Q. Are AFCIs required for light fixtures and smoke alarms?

A. All 15A or 20A, 120V branch circuits in dwelling units supplying outlets in family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms/areas must be protected by a listed AFCI device of the combination type [210.12(B)]. Smoke alarms connected to a 15A or 20A circuit of a dwelling unit must be AFCI protected if the smoke alarm is located in one of the areas specified in 210.12(B) [see the Figure).

The exemption from AFCI protection for the "fire alarm circuit" contained in 760.41(B) and 760.121(B) doesn't apply to the single- or multiple-station smoke alarm circuit typically installed in dwelling unit bedroom areas. This is because a smoke alarm circuit isn't a fire alarm circuit as defined in NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code. Unlike single- or multiple-station smoke alarms, fire alarm systems are managed by a fire alarm control panel.