Please see January issue of Electrical Contracor for referenced figures.

210.8(A) Dwelling Units

Beginning with this issue, In Focus will reference the 2002 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Local (state, city, etcetera) agencies and jurisdictions may adopt each new edition of the Code at a time of their choosing. Some jurisdictions adopt the new edition early in the year, some late in the year, and some choose to adopt the new NEC a year or more after it is published. Besides changes within the language of the code, the 2002 edition also presents a new appearance and format. The dashes within the section numbers have been replaced with dots.

For example, 210-8 is now 210.8. The letters directly under the section numbers are now capitalized. For example, 210-8(a) is now 210.8(A). Although code requirements are usually more stringent in the newest edition of the NEC, some new provisions are not permitted in previous editions. Therefore, reference the edition that has been adopted in your area.

Receptacles installed in certain locations must have ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) protection for personnel. These requirements, along with some exceptions, are stipulated in 210.8. While 210.8(A) covers dwelling units, 210.8(B) covers all other occupancies. In dwelling units, there are eight locations where 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles must have GFCI protection for personnel.

Two options are available for providing GFCI protection. With the use of a GFCI breaker, the whole branch circuit can be protected. Where protection is needed for one duplex receptacle, a GFCI receptacle can be installed. A GFCI receptacle can also be employed to protect other outlets down the line. The branch-circuit conductors feeding the receptacle are connected to the receptacle’s line terminals. The branch-circuit conductors feeding other outlets that require GFCI protection are connected to the receptacle’s load terminals. (See Figure 1.)

All 125-volt receptacle outlets installed in dwelling-unit bathrooms must have GFCI protection. (See Figure 2.) Since there is no exception provided for bathroom receptacles, any receptacle located in an area defined as a bathroom must have GFCI protection. A bathroom, as defined in Article 100, is an area that includes a basin (lavatory or sink) and also includes one or more of the following: a toilet, a tub, or a shower. A bathroom is an area... it is not necessarily a single room.

All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in garages must have GFCI protection, unless they meet one of two exceptions. A garage is defined as a building (or portion of a building) in which self-propelled vehicle(s) are kept for use, sale, storage, rental, repair, exhibition, or demonstration purposes. For the purpose of this section, there is no difference between attached and detached garages.

GFCI protection is also required for receptacles located in accessory buildings where: (1) the floor is located at or below grade level, (2) they are not intended as habitable rooms, and (3) they are limited to storage areas, work areas, and areas of similar use.

The first exception (for garages and certain accessory buildings) pertains to receptacles that are not readily accessible. Receptacles that are not readily accessible do not require GFCI protection. “Readily accessible” means capable of being reached quickly without having to climb over (or remove) obstacles, or resort to portable ladders. [Article 100] A good example of this would be a receptacle (single or duplex) installed in a garage ceiling providing power to an electric garage door opener. Unless the receptacle is readily accessible, GFCI protection is not required. (See Figure 3.)

The second exception pertains to receptacle(s) feeding appliance(s) that are located within a dedicated space. A single receptacle supplying power to a single appliance that, in normal use, is not easily moved from one place to another does not require GFCI protection. Exception No. 2 also specifies that the appliance must be cord-and-plug connected in accordance with 400.7(A)(6) through (8).

For example, a receptacle has been installed in a garage behind, and slightly above, the top of a chest freezer. If a single receptacle is installed, GFCI protection is not required. A single receptacle installed on a branch circuit with no other receptacle or outlet must have an ampere rating equal to the circuit’s ampere rating. [210.21(B)(1)] In this example, a 20-ampere branch circuit is feeding the freezer. (See Figure 4.)

If a duplex receptacle is installed, the receptacle must have GFCI protection. Because other receptacles in the garage may be hidden, possibly behind shelving or boxes, the receptacle behind the freezer may be the most convenient power source available for the homeowner. If an outlet were available, it would be easy for the homeowner to reach over the freezer and plug in an extension cord. Therefore, if a duplex receptacle is installed, if must be GFCI protected. (See Figure 5.)

The same exception stipulates that a duplex receptacle supplying power to two appliances that, in normal use, are not easily moved from one place to another do not require GFCI protection. For example, a duplex receptacle has been installed in a garage behind, and slightly above, the top of a chest freezer. Beside the freezer is a full-size refrigerator. Since both appliances are not easily moved from one place to another, the duplex receptacle does not require GFCI protection.

The difference between this example and the previous example is the number of appliances. (See Figure 6.)
Inside the same garage is a single receptacle supplying power to a sump pump. Since the sump pump, in normal use, is not easily moved from one place to another, GFCI protection is not required for the single receptacle. If a duplex receptacle is installed, it must have GFCI protection for personnel.

A receptacle located in a garage supplying power to a washing machine must also comply with GFCI requirements. For example, a washing machine and clothes dryer are located in the garage. A laundry branch circuit supplies power to a 125-volt, single-phase, 20-ampere receptacle behind the washing machine. Unless a single receptacle is installed, GFCI protection is required. (See Figure 7.)

A laundry (or utility) room off of the garage is not one of the areas covered in 210.8. Therefore, a duplex receptacle installed for the washing machine does not require GFCI protection. (See Figure 8.)

As stated in 210.11(C)(1), the laundry receptacle outlet must be supplied by a 20-ampere branch circuit. Also, receptacle outlets outside of the laundry area are not permitted on the laundry branch circuit.

Next month’s In Focus, resuming with 210.8(A)(3) will continue discussion of ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.

MILLER, owner of Lighthouse Educational Services, teaches custom-tailored classes and conducts seminars covering various aspects of the electrical industry. He is the author of Illustrated Guide to the National Electrical Code. For more information, visit his Web site at www.charlesRmiller.com. He can be reached by phone at (615) 333-3336, or via e-mail at charles@charlesRmiller.com.