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When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required in a laundry room?
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Receptacles within 6 feet of a laundry sink were first required to be GFCI-protected by the 2005 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). The code mandate was later expanded to include any receptacles in a laundry room in the 2014 NEC.
Because, by definition, where the washing machine is located becomes the laundry, the two phases of this requirement meant that initially a washing machine receptacle only needed to be GFCI if within 6 feet of a sink in the room, but the 2014 change means all washers must have GFCI-protection. So the washing machine receptacle shown below at the arrow now must be GFCI.
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.
Also, see our blog post What electrical hazards does a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) NOT protect against? and Are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) really necessary and worth the trouble?
As of the 2014 NEC edition, laundry room outlets are also required to be AFCI-protected. See our blog post When did arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breakers first become required? for the details.
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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