GFI Outlets and Your Home Inspection Report
Articles 210 addresses "branch circuits" (as opposed to service or feeder circuits) and receptacles and fixtures on branch circuits. There are requirements for the minimum number of branches, and placement of receptacles, according to the location and purpose of the receptacle outlet. A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is required for all receptacles in wet locations, eg: outlets in bathrooms, outdoors and kitchens, and, in addition, for dwelling units: crawl-spaces, garages, boathouses, unfinished basements, and within 6 feet (1.8 m) of a wet-bar sink, with limited exceptions. See NEC for details. The NEC also has rules about such things as how many circuits and receptacles/outlets should be placed in a given residential dwelling, and how far apart they can be in a given type of room, based upon the typical cord-length of small appliances (for example, not more than 12 feet apart, or 4 feet apart on kitchen countertops).
As of 1962 the NEC required that new 120-volt household receptacle outlets, for general purpose use, be both grounded and polarized. NEMA has implemented this in its U.S. standard socket configurations so that:
- There must be a slot for a center-line, rounded pin connected to a common grounding conductor.
- The two blade-shaped slots must be of differing sizes, to prevent ungrounded (2-wire) devices which use "neutral" as their only grounding from being misconnected.
The NEC also has provisions that permit the use of grounding-type receptacles in nongrounded wiring (for example, the retrofit of 2-wire circuits) if a GFCI is used for protection of the new outlet (either itself or "downstream" from a GFCI). Art. 406.3(D)(3).
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