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I'm moving my main panelboard as part of a service upgrade. The panelboard is brand new (i.e. I'm not reusing the old board).

Do I need to add CAFCI/GFCI breakers on the old branch circuits (as would be required for new construction/new branch circuits)? For example, there's no GFCI on my washing machine branch circuit, but Code requires this circuit be GFCI protected for new construction. Other examples: there's no AFCI anywhere in the house. I could go on.

The house is located in Seattle, USA, was built in 1927, and contains a mix of knob and tube, NM (original), and NM-B wiring as well as a bit of armored cable here and there. Eventually, we'll completely rewire the house, but the previous homeowner just added outlets wherever he saw a "convenient" place to tap into an existing circuit. That's probably good reason for adding CAFCI/GFCI protection, but I'm concerned I'm going to be fighting nuisance trips until I can do a proper re-wiring job.

Answers that cite the relevant Code are appreciated!

  • Legacy K and T would make me want to add at least GFCI breakers (cheap) and maybe AFCI/GFCI combo breakers (pricey, but I think worth it for some circuits). – bib Apr 18 '17 at 1:46
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    Are you having the work inspected? If so, you should ask the inspector. I'd guess that you'll have to bring the panel up to current code, which would include AFCI/GFCI protection. – Tester101 Apr 18 '17 at 11:33
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Depends if by moving the panel requires replacing any wires.

For example, if you're simply moving the panel up a foot without having to replace wires then no, no GFCI or Arc fault protection required.

On the other hand, any time a wire is replaced it generally is required to be brought up to code. This is common rule for not only electrical but all forms of construction.

  • I'll have to extend each branch circuit by about 10-15', so that will be new wire. At some point the previous homeowner or his electrician ran all the K&T into J boxes, then ran NM to the panel. My plan was basically to use the existing J boxes, and run a longer length of wire to the new panel. So, that's probably "new," correct? – the_meter413 Apr 18 '17 at 1:29
  • Most cases the old wires are only replaced to the point that is accessible. In contrast, if walls are removed to expose old wires those need to be replaced. – Kris Apr 18 '17 at 1:34

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