GFCI Outlets

Ran into two inspectors today who didn’t understand the rules on GFCI outlets around water use areas. Do you?
Refrigerator outlet is not GFCI protected yet is within six feet of kitchen faucet… should it be reported?
Is the washing machine considered a water use area and thus should it’s outlet be reported if not a GFCI protected outlet? :roll:

The refrig receptacle could be 18" from the sink and not require GFCI protection. GFCI protection is only required for receptacles serving the countertop regardless of their distance to the sink.

The washing machine receptacle would require GFCI protection only if the receptacle is installed in an area in Article 210 that requires GFCI protection. Within 6’ of a laundry sink is one such location.

Thank you Robert. You have allowed me to regain hope for our profession.

So who do you call about the new construction in your area where the washing machine is GFCI protected and the other outlet in the laundry room (within 6’ of the sink) is not?

That is the code requirement for that community and has been for 16 years…?

Just wondering… :wink:

Who do you call… “CODE BUSTERS”!!!
On a personal note and not as an inspector I would not worry about the washing machine being GFCI’d. It is my belief that the code as it stands today is actually a throwback to years ago when machinery was apt to cause GFCI’s to trip inadvertantly. Today this is not true and most anything can be plugged into a GFCI outlet.
As far as the sink is concerned… be my guest. go to the local codes office and make your case. Maybe… just maybe, someone there will listen, take up the cause and get it changed thus potentially saving a life down the road. Good luck!

The only way I would call out the frig outlet is if it was accessible to be used by the owner to plug something else in.

Outside of that, I can’t imagine how they might accidentily drop the frig in the sink… :wink:

Any fridge shouldnt be on a GFCI, as compressors do surge when initially switched on and that surge can cause a trip of the recepticle, which will ruin all the food.

Please stop with this line of thinking. A properly functioning refrigerator will run when GFI protected. A GFI is not looking for surges, but an imbalance of current. Why are you more concerned with food than potentially saving a life?

Refrigerators in commercial kitchens are required to have GFI protection.

Very interesting . I would love to see some facts on this .
I see many statements made on the Board that scare me and unfortunately some just might get the wrong information.

You will be waiting for a long time, because there are no “fact” that will support it. Just more perpetuation of misinformation.

Thanks to both Jeff and Roy for questioning that mis-information.

Around here the front door, back door and garage are on the same circuit.

If a freezer is in the garage and a kid leaves a boom-box out in the rain, you may have maggots before you find that it is tripped…

It cost me $500 to keep some idiot homeowner off the Realtor’s azz (and mine).
I never tripped the GFCI because it was not accessible to reset, but they did.

Now I take pic’s of the reefers contents (just beer in there Vern!).

In my kitchen there is a refrigerator and an upright freezer. Both set in their own space at the end of the countertop. Neither is required to be on a GFCI protected circuit and both are on one 15 amp circuit. The first thing I did after closing the sale of the house was to install a GFCI breaker for these two appliances. This was in August of 1995 and I have had no problems. I have not lost one once of food due to a tripped device. Can someone explain to me why this has happened?

I weigh the protection of my family far above the price of replacing any spoiled food. Should the device trip and I lose everything inside it will be my train of thought, “thank you Lord for sparing my family.”
I have a hard time accepting the train of thought that the food inside is more important than someone’s life or safety.

Thoes are dedicated circuits you installed on, not connected to outdoor outlets.

Lost food in a clients freezer results in lost food on my families table. :wink:

What you did in your house is not what we have to deal with in the real world out here.

So my next question is, why does this guy in Nashville have a GFCI protected washer outlet and an unprotected outlet within 6’ of the sink? This is in an area with a municiapal code department.

I was told once that is was because it was not a bathroom because there was no toilet!!??

This is New Construction I’m talking about here. Had one like this in a $2.3 mil house last week.

So, GFCIs…at work they’ve become the bane of my existence, they’re required on my end of the shop because of the proximity to the wash bays, unfortunately the only equipment I need to plug into them(brake lathe) will trip them as it gets up to speed. it’s gotten to the point where I use a 100ft extension cord to plug equipment in at the other end of the shop.

For that reason I’ve been hesitant to suggest their use on dedicated circuits for motors…like refrigerators. Right or wrong, I’ve just been scared off by my experiences with them.

** You could have a faulty GFCI .**

[size=5] Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters FACT SHEET [FONT=Georgia,Georgia][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=1]Cambridge Campus: [/size][/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=1]46 Blackstone Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 617.495.2060 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=1]Longwood Campus: [/size][/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=1]4 Blackfan Street – B84, Boston, MA 02115 617.432.1720 www.uos.harvard.edu/ehs [/size][/FONT][FONT=Century Schoolbook,Century Schoolbook][size=1]Copyright © President and Fellows of Harvard College 2008 [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Century Schoolbook,Century Schoolbook][size=1] [/size][/FONT][RIGHT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=3]Number: LAB 02 Date: September 22, 2008 [/size][/FONT][/RIGHT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]R[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]EGULATORY [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]O[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]VERVIEW [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]The use of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) are regulated by [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]Massachusetts General Law [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]([/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]M.G.L. c. 143, § 3L[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]), which provides that all installation, repair and maintenance of wiring and electrical fixtures used for light, heat and power purposes in buildings and structures, [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]the Board of Fire Prevention Regulations of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Fire Services [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]and the [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]National Fire Protection Association – National Electrical Code 70[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]. [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] Buildings “Other Than Dwelling Units” require all 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified in (1) through (5) shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel: (1) Bathrooms, (2) Kitchens, (3) Rooftops, (4) Outdoors and (5) Sinks — where receptacles are installed within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the outside edge of the sink.
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[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]Exception No 1 to (5): [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]In industrial laboratories, receptacles used to supply equipment where removal of power would introduce a greater hazard shall be permitted to be installed without GFCI protection. [/size][/FONT]
**[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]H[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]ARVARD [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]U[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]NIVERSITY [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]P[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]OLICY [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]– C[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]AMBRIDGE[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]/A[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]LLSTON [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]C[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]AMPUS [/size][/FONT]
**[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) can help prevent electrocution. The applications of GFCI in laboratory areas are recommended near all sinks, in greenhouses or similar applications and outdoor applications.
[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]W[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]HAT IS A [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]G[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]ROUND [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]F[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]AULT [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]C[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]IRCUIT [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]I[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]NTERRUPTER[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]? [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]The ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, is a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground-fault within as little as 1/40 of a second. It works by comparing the amount of current [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]going to [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]and [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]returning from [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]equipment along the circuit conductors. When the amount [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]going [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]differs from the amount [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]returning [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]by approximately 5 milliamperes, the GFCI interrupts the current. [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]The GFCI will [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]not [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]protect you from line contact hazards (i.e. a person holding two “hot” wires, a hot and a neutral wire in each hand, or contacting an overhead power line). However, it protects against the most common form of electrical shock hazard, the ground-fault. It also protects against fires, overheating, and destruction of wire insulation. [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=5]Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter FACT SHEET [/size][/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=3]Page 2 of 3 [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]S[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]EVERAL [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]T[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]YPES OF [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]GFCI[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]S [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]M[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]AY [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]B[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]E [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]I[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]NSTALLED [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]I[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]N[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]/A[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]ROUND [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]Y[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]OUR [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]L[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]ABORATORY[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]. [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]**Wall Receptacle GFCI **[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]- This type of GFCI - the most widely used - fits into a standard outlet and protects against ground faults whenever an electrical product is plugged into the outlet. Wall receptacle GFCIs are most often installed in kitchens, bath and laundry rooms, and out-of-doors where water and electricity are most likely to be in close proximity. EH&S recommends the installation of GFCI for all outlets within six feet of a sink or water source. [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]Circuit Breaker GFCI [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]- In laboratories equipped with circuit breakers, this type of GFCI may be installed in a panel box to give protection to selected circuits. Circuit breaker GFCIs should also be checked monthly. Keep in mind that the test will disconnect power to all lights and appliances on the circuit. [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] It is recommended that equipment outlets protected by circuit breaker GFCI, should be labeled or easily identifiable.
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[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]Portable GFCI [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]- A portable GFCI requires no special knowledge or equipment to install. One type contains the GFCI circuitry in a self-contained enclosure with plug blades in the back and receptacle slots in the front. It can then be plugged into a receptacle, and the electrical products are plugged into the GFCI. [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=1] [/size][/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=1]Cambridge Campus: [/size][/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=1]46 Blackstone Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 617.495.2060 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=1]Longwood Campus: [/size][/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=1]4 Blackfan Street – B84, Boston, MA 02115 617.432.1720 www.uos.harvard.edu/ehs [/size][/FONT]Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter FACT SHEET [FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=3]Page 3 of 3 [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] [/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]Another type of portable GFCI is an extension cord combined with a GFCI. It adds flexibility in using receptacles that are not protected by GFCIs. [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]Portable GFCIs should only be used on a temporary basis and should be tested prior to every use. [/size][/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3] If you have wall receptacles, to properly test GFCI receptacles in your laboratory:

  1. Push the “Reset” button located on the GFCI receptacle, first to assure normal GFCI operation.

[/size] 1. Plug a light (with an “ON/OFF” switch) into the GFCI receptacle and turn the light “ON.”

  1. Push the “Test” button located on the GFCI receptacle. The light should go “OFF.”
  2. Push the “Reset” button, again. The light or other electrical device should go “ON” again.

If the light or other electrical device remains “ON” when the “Test” button is pushed, the GFCI is not working properly or has been incorrectly installed (miswired). Receptacles maybe wired in a series, the GFCI will provide protection to the receptacles after the GFCI receptacle. If your GFCI is not working properly, call your Building Manager. A qualified electrician can assess the situation, rewire the GFCI if necessary or replace the device.
GFCIs are proven lifesavers, however, Laboratory staff must take a few minutes each month to do this simple test. By taking action, you can help protect yourself from the risk of electric shock.
[/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]R[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2]ESOURCES[/size][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=3]: [/size][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][size=2] Consumer Product Safety Commission
GFCIs Fact Sheet
CPSC Document #99
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/99.html
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Health & Safety Administration
Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)
eTool : Construction - Preventing Fatalities | Occupational Safety and Health Administration
GFCIs – A SMALL INVESTMENT, A BIG LIFESAVER UL Recommends Regular Testing of GFCIs
http://www.ul.com/consumers/groundfault.html
Electrical Safety: Safety and Health for Electrical Trades Student Manual. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2002-123, (2002, January).
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/pdfs/02-123.pdf
[/size][/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=1] [/size][/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=1]Cambridge Campus: [/size][/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=1]46 Blackstone Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 617.495.2060 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=1]Longwood Campus: [/size][/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia][size=1]4 Blackfan Street – B84, Boston, MA 02115 617.432.1720 www.uos.harvard.edu/ehs [/size][/FONT]
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In my earlier post I did not mention the chest type freezer in the basement which is on GFCI that supplies the outside receptacles as I only use it for my kills that will be mounted someday but it hasn’t tripped either. I don’t understand how a client’s loss could result in your cost if the receptacle is required to be GFCI protected. You did you job so there should be no liability.

I suppose you are saying that I don’t live in a real world.

because someone does not know what they are doing

Then I suggest that you talk with someone else due to the fact that the NEC is clear on these issues.
210.8(A) (7) Sinks — located in areas other than kitchens where receptacles are installed within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the outside edge of the sink

On a side note, how many times did that washer trip the GFCI? We all know that the washer will cycle more times than a frig or freezer

To paraphrase Roy’s post…

What makes you believe that the GFCI is not just “doing its job?” You may actually have a ground-fault, which is a potentially deadly condition.

2 different lathes serviced multiple times for the issue, plugged into multiple different GFCI’s, with and without the equipment ground connected, still ending with the GFCI tripping. My guess was the energy lost as heat in the motor was surpassing the 5mv threshold for the GFCI’s. Though, using that logic a toaster would trip a gfci, so it’s a mystery that the equipment repair people and the electricians have given up on. So…the extension cord is the way for now.

You cannot compare an Industrial Brake Lathe with a Residential Refridgerator! Not the same by a long shot!