406.4 General Installation Requirements.

(D) Receptacle Replacement.

(4) Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, where a receptacle outlet is supplied by a branch circuit that requires arc-fault circuit-interrupter protection [210.12(A)], a replacement receptacle at this outlet must be one of the following.

(1) A listed (receptacle) outlet branch-circuit type arc-fault circuit-interrupter receptacle.

(2) A receptacle protected by a listed (receptacle) outlet branch-circuit type arc-fault circuit-interrupter type receptacle.

(3) A receptacle protected by a listed combination type arc-fault circuit interrupter type circuit breaker.

(5) Tamper-Resistant Receptacles. Listed tamper-resistant receptacles must be provided where replacements are made at receptacle outlets that are required to be tamper-resistant elsewhere in this Code.

(6) Weather-Resistant Receptacles. Weather-resistant receptacles must be provided where replacements are made at receptacle outlets that are required to be so protected elsewhere in the Code.

Analysis: As aging wiring systems become more of a concern in the electrical industry, the Code is taking a proactive approach to providing protection of these systems. Many areas of a dwelling require the use of AFCI protection in an effort to help avoid electrical fires. When AFCIs were first introduced into the NEC, the substantiation for their inclusion was based largely on electrical fires in older homes. With the inception of these devices, the Code began protecting new and future wiring systems but didn’t address the older ones that contained many of the fires discussed in the AFCI arguments. This change expands the AFCI requirements to older homes. Because these older homes often don’t contain an equipment grounding conductor, installation of an AFCI circuit breaker does very little in the way of protecting the branch circuits. The receptacle-type AFCIs also provide a significantly lower level of protection, but they will be required, nonetheless.

This requirement has an effective date of Jan. 1, 2014.

The 2008 NEC introduced the concept of tamper-resistant receptacles in dwelling units. The requirements of that section (406.11, now 406.12) apply to new installations. It could have been argued that one could install tamper-resistant receptacles in the locations required by 406.11, then remove them and replace them with traditional receptacles. While most people will agree that this argument is a huge stretch of the imagination, this change eliminates the issue before it arises. It also requires that, on existing dwelling units, any receptacles that are replaced will need to be replaced using tamper-resistant receptacles.

A similar change was made for weather-resistant receptacles, using the same logic as tamper-resistant receptacles.