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When are the GFCI PROTECTED and NO EQUIPMENT GROUND stickers required on receptacle outlets?
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
A three-slot receptacle outlet can be installed as a replacement for a two-slot ungrounded receptacle outlet in an older home when there is no ground connection available, according the National Electrical Code [NEC 405.4(D)(2)(b,c)], but only if the replacement receptacle is a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) type or is protected by one in the circuit.
At a GFCI receptacle outlet, only a “NO EQUIPMENT GROUND” sticker is required on the face plate. But, if the receptacle does not have the “TEST” and “RESET” buttons, then it must have both the “NO EQUIPMENT GROUND” and “GFCI PROTECTED” stickers, like in the photo above. The manufacturer puts a small sheet of them in each box with any GFCI device.
A receptacle outlet with GFCI but no ground could possibly allow any metal parts that it is connected to become “live," such as the receptacle box or the equipment shell of a refrigerator. The GFCI would trip, however, if the energized metal leaks any current to ground. Also, a refrigerator that is plugged into a GFCI-protected but ungrounded receptacle would set off a tic-tracer near the metal casing because the there is no ground wire to absorb the electromagnetic radiation it generates.
The “GFCI PROTECTED” stickers serve a second purpose, too. If the receptacle is dead, the sticker indicates that the most likely culprit is a nearby GFCI-receptacle that has tripped.
We get asked this all the time: “Is it really code that you have to put on these little stickers?” And the answer is yes, really.
Also, see our blog posts What is the difference between what trips a GFCI (ground fault) receptacle and a circuit breaker? and Are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) really necessary and worth the trouble?
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