When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required in the kitchen?
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Receptacles in the kitchen were first required to be GFCI-protected by the 1987 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC), and initially only for counter receptacles within 6 feet of a sink. That was expanded to include all kitchen countertop receptacles with the 1996 NEC.
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.
There are specific kitchen counter receptacle spacing requirements per the code, which you can review at our blog post How far apart should kitchen counter receptacles be spaced? Also, we suggest reading How far above a kitchen countertop do electrical outlets have to be?
As of the 2014 NEC edition, kitchen 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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