The requirements for AFCI protection of outlets in certain areas of dwelling units continue to evolve with each new edition of the National Electrical Code. The 2014 edition will be no exception. While there are a couple of steps remaining in the process to produce the 2014 NEC, here's what the revised rules look like today:
A new opening paragraph is being added as is a requirement that AFCI devices be installed in a readily accessible location. Similar to the requirement for GFCI devices being installed in a readily accessible location, this will facilitate the required monthly testing of the AFCI devices.
The responsible code panel intended to add kitchens and laundry areas to the rooms or areas requiring AFC I protection. Outlets installed in bathrooms, garages and outdoors are not included in the rooms or areas requiring protection.
AFCI protection is permitted to be provided in one of six ways or methods:
(B) Branch Circuit Extensions or Modifications - Dwelling Units. In any of the areas specified in 210.12(A), where branch-circuit wiring is modified, replaced, or extended, the branch circuit shall be protected by one of the following:
A new exception has been added to provide relief for minor modifications of branch circuits in dwelling units. It reads:
Exception: AFCI protection shall not be required where the extension of the existing conductors is not more than 1.8 m (6 ft.) and does not include any additional outlets or devices.
A new requirement is being added for AFCI protection in dormitory units, but applies to only bedrooms, living rooms, hallways, closets, and similar rooms. This new section reads:
(C) Dormitory Units. All 120-Volt, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dormitory unit bedrooms, living rooms, hallways, closets, and similar rooms shall be protected by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter meeting the requirements of 210.12(A)(1) through (6) as appropriate.
It appears these requirements will make it through the remaining steps of the NEC code change process as most all the members of the Code Panel are supporting these revisions.