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Does the smoke alarm circuit in a bedroom need to be AFI protected?

Yes. They fall under the category of bedroom outlets. The way the 2002 NEC Art. 210.12(B) is worded, all bedroom outlets (including the smoke detector) must be supplied by an AFCI protected circuit. See text below:

NEC 210-12 (B) Dwelling Unit Bedrooms.
``All branch circuits that supply 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere outlets installed in dwelling unit bedrooms shall be protected by an arc-fault circuit interrupter listed to provide protection of the entire branch circuit.``


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