Electrical Code question

I did a new construction inspection for a client. They have been living in it for a couple of weeks, and just called me. Apparently, the garage GFCI tripped because of some Christmas lights he put up. The garage door opener is installed with the typical ceiling outlet, and is apparently on the GFCI circuit. This happened when they were not at home and they couldn’t get in when they returned home at midnight - and they had to call a locksmith to get in!
The builder told him the “new code” calls for the ceiling outlet to be protected by a GFCI… I’ve not heard this. I know Florida just adopted a new building code this year, but can’t find where this is addressed. Anyone? Thanks.

There used to be an exception, but I believe it was removed in the 2008 NEC. I don’t have it handy though.

I would recommend the installation of a house key on the car key ring.

2008 NEC - 210.8 – Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Protection
The 2008 NEC has revised this article by requiring all receptacles in garages and sheds to be GFCI protected. The exceptions of 210.8 (A)(2) in the 2005 NEC have been deleted from the 2008 code. All 125-volt single phase, 15- and 20-amp receptacles regardless of location or accessibility must now be GFCI protected.

Previous exception:


Reason they removed it is the new generation of GFCI’s do not have the “tripping nuisance” problems associated with the older ones.
However I like to recommend that they be accessible.

Others have already addressed the 2008 change to the requirement, but I’m baffled by the locksmith requirement.

Is there no other way into the house other than through the garage? Does the door not have a manual disconnect and pull handle? Do they not know what a GFCI is, how to reset it or where they are?

I try to make a point of telling our clients where the resets are located and include that info in the report - it doesn’t guarantee that they will remember it, but it does ensure that you will be able to direct them to it if they should call you first.

They were out, not in the house. They usually park in the garage. So they pulled out, leaving the house key sitting on the counter, and when they returned, the opener didn’t work. Since they didn’t have a key with them, they couldn’t get inside. As a result, he says he will be cutting the ceiling outlet out of the circuit and wiring it to the junction box of the overhead light.

OK. He should be prepared to see it in the HI report when he sells the house. Wouldn’t it be easier to just put the house key on the ring with the car key?

That’s a typical HO response to a problem created by someone’s, maybe their own stupidity. :roll:

Other solution, Figure out what caused the GFCI to trip and correct it.

LMAO…against Florida law. Makes too much sense…

I guess those who have too much crap stored in their garage wouldn’t understand the concept of using the garage to enter the house… I haven’t used the front door to my house in about 6 months.
I know one family who swears they don’t know where the front door key is!

I’m going by there tomorrow to see if I can help… apparently Christmas decorations tripped the GFCI… maybe we can solve THAT problem at least…

The funny thing is, same builder did all the houses in this neighborhood, all within the last 12 months… and none have the ceiling outlet on the GFCI circuit. He went to his neighbors and asked… So if this changed in the 2008 NEC, and Florida adopted the 2008 NEC in 2009, then…

That’s already a requirement. If they aren’t accessible they should be called out for correction.

How do you get in during power outages?

The best advice you can give the HO is to have a licensed electrician install the garage door on a dedicated GFCI circuit. It will then still be code compliant, yet eliminate the chance that this might reoccur if the issue was caused by another fault on the same circuit.

Keep in mind the issue might just well be the garage door opener itself. A high resistance ground in the opener motor will cause the GFCI to trip and is not easily identified ,except with a megohmeter. Also this type of issue can be intermittent in nature and can be diificult to pinpoint.

That’s good advice. I’m going to try to help him with the cause of the problem, and then suggest that if he does isolate the outlet, to at least put a GFI outlet in its place…

Why not just change the door opener to one that has battery back up and solve the problem forever?

check out this link

Great question Pete! What happens when the batteries die in the remote? and there is no keypad? Having a key to a man door is the only real solution. Not only that but where I am at in PA, a GFCI is to be wired as an independent circuit.

I think you might be mistaken as far as GFCIs required to be on a dedicated circuit. Check it out and let us know. Is that from the AHJ in Scranton?