The National Electrical Code [NEC 210.8 (A)(2)] requires ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) protection for “all 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles” installed in “accessory buildings that have a floor located at or below grade level not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas, work areas, and areas of similar use.” That pretty clearly defines a detached storage shed and means any receptacles inside should be GFCI-protected. It has been argued, but unsuccessfully, that a shed mounted on skids does not constitute “on grade.”
Since a backyard shed may have the closest available receptacle for plugging in electric gardening tools like a string trimmer, lawn mower, or leaf blower, making sure that it has the wet-environment shock protection provided by a GFCI just makes good sense.
See our blog post Where are GFCI receptacle outlets required? for the other code-mandated locations, and What electrical hazards does a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) NOT protect against? for what they don’t do.
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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about AFCI and GFCI RECEPTACLES AND CIRCUIT BREAKERS:
• Do I need GFCI for barn receptacle outlets?
• Does a septic pump or sump pump require a GFCI-receptacle?
• What is the difference between what trips a GFCI (ground fault) receptacle and a circuit breaker?
• Are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) really necessary and worth the trouble?
• What is the code requirement for GFCI protection for receptacles near a wet bar sink?
• When was GFCI-protection for kitchen dishwasher receptacle outlet first required?
• When did arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breakers first become required?
• Does a washing machine receptacle outlet require GFCI protection?
• My spa tub stopped working. What's wrong?
• How do I identify a combination AFCI (CAFCI) circuit breaker?
• What does "listed and labeled" mean for an electrical component?
• What is the difference between GFCI and AFCI circuit breakers?
• When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required?
• What happens when you press the "TEST" button on a circuit breaker in an electric panel?
• What is the difference between the electric service to a mobile home and a site built home?
• Why is there a wall switch next to the furnace or indoor unit of the air conditioner in the garage?
• What is a Dual Function Circuit Interrupter (DFCI)?
• How I can tell if a receptacle outlet is tamper resistant?
• What is the difference between a Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (CAFCI) and an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) circuit breaker?
• What is the difference between "grounded" and "grounding" electrical conductors?
• What does it mean when a wire is "overstripped" at a circuit breaker?
• Why is there a GFCI breaker in the electric panel for the bathroom shower light and exhaust fan?
• What is the switch on the wall with two pushbuttons?
• How far apart should kitchen counter receptacles be spaced?
• How far above a kitchen countertop do electrical outlets have to be?
• How is it possible to provide both GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) and CAFCI (Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) protection for kitchen and laundry circuits?
• My bathroom electric receptacle/outlet is dead and there are no tripped breakers in the electric panel. What's wrong?
• My GFCI reset button is hard to push and won't reset. What's wrong?
• Why do some breakers in my electric panel have a "TEST" button on them?
Visit our AFCI AND GFCI page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.