Examining Adjustments to Chapter 2: Accepting (NEC) change, part 6

Shutterstock / Mooi Design
Shutterstock / Mooi Design
Published On
Jul 15, 2022

Welcome to Chapter 2 of the 2023 National Electrical Code. This is always the most modified chapter because so much of the Code depends on it.

200.2 General. Previously, this section also applied to the impedance grounded system conductor of an impedance grounded neutral system. However, it doesn’t meet the definition of a grounded conductor, so this article no longer applies to any conductor of an impedance grounded system. More on that when we cover Section 250.36.

210.6(D) 1,000 Volts AC or 1,500 Volts DC Between Conductors. The AC voltage limit of this section was increased from 600V to 1,000V. A new limit of 1,500V DC was added.

210.6(E) Over 600 Volts Between Conductors. This subsection was deleted, because the limits were changed and the requirements for branch circuits exceeding 1,000V AC and 1,500V DC are now covered by Article 235.

210.8 Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for Personnel. There are several changes in this section and its subsections. First, GFCI protection that provides personnel protection is now referred to as Class A GFCI protection. Other classes of protection were covered in the May column under the Article 100 definition for GFCI protection. In addition, this section now requires GFCI protective devices to be listed.

210.8(A) Dwelling Units. There are several changes in this section. The informational note following 210.8(A)(5) was deleted because this is covered in Article 760. The requirement for GFCI protection in kitchens now applies to all kitchen receptacles. Section 210.8(A)(7) now applies to all areas of a dwelling with sinks and permanent provisions for food and beverage preparation or cooking. Bathroom exhaust fan assemblies often contain receptacles so that the fan can easily be replaced. Since those receptacles are only for the convenience of replacing exhaust fans and are not readily accessible, they are not required to be GFCI-protected.

210.8(B) Other Than Dwelling Units. There were several changes to the GFCI requirements in this section that apply to 125V–250V receptacles supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150V or less to ground, 50A or less, and all receptacles supplied by three-phase branch circuits rated 150V or less to ground, 100A or less.

The requirements for kitchens have been revised so that they apply to all receptacles in kitchens outside of dwelling units. The GFCI requirements also apply to areas with sinks and permanent provision for food and beverage serving or cooking. This would now apply to ice cream stands, bars and buffet serving areas.

GFCI protection is now required for receptacles supplying appliances within 6 feet of the top inside edge of sink bowls, regardless of the receptacle’s location. GFCI protection is also now required for receptacles located within 6 feet of aquariums, bait wells and similar open aquatic vessels or containers.

The exceptions were relocated to the bottom of the list following (15). The current wording of the exceptions no longer requires that they reference specific list items.

Exception No. 6 was revised to refer to weight-supporting ceiling receptacles and attachment fittings by their new terminology.

210.8(D) GFCI Protection for Personnel—Specific Appliances. The list of specific appliances requiring GFCI protection was relocated to Article 422 in 2020. It is now back in Section 210.8(D), which requires that the protection be provided in the branch circuit. Added appliances include electric ranges, wall-mounted ovens, countermounted cooking units, clothes dryers and microwave ovens.

210.8(F) GFCI Protection for Personnel—Outdoor Outlets was editorially revised to clarify the language and make it consistent with 210.8(A). It was also expanded to provide a list of dwelling areas covered by the GFCI requirements for these outlets, including:

  • Garages that have floors located at or below grade level
  • Accessory buildings
  • All outdoor outlets for dwellings other than those that are not readily accessible and that are dedicated for snow melting, de-icing or pipeline or vessel heating
  • Boathouses

Article 100 defines outlet as “A point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment.” Receptacle outlets are one type of outlet. A direct connection of an appliance to premises wiring is an appliance outlet, which is included by the requirement for GFCI protection.

The most significant change in this section is that if equipment that is not GFCI-protected is replaced, the outlet is now required to be GFCI-protected.

210.11(C)(4) Garage Branch Circuits clarifies that garages must be supplied by at least one 20A branch circuit for each vehicle bay. The circuits are permitted to supply other garage receptacles.

In a garage with a single vehicle bay, the circuit is permitted to supply other outlets, which can include lighting outlets.

Exception No. 1 has been clarified to indicate that the 20A branch circuit is permitted to supply outdoor receptacle outlets.

Additional branch circuits rated 15A are permitted to supply other receptacle outlets, provided the required 20A branch circuits are provided to supply the required receptacles.

210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection. This section was rewritten. All AFCI devices are required to be listed and to be installed in readily accessible locations. Section 210.12(A) has a new title, “Means of Protection,” and now only addresses the equipment for each method of protection. The list of dwelling areas requiring AFCI protection is now in 210.12(B), including garages and bathrooms, with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2025. Section 210.12(C), “Dormitory Units,” has been changed into list format to make it easier to use and apply. It will now also apply to 10A branch circuits.

Section 210.12(D) is now titled “Other Occupancies,” but it includes guest rooms, guest suites and patient sleeping rooms in nursing homes and limited-care facilities. Areas designated as sleeping quarters in fire, police, ambulance, rescue and ranger stations, as well as similar occupancies have been added.

The title of 210.12(E) has been simplified because it wasn’t necessary to list all the occupancies in the title of this subsection, since the requirement for branch-circuit extensions would apply to any of the occupancies requiring AFCI protection.

210.18 Rating. This section now recognizes 10A branch circuits and prohibits 10A branch circuits from supplying receptacle loads.

210.19 Conductors—Minimum Ampacity and Size. This section now applies to AC circuits of 1,000V AC or less, or 1,500V DC or less. Branch circuits exceeding those values are now covered in Article 235.

210.23 Permissible Loads, Multiple-Outlet Branch Circuits. Similar to Section 210.18, this section was revised to establish requirements for 10A branch circuits. Section 210.23(A)(1) lists the permitted loads, while 210.23(A)(2) lists the loads that are not permitted.

210.52(A)(2) Wall Space. Wall space is a key criterion used to establish the general requirements for the number and location of wall receptacles needed in kitchens, family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, sunrooms, bedrooms, recreation rooms and similar rooms in dwellings. Since receptacle installation is impractical on some wall spaces, Section 210.52(A)(2) indicates which wall spaces must be considered when determining the need for receptacles. 210.52(A)(2)(1) was updated to add that the wall space behind stationary appliances need not be considered as wall space that requires receptacles.

210.52(C) Countertops and Work Surfaces. The requirements for receptacles for countertops and work surfaces have seen significant revision for 2023. Receptacles supplying countertops must be located so that no point along the wall line is more than 2 feet from a receptacle. The first exception for the space behind ranges, countertop-mounted cooking units and sinks remains. A second exception has been added, along with a revised figure, which indicates that if a receptacle can’t be located in the area shown in the figure, it is permitted to be located as near as practical, as long as the minimum number of receptacles is not less than the number to satisfy 210.52(C)(1).

Receptacles for peninsular and island countertops and work surfaces are no longer required, but are permitted. Receptacle requirements have evolved over the years. The most recent iteration was based on the area of the countertop surface. During this Code cycle, information was presented to the panel on accidents involving appliances pulled off countertops by children, which caused the panel to reconsider the previous requirements. Receptacles are permitted to be installed on or above the countertop, but not below the countertop. If installed in the countertop, they must be listed for use there. If installed in a work surface, they must be listed for use in work surfaces or countertops. Although a receptacle outlet is not required, if one is not provided to serve an island or peninsular countertop or work surface, Section 210.52(C)(3) requires “provisions” to be provided at the island or peninsula for future addition of a receptacle outlet.

About the Author

Mark Earley

Mark Earley, P.E., is an electrical engineer. Retired from the National Fire Protection Association, he was secretary of the National Electrical Code Committee for 30 years and is president of Alumni Code Consulting Group.

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