When was a kitchen refrigerator receptacle outlet first required to be GFCI-protected?
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
The change came with the 2014 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC), and it does not actually state that a refrigerator in the kitchen must be GFCI-protected. What it says is that any receptacle within 6 feet of the top edge of a sink bowl must have GFCI-protection. So many refrigerator receptacle outlets are going to fall within that 6-foot radius of the kitchen sink edge, but some will not.
Previously all kitchen counter receptacles were required to be GFCI, but other receptacle outlets around the kitchen were exempted. There was a requirement since the 1993 NEC for receptacles outlets within 6 feet of a laundry, utility, or wet bar sink to be GFCI, but it was expanded to include all sinks in the house with 2014 NEC.
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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