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1) Per the 2011 National Electrical Code edition, Article 210.12(A) & (B) requires the use of AFCI protection in a dwelling unit.
2) Per Article 100 - Dwelling Unit Definition
A single unit, providing complete and independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, cooking and sanitation.
3) Located in the 2011 National Electrical Code Handbook on page 26 of Article 100 under the Dwelling Unit definition:
Here is the exact verbiage:
"Where dwelling units are referenced together throughout the Code, it is important to note that rooms in motels, hotels, and similar occupancies could be classified as dwelling units if they satisfy the requirements of the definition".
4) My interpretation of the code would be classified if the hotel or motel room has cooking facilities or not. Under the "dwelling unit definition", the code does not use the word "OR" in their definition. Therefore, if a hotel/motel room has permanent provisions for cooking, I would agree with the code that AFCI's are required.
Article 210.18 is tied directly to Article 210.12 which is tied directly to the "Dwelling Unit" definition in Article 100.
If the hotel/motel room does not have cooking provisions, I would interpret the code that AFCI's are not required in this application since most hotel/motel rooms do not provide for complete and independent living facilities.
5) Under Article 210.18 Guest Rooms and Guest Suites
Verbiage taken directly from the code shown below:
"Guest rooms and guest suites that are provided with permanent provisions for cooking shall have branch circuits installed to meet the rules for dwelling units".
6) Therefore, based on my answer in number 4 above, if permanent cooking, yes AFCI protection is required. If no permanent cooking, then AFCI's are not required.
7) Please note that it is always recommended to check first with the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) as they can over-ride the NEC if the municipality has their own local electrical code requirements.
8) Also an interesting note of observation, Article 210.12 only uses "dwelling unit" in this article. Code never uses Dwelling, One Family or Dwelling Two Family or Dwelling Multifamily. Obviously, the code needs to be more clearly defined for guest rooms and guest suites within the AFCI article.
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