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.


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Induction Cooktops

Three Criteria for a New Induction Cooktop

Price, Power, and Features

You're already convinced that you want a new induction cooktop, and why not? Instant on and off, super safe, amazing cleanup, and more. It's time to make the move! But which model should I choose? What size should I buy? How much should I pay? What bells and whistles are really worth having? Read on.

Power

One of the reasons for buying an induction cooktop is the amazing speed that you get with induction cooktops. By all means, your new cooktop should have a power burner which will bring water to a boil as fast as lightning. Seriously, ask your sales associate what the wattage is on the largest induction element. It's not a perfect measure, but is a good indication of what kind of speed you'll have. But let's face it, ALL of these cooktops are going to beat any conventional cooktop on time to boil. Jenn-Air touts a “fastest to boil” feature on their power element.

Features

Thermador-Freedom

Thermador

There are a host of feature differences on different induction brands and models. For example, you might prefer a bridge element: two elements connect to offer the option of cooking with an oblong pan. Various convection tops have large power elements. Thermador has a unique Freedom cooktop that enables pots and pans to be placed anywhere on the cooking surface.

Price

Whirlpool-Induction

Whirlpool

Now that induction cooktops have been around for some time, prices have moderated some, but they're still not inexpensive. On the other hand, it's hard to find a user that doesn't love cooking with induction. You don't want to pay more than is necessary, but you also don't want to go so low that you're disappointed in the outcome. GE, Frigidaire, and Whirlpool are popular priced brands that each offer induction cooktops. Consult with your builder or designer, and make sure you visit with the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply.


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

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Myths About Appliances

Researching Appliance Energy Claims

Major-Appliances

Do Appliances Use Significant Power when they're not running?

I like to do some research when I post blogs that make claims or contain data. Unfortunately, many online blogs and posts seem to mislead us rather than enlighten us. Recently, I came across a blog from an appliance “expert” (an appliance parts house), referring to myths about appliances. Here is the author's claim regarding one of the appliance myths he purports to expose:

MYTH

Appliances don't use power while in stand-by mode: FALSE. Almost all home appliances and electronics continue to consume power when in “stand-by”. Check out these stand-by power consumption rates:

  1. Microwave oven: up to 6 watts per hour
  2. Ranges: up to 4.1 watts per hour
  3. *Telephone: up to 5 watts per hour

In some cases, appliances in stand-by mode can consume as much as 15-30 watts per hour – that's a lot of power usage day after day, week after week.

Not so Fast

OK, let's assume that leaving all our appliances in “stand-by mode”, whatever that means, will consume as much as 15-30 watts per hour, BUT to say that “that's a lot of power usage…” doesn't ring true to me.

Let's do the math:

30 watts per hour = .03KWH (kilowatt hours)

Let's see how much it costs to keep our appliances in “standby mode” for a month.

.03KWH X 24 hours = .72 KWH per day X 30 days = 21.6 KWH per month. X $.12** per KWH = $2.59 per month.

Now, this estimate is at the very high end. Using the author's own data, this could be 15 watts rather than 30, making the cost per month under $1.30. I'm not happy that my “standby” appliances cost as much as a couple bucks a month to keep running, but I can live with it.

Conclusion

HE-Topload-Washer

Let's put all this in perspective. Your major appliances are going to cost you far more in energy costs (electric and/or gas) than $1.30 per month. If you really want to cut down on appliance energy costs, unplugging your microwave when it's not in use is quite trivial. It's also a pain to reset the clock each time you plug it back in. However, replacing an old agitator-type washing machine with a new high-efficiency washer will get you significant savings. Maybe as much as $130 a year according to Lifehacker.

* When did a telephone become an appliance?

** $.12 per KWH = national average cost of electricity. Electricity costs vary greatly across the country.


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

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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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Kitchen Remodeling Tip 2: GFCI Circuits

GFCI Circuits in your Kitchen

Our last blog on kitchen remodeling covered electrical issues that might occur.

Kitchen Remodeling Tip: Check Electrical Needs

In my case, I had an older house with appliances (refrigerator and built-in micro-hood) each wired on circuits with other electrical outlets rather than on separate circuits. It was not practical to add separate circuits for these two appliances, but we were able to move the microwave to a different circuit with lower total power demand which resolved any power shortage issues. Also, It was not necessary to to move the refrigerator to another circuit.

Now, we’re going to cover the issues regarding GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) in an older house.

GFCI

GFCI-Outlet

GFCI Outlet

Originally, the NEC code required GFCI receptacles only in the garage and bathrooms. Over the years, the code has been regularly amended, to include kitchens, and laundry areas. What is a GFCI receptacle?

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. In brief, a GFCI receptacle monitors electricity passing through any plugged in device for an imbalance. The GFCI receptacle breaks the circuit if there is more than a 5 milliamp difference between the electrical current entering and the current leaving. The result is that any device plugged into a GFCI receptacle with a short or a wiring issue will be disconnected in about .025 seconds.

In my particular instance, for some reason we had no GFCI receptacles in the house. So I had the electrician add GFCI receptacles to the bathrooms and the kitchen areas so we’d be up to code. However, I’ve just learned that the latest revision to the code now has added a GFCI requirement for dishwashers. It’s easy to get frustrated over changing regulations, but when you consider that spending a few bucks on having the proper electrical outlet might save a life, it makes sense to be protected from electrical hazards.

For more information on GFCI or other remodeling or building issues contact your remodeling professional or homebuilder.


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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