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Today’s PHW Inspections Topic: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) Protection. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection is required in several areas of a home, primarily where there is an increased risk of electrical shock or electrocution as related to moisture or water.
A GFCI constantly monitors current flowing through a circuit. If the current flowing into the circuit differs by a very small amount (as little as 0.006 amperes) from the returning current, the GFCI interrupts power faster than a blink of an eye to prevent a lethal dose of electricity. GFCIs are designed to operate before the electricity can affect your heartbeat. A GFCI also works on two-wire non grounded wiring system receptacles.
The following are some of the areas that require GFCI Protections according to (NEC) National Electric Code. Dates below are the year they 1st appeared in the NEC.
- Swimming Pool Lights: All swimming pool light circuits must be GFCI-protected (1968 Edition of NEC)
- Swimming Pools: All receptacles in these areas must be GFCI-protected (1971 Edition of NEC)
- Bathrooms: All receptacles in a bathroom must be GFCI-protected (1975 Edition of NEC)
- Outdoors: All receptacles installed outdoors must be GFCI-protected, including those located on patios, and decks. (1978 Edition of NEC)
- Unfinished Basements: All receptacles installed unfinished basements must be GFCI. Unless finished w/ minimum 7′ ceiling. (1981 Edition NEC)
- Kitchens: Receptacles serving countertop surfaces must be GFCI-protected. (1981 Edition of NEC)
- Crawl Spaces: All receptacles in these areas must be GFCI-protected. (1971 Edition of NEC)
- Garages and Unfinished Accessory Buildings: All receptacles in these areas must be GFCI-protected. (1971 Edition of NEC)
- Laundry/Utility Rooms: Receptacles in these areas must be GFCI-protected. (1975 Edition of NEC)
The NEC has updated the requirements for GFCI protection over the years. It is important to note that some local building codes may have additional or more stringent requirements. There are some exceptions to the GFCI protection requirements in NEC Section 210.8(A), such as for receptacles used for dedicated equipment that is not easily moved and for receptacles installed for the specific use of a cord-and-plug-connected appliances.
Be sure to have a licensed electrician further assess your current electrical system to determine if GFCI breakers or GFCI receptacles should be installed. All work should be performed by a licensed electrician.