GFCI Question...

I tested a GFCI installed in the garage. The down stair’s bath receptacle
was also tied to it.

It took 20 min to reset upon being tripped.
Is this acceptable?


Assuming the load that tripped the GFCI is no longer applied, it should reset immediately. If not, report it as defective.

20 min to reset, does that include time it took you to find it?


E3703.4 Bathroom branch circuits. A minimum of one
20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to supply bathroom
receptacle outlet(s). Such circuits shall have no other outlets.

Exception: Where the 20-ampere circuit supplies a single
bathroom, outlets for other equipment within the same bathroom
shall be permitted to be supplied in accordance with
Section E3702.

*Commentary: *This section requires a dedicated branch circuit for the
bathroom receptacle outlet(s). Section E3901.6 provides
rules for the location of the receptacle(s). Two
choices are available for the branch circuit serving the
bathroom(s) in the house.

  1. One 20-ampere-rated circuit may serve the required
    receptacle(s) in all the bathrooms in the
    house. In this case, no other outlets may be
    served by this circuit. The bathroom lighting and
    any fan or heat lamps would be served by a distinct
    general purpose branch circuit.

  2. A 20-ampere circuit may serve only one bathroom.
    For additional bathrooms in the house,
    additional separate circuits would be run. The
    one circuit for the single bathroom supplies the
    required receptacle(s) and is also permitted to
    serve lighting and equipment in the bathroom
    such as an exhaust fan and/or heat lamp. Because
    this circuit is subject to the provisions of
    Section E3702, the load of the other equipment
    can be a maximum of 50 percent of the rating of
    the branch circuit.

The bathroom receptacle must be Ground Fault Interrupters
(GFCI) protected, but lighting and other
equipment is not required to be GFCI protected unless
otherwise stated as a condition of the listing of a
fixture or equipment. Some electricians supply the
luminaires and fans in a bathroom from a GFCI protected
circuit to provide additional safety for the occupants
who come in contact with the luminaires, fans
and switches.

That section posted by JF is the current requirement. Back in the 80s it was common for one GFI to protect areas outside the bathroom like the exterior and garage receptacles. This was fine at the time.


Thanks Joe…

David, you ignored the part that this was acceptable under certain older code editions. You may be writing up something unnecessararily. It would depend on the code cycle at the time of the install.

Jim is right and was very clear.

Thanks Jim.

But that does not take away from the fact that the unit may be defective, thus, reportable.

Location is secondary to function. If it is installed, it must function properly.

I have had a few hesitate to reset. I do not know why; maybe gunk or paint around the reset button. They seem to be older models. I often recommend updating to newer devices as a precaution. New GFCI are perhaps better than old and old is better than none. Interesting Wiki article.

I did not proof it but it was an interesting read.

Product Safety Tips:

UL Recommends Regular Testing of GFCIs

December 20, 2003: Underwriters Laboratories periodically revises requirements in its Standards for Safety to harmonize with international requirements, address code and safety issues, and accommodate new product developments as applicable. UL has adopted new and revised requirements for Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupters (GFCIs) that become effective January 1, 2003. Among others, these requirements include enhanced requirements for immunity to voltage surges, resistance to moisture and corrosion, reverse line-load miswiring, and resistance to environmental noise. Though products meeting these revised requirements will soon enter the marketplace, they are not required to have any special markings to distinguish them from models made prior to January 1, 2003. Models of GFCIs Listed by UL that were manufactured and labeled prior to January 1, 2003 still may appear in the marketplace after January 1, 2003, and until such time as old stocks of GFCIs become exhausted.

Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) can help prevent electrocution inside and outside the home. GFCIs are an effective means of protecting against electrical shock, however, they must be tested regularly – UL recommends once a month – to verify they are working properly.
“Ground faults” are often the result of damaged appliance cords or consumers who use electrical products in wet environments, such as bathrooms or swimming pool decks. By installing GFCIs in every home in the United States, the U.S. Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that more than two-thirds of the approximately 300 electrocutions occurring each year could be prevented. The advantage of using GFCIs is that they detect even those amounts of electricity too small for your fuse or circuit breaker to activate and shut off the circuit.
Like all products, GFCIs can be damaged. GFCIs damaged by lightning or electrical surges may fail to provide adequate protection. A simple test once a month and after any violent thunderstorm should be conducted.

To properly test GFCI receptacles in your home:

  • Push the “Reset” button located on the GFCI receptacle, first to assure normal GFCI operation.
  • Plug a nightlight (with an “ON/OFF” switch) or other product (such as a lamp) into the GFCI receptacle and turn the product “ON.”
  • Push the “Test” button located on the GFCI receptacle. The nightlight or other product should go “OFF.”
  • Push the “Reset” button, again. The light or other product should go “ON” again.

If the light or other product remains “ON” when the “Test” button is pushed, the GFCI is not working properly or has been incorrectly installed (miswired). If your GFCI is not working properly, call a qualified, certified electrician who can assess the situation, rewire the GFCI if necessary or replace the device.
“GFCIs are proven lifesavers, however, consumers need to take a few minutes each month to do this simple test. By taking action, you can help protect your family from the risk of electric shock,” says John Drengenberg, UL Consumer Affairs Manager.
Several types of GFCIs may be installed in/around your home. Look for the UL Mark on GFCIs when purchasing them or when specifying the product to your electrician.
Wall Receptacle GFCI – 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.
Circuit Breaker GFCI – In homes 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.
Portable GFCI – 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. 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. Portable GFCIs should only be used on a temporary basis and should be tested prior to every use.
Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization that has been testing products for more than a century. More than 16 billion products bearing the UL Mark enter the marketplace every year.

An oldie but goodie…;)- HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!