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Electric Wiring for AFCI in a Home

Can residential circuits dedicated to lighting with AFCI light switches share neutrals with other dedicated lighting circuits with AFCI light switches?

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Install New Wiring for AFCI
Electrical Question: Can circuits dedicated to lighting with AFCI and light switches share neutrals with other dedicated lighting circuits?

Can residential circuits dedicated to lighting with AFCI light switches share neutrals with other dedicated lighting circuits with AFCI light switches? Note: I want to avoid using AFCI breakers at the Service Panel. I’ve learned circuits containing any GFCI’s cannot share neutrals with other circuits, but cannot find this answer pertaining to AFCI circuits. This will determine whether I can run 3 wire cable or have to do like my outlets and run separate 2 wire cables for every circuit.

This electrical wiring question came from Brian, a Homeowner in Walker, Michigan.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Brian.

Install New Wiring for AFCI to a Switch

Application: Install New Wiring for Arc Fault, AFCI to a Light Switch.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor, or Certified Electrician.
Electrical Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester, and appropriate Safety Gear.
Estimated Time: Depends on the personal level experience, ability to work with tools, install electrical circuit wiring, and the available access to the project area.
Electrical Safety: Identify the electrical power source to the Switch, turn it OFF and Tag with a Note before working with the electrical wiring.
Electrical Wiring Parts and Materials: Electrical parts and materials for the Switch should be approved for the specific project and compliant with local and national electrical codes.
Electrical Codes and Inspections: Installing or changing home electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes as adopted in Walker, Michigan. A permit and inspections may also be required.

Install New AFCI Wiring in a Kitchen

This electrical wiring project is about Installing New AFCI Wiring in the Kitchen of a Old Home.


AFCI Circuit Wiring

From what you have described, the neutral wire of a AFCI Circuit cannot be shared with another circuit, such as with a multiwire circuit. The AFCI devices will not function properly if this is attempted, and in most cases it will cause the AFCI device to trip off right away. If you are trying to save on wiring expense, then you may want to see if 14/4 with ground is available in your area from your local electrical supply house. The 14/4 Type-NM cable is simply 2 sets of wires for two circuits, however they share the same ground wire. NOTE: AFCI protection can be provided either by a circuit breaker, or the first receptacle of a branch circuit could be a AFCI Outlet which would protect the remainder of the circuit when wired correctly.

Specific Resources
The following articles expand on this topic:

AFCI and GFCI Electrical Circuit Breakers
Is a AFCI and GFCI circuit breaker made as the same circuit breaker? Electric Wiring when using AFCI and GFCI Circuit Breakers, and AFCI and GFCI in the same breaker.

Tripping AFCI Breaker Problems and How To Fix Them
What would cause a 15 amp AFCI breaker to trip immediately when it is reset and turned on? The Most Common Problems with AFCI Circuits and How to Fix Them.

AFCI Outlet and Circuit Wiring
How the AFCI Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters and multiple outlets are wired together.

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Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1

Wiring Diagrams
Fully Explained Light Switch Wiring Diagrams. Detailed Electrical Wiring Diagrams and Pictures assist your Home Electrical Projects.

Guide to Home Electrical Wire

Electrical Wire for the Home

Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.

Home Electrical Codes for Main Service Panels
Electrical Wiring Codes

Home Electrical Circuit Breakers

Home Electrical Circuit Breakers

A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring. When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.

How to Install Kitchen Electrical Wiring

Kitchen Electrical Wiring

Fully Explained Photos and Wiring Diagrams for Kitchen Electrical Wiring with Code Requirements for most new or remodel projects.

How to Install Home Lighting
recessed lighting

Planning and Installing Home Lighting

Home lighting articles covering recessed lighting, under cabinet lighting, lighting terminology and more.

How to Wire Electric Outlets

Wiring Electrical Outlets for the Home

Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.

How to Wire GFI Outlets

GFCI and GFI Wiring Diagrams

The features and benefits of GFCI outlets and receptacles will give you a clear understanding of the importance why these safety devices are required by code to help protect you and your family against accidental electrical shock hazards.
GFCI Wiring
GFCI Wiring
This list of articles will help you learn about the features and benefits provided by GFI and GFCI Receptacles and how they are wired.

Wiring AFCI Circuits

GFCI and AFCI Circuit Breakers

Arc Fault Circuit Interruption AFCI provides the extra measure of safety for your family. AFCI’s are installed serving required house wiring circuits protecting areas such as the bedrooms. AFCI protects the bedroom circuit devices against the danger of arcing which can lead to fire.
AFCI Circuit Electrical Codes

The following may also be helpful for you:

electrical wiring book

A Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Be sure to get your copy of my BIG Book:
Perfect for Homeowners, Students and Electricians
Home Electrical Wiring - Room by Room
120 Volt Circuits
240 Volt Circuits
Multi-Wired Circuits
Wiring Methods for Installing Home Electrical Circuit Wiring
Electrical Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

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