1990 GFCI in Kitchen

I had a disgruntled seller call and tell me that I wrongly called out an outlet that was not GFCI protected within 6ft of the sink. He said that he had read it in the NEC. I think he is full of balogna…but I would like to have a reference to send him with page and paragraph…or correct me so I can incorporate in my knowledge base. Can one of you guys with the book for that era help me out? Thanks in advance.

Hi Shawn, how did you write your comment? Regardless of when the code applies, modern standards say they should be present. That’s the gist of how I call them no matter the home’s age.

I would be cautious about getting into a “code” dispute with anyone. :wink:

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The write up had nothing to do with code. It was a recommendation based on a basic safety range of 6ft. I don’t do “code” enforcement inspections, but sometimes disputes can be settled quickly if there is a code reference used.

I would just recommend it being upgraded for enhanced safety.

OK to recommend for safety. The NEC requirement for GFCI in kitchens was 1987, this house was built in 1990…
This is what he complains about? That’s the best he can do?

Attached file from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
In part:
NEC GFCI requirements (and effective date):
Underwater pool lighting (since 1968)
o Outdoors (since 1973)
o Bathrooms (since 1975)
o Garages (since 1978)
o Kitchens (since 1987)
o Crawl spaces and unfinished basements (since 1990)
o Wet bar sinks (since 1993)
o Laundry and utility sinks (since 2005)
GFCI Info Sheet.pdf (379.6 KB)


Thanks for the good information. Do you have the NEC reference to the distance from the water source requirement during that era?

Particulars are in the subsections of article 210.8, including the 6ft req (210.8.(A).(7)). Be sure to reference the 2017 as it’s ever changing.

Kitchens - where the receptacles are installed to serve the countertop surfaces.
Within 6ft from the top inside edge of the bowl of the sink. . :cowboy_hat_face:

I don’t get into code in my reports, but I do give a recommendation.

“NOTE - Although GFCI protection may not have been required in these areas when this structure was constructed, today’s industry standards require GFCI protection for all receptacles serving kitchen counter tops, bathrooms, laundry rooms, unfinished basement areas, crawlspaces, garages, and exterior. Recommend installing GFCI receptacles at these locations as needed for safety.”

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I appreciate all the good recommendations. Blessings!

Shawn … As a code inspector / home inspector there are several things to take into consideration.

#1 - Unless the seller was your client, he’s out of the picture. You’re not doing the inspection for him, so he gets ignored.

#2 - Forget that old 6’ rule.Today there are a whole lot of places in a kitchen using GFCI’s.

#3 - You’re not the code inspector / can’t require ANYTHING and are just venturing your opinion for YOUR client’s safety AND the sellers opinion is of NO concern to you at all.

#4 - Many locales LAG behind national code by MANY years (I have cities TODAY in my area that still use the 2003 or 2006 IRC, so things REQUIRED by the 2015 codes ARE not being done).

#5 - Don’t know how you wrote your comment BUT if you tried tying it to a code reference YOU probably justifiably got slammed. I’ve been at this 35 yrs and don’t respond to sellers. IF a seller is NOT miffed OR disgruntled periodically you’re probably NOT doing your job.

#6 - The following comment has NEVER generated a call from a WHINY seller, agent, etc. …

“Whether used or not when the home was built, CURRENT safety standards use GFCI’s (ground fault interrupter circuits) at “wet area outlets” like kitchen countertops, bathrooms, the exterior, a garage, laundry, by a wet bar, unfinished basement areas, for jacuzzi’s, pools, etc). One or more of the electrical outlet(s) at the “wet areas” such as in the kitchen did not have GFCI protection. We recommend installing a GFCI at any applicable area without one”.

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I think Dan’s post sums it up pretty well. Especially liked the comment about the miffed seller being a positive thing.

I have found the simplest and most effective way of dealing with sellers like this is to tell them it is inappropriate for them or their agent to attempt to influence the content of my report. The report stands, and if they wish to make the case that I am in error, they need to make that case to the buyer or buyer’s agent. Thank you and have a nice day.

Thannks for the Great Info Sheet


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