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When were receptacle outlets near a pool first required to be GFCI?
Sunday, May 26, 2019
The requirement for GFCI-protection for receptacles around a pool has been modified multiple times since the initial standard in 1971:
1971 - All receptacles within 15 feet of edge of pool in any direction must be GFCI-protected, but no receptacles allowed within 10 feet of edge of pool.
1984 - Expanded to all receptacles within 20 feet of edge of pool, still no receptacles allowed within 10 feet.
1996 - Exception made for receptacle outlet for pump but not within 5 feet of pool edge.
2008 - Distance from pool for no receptacles reduced to 6 feet.
The mandate for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Protection for receptacles in wet areas around the home began in the 1971 edition of the NEC, and at first only for exterior receptacles and ones near a swimming pool. As the NEC has updated with a new edition every three years, the locations required have been expanded or tweaked with almost every cycle since then. For a complete listing of each currently required location for GFCI-protection and when it was instituted, see our blog post When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required?
But, while the year that the NEC added a new location requirement is easy to define, each local juridiction’s building codes don’t necessarily adopt the latest edition of the NEC immediately. The state of Florida, for example, did not make the 2011 NEC effective until mid-2015. Other jurisdictions have sometimes waited even longer to adopt a newer NEC edition and, to complicate things further, they might make amendments that exclude parts of the newest requirements. So the year when the NEC first required GFCI-protection for a new receptacle location can be several years before your local building department adopted that edition of the code and began enforcing it.
One last note: GFCI-protection can be provided by a GFCI receptacle (one receptacle will protect others downstream in the circuit, which should be marked as GFCI protected), a GFCI circuit breaker in the electric panel, or a GFCI dead front (often used for indoor spa tubs, essentially a GFCI receptacle without the slots to plug in a cord, usually located in bathroom or next to electric panel).
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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about AFCI and GFCI RECEPTACLES AND CIRCUIT BREAKERS:
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