Follow-up on new GFCI code requirement

Remodeling a Kitchen? Think about updating GFCI outlets.

This is an update of a blog I wrote last year regarding new NEC requirements for GFCI plugs as of June 29, 2015.

New Rules on GFCI Receptacles

We purchased an older home recently, and did major remodeling including the kitchen. We had some electrical issues in the kitchen, so I called in an electrician to analyze and fix the problem. Not just an electrician, this fellow was an electrical inspector who did some odd jobs on weekends.

GFCI-Outlet

New GFCI Outlet

He addressed and fixed the main problem I had which related to the lack of adequate power in my kitchen. While he was there, I asked him to install new GFCI outlets in my kitchen. We had a brief discussion regarding the new code, and he informed me that GFCI plugs should not be used for the refrigerator. THIS IS WRONG, and it is widely misunderstood by the trade. The new NEC code which went into effect June 29, 2015 requires the new self-monitoring GFCI's in the kitchen, but does make an exception for a refrigerator in the kitchen. That does not mean that the GFCI is not a good idea for the refrigerator, but an exception is granted where needed (see below). Here's what you should know:

At one time, twenty years or more ago, refrigerators and freezers had large compressors, that had large power requirements when they turned on, a “surge” if you will. Old model refrigerators provided a lot of cooling very quickly, then turned off for a long time, and then kicked back on when the refrigerator warmed up. A refrigerator or freezer kicking on might unnecessarily trigger the circuit breaker and disconnect power to the refrigerator. This could result in food loss or spoilage. However, today's refrigerators have smaller compressors that run all the time at variable speeds, eliminating the “surge” and keeping temperatures even. Refrigerators today pose little risk of tripping a circuit breaker. In fact, if they do trip the circuit breaker, it is likely there is an underlying cause that needs to be addressed.

The real lesson for you is that if you have any electrical work done in your kitchen or baths, it is a good idea to update your electrical receptacles with new outlets that are compliant to the latest NEC requirements.


For more information call or visit the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply .

Appliances, floor coverings, window treatments, and more

Arizona Wholesale

Phoenix 602 258-7901, Scottsdale 480 596-0092, Tucson 520 795-4663

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New Rules on GFCI Receptacles

Heads Up: Builders and Contractors

GFCI rules changing again on June 29th, 2015

UL 943 Changes

The new rule requires that GFCI receptacles manufactured on or after June 29, 2015 must have:

  1. An auto-monitoring function that will allow for periodic automatic testing (self-test) of the GFCI device and its ability to respond to a ground fault. If a problem is detected the GFCI will disconnect power to anything connected to it or indicate that there is a problem using visual or audible means.
  2. Provisions to ensure that any receptacle type GFCI that contains separate line and load terminals, and that is powered through its load terminals, shall not reset and supply power to its receptacle face or line terminals if miswired. This applies both during its initial installation and after reinstallation following a correctly wired installation. If the device is provided with special instructions for removal and reinstallation, the instructions shall be followed during testing.

Provision 1 is self-explanatory. From June 29th, 2015 forward, manufacturers of GFCI receptacles, will need to build receptacles that meet the new UL criteria. That is, the receptacle itself must have the ability to verify that it will disconnect power in the event of a ground fault, and provide a warning either visibly or audibly.

Provision 2 seems a bit more confusing, but essentially it requires that if the GFCI receptacle is mis-wired, it cannot simply be reset. The receptacle must be removed, and replaced or removed and re-installed following the procedure specified by the GFCI manufacturer. In the past, some GFCI receptacles could simply be reset without necessarily correcting the cause of the malfunction.

The good news in all this is that the regulation effective date applies to the manufacturer. Existing inventory manufactured before June 29, 2015 may still be used, but GFCI receptacles manufactured on or after June 29, 2015 must comply to the new provisions of the regulation.

So, builders and contractors need to be aware of this new regulation and understand that over the coming months they'll begin to see the new GFCI receptacles show up in the supply chain.


For more information call or visit the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply .

Appliances, floor coverings, window treatments, and more

Arizona Wholesale

Phoenix 602 258-7901, Scottsdale 480 596-0092, Tucson 520 795-4663

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