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Old 05-23-2012, 06:04 PM   #1
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Circuits in Garage and GFCI


I currently have a single 15 amp circuit in my garage with the first device in line being a GFCI outlet. Downstream from the outlet are all of the external outlets on the house.

As part of adding a second Main Breaker Panel in the garage, I want to add another 15 amp circuit and a 20 amp circuit. If the outlets for these circuits are easily accessible (typical outlet height), do they also have to begin with a GFCI breaker in the panel or a GFCI outlet as the first device downstream from the breaker?

I know my garage door opener is on its own separate 15 amp circuit and is plugged into a standard outlet in the garage ceiling with neither the breaker or the outlet being GFCI protected. However, this outlet is not easily accessible.

Also, I plan to plug my 15 amp air compressor into an outlet on the 20 amp circuit because 1 out of 4 times it will trip the 15 amp breaker (or the GFCI outlet) on the 15 amp circuit when it starts or shortly thereafter. It doesn't have the special 20 amp plug on it. I have read that you can use standard 15 amp receptacles on a 20 amp circuit (as long as there is more than one outlet on the circuit), but not if using the "push" lock connections (rated for max 15 amps). If you use the screw terminals they are typically rated for 20 amps. Are these interpretations correct?

If I do use a 20 amp outlet are there any code concerns with plugging a standard plug device into it which would leave the small "tee" on the one female terminal in the outlet potentially exposed?

One other thing. If the only outlet on a circuit in the garage is going directly from the breaker panel into an enclosure that houses data communications equipment (i.e. voice, video, and network switch/router) would this circuit be required to be GFCI protected either by the breaker or the outlet even though it is in an enclosure? I'm thinking this would not be considered easily accessible and would not require GFCI.

Best Regards,

Ted

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Old 05-23-2012, 06:13 PM   #2
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Circuits in Garage and GFCI


Under the latest NEC ALL 120 volt including ceiling mounted receptacles, require GFI protection.

The backstabs are only for #14 conductors and cannot be used for #12. Fifteen amp receptacles can be used on 20 amp circuits as long as there a 2 or more places to plug into.

The cord cap should cover any gap on the T slot.

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Last edited by Jim Port; 05-23-2012 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:16 PM   #3
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Circuits in Garage and GFCI


GFCI is required for garage for general purpose outlets. No wiggle room there. A dedicated 240V outlet would not need GFCI and you might be able to argue a dedicated outlet in a comms box doesn't need GFCI either (since it isn't general purpose). As for the comms box though, why the reluctance? GFCI's are cheap now so why not just put one in and avoid the doubt or slave a receptacle in the comms box from the load side of a GFCI already in the garage. Surely you are not drawing much power to such devices (home router, cable modem, xDSL modem), if you are drawing a lot of power then you will have thermal problems instead.
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:19 PM   #4
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Circuits in Garage and GFCI


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
Under the latest NEC ALL including ceiling mounted receptacles, require GFI protection.

The garage opener outlets require GFCI now? I wasn't aware of that. Seems a bit overkill for a dedicated device like that.
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:27 PM   #5
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Circuits in Garage and GFCI


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Originally Posted by curiousB View Post
The garage opener outlets require GFCI now? I wasn't aware of that. Seems a bit overkill for a dedicated device like that.
Yes, and the reset must be accessible. Mounting a GFI receptacle in the ceiling would not satisfy the code.

BTW, not all GDO receptacles are dedicated.
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:27 PM   #6
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Circuits in Garage and GFCI


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Originally Posted by curiousB View Post
GFCI is required for garage for general purpose outlets. No wiggle room there. A dedicated 240V outlet would not need GFCI and you might be able to argue a dedicated outlet in a comms box doesn't need GFCI either (since it isn't general purpose). As for the comms box though, why the reluctance? GFCI's are cheap now so why not just put one in and avoid the doubt or slave a receptacle in the comms box from the load side of a GFCI already in the garage. Surely you are not drawing much power to such devices (home router, cable modem, xDSL modem), if you are drawing a lot of power then you will have thermal problems instead.
I don't have a problem with putting a GFCI outlet in the comm box. I just wanted to confirm my understanding of "easily accessible". My house was built in 1998. Based on Jim Port's response it sounds like I need to replace the garage door opener outlet with a GFCI as well. I guess I'll see what the AHJ says when he comes to inspect the new breaker panel. He is having me install additional ground rod to bring that up to the new code requirement so he may make me swap out the garage door opener receptacle as well.

Best Regards,

Ted
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:38 PM   #7
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Circuits in Garage and GFCI


Ted, the NEC is not a retroactive document so the existing receptacle for the GDO should be allowed to continue as is.

Why does the inspector want another ground rod?
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:42 PM   #8
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Circuits in Garage and GFCI


bump for elec code explanation.

would the "easily accessible" explanation mean the garage door openers would need to have a gfci on the wall where it can be reset? I wouldn't think the ceiling could be thought of as easily accessible.

Last edited by bbo; 05-23-2012 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:48 PM   #9
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Circuits in Garage and GFCI


210.8 Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for
Personnel. Ground-fault circuit-interruption for personnel
shall be provided as required in 210.8(A) through (C). The
ground-fault circuit-interrupter shall be installed in a
readily accessible location.

Accessible, Readily (Readily Accessible). Capable of being
reached quickly for operation, renewal, or inspections
without requiring those to whom ready access is requisite
to climb over or remove obstacles or to resort to portable
ladders, and so forth.
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:59 PM   #10
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Circuits in Garage and GFCI


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
Ted, the NEC is not a retroactive document so the existing receptacle for the GDO should be allowed to continue as is.

Why does the inspector want another ground rod?
Jim,

I don't know if this is the reason, but I am adding a second main breaker panel (200 amp) next to me existing 150 amp panel and upgrading the meter box from 200 amp to 340/400 amp service at the same time. According to the AHJ, code now requires two 5/8" x 8' ground rods at least 6' apart both at the main dwelling and at my shed where I am planning to extend service from the new breaker panel to a sub-panel.

Best Regards,

Ted
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:00 PM   #11
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Circuits in Garage and GFCI


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
210.8 Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for Personnel. Ground-fault circuit-interruption for personnel
shall be provided as required in 210.8(A) through (C). The
ground-fault circuit-interrupter shall be installed in a
readily accessible location.

(A) All Occupancies. All 125-volt, single -phase, 15
and 20-ampere receptacles installed in the
locations specified in (1) through (9) shall have
ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for
personnel.
(1) Bathrooms
(2) Garages, and also accessory building that have a
floor located at or below grade level not intended
as habitable rooms and limited to storage area,
work areas, and areas of similar use

Exception No. 1 to (2): Receptacles that are not
readily accessible.



I thought this exception exempted the ceiling outlet for the GDO to be GFCI.....
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:04 PM   #12
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Circuits in Garage and GFCI


That exception has been deleted in the 2011.
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:05 PM   #13
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Circuits in Garage and GFCI


Makes sense now Ted, thanks.
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Old 05-24-2012, 07:01 AM   #14
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Circuits in Garage and GFCI


I believe one other exception is a dedicated ckt for a fridge or freezer that is in the garage.
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Old 05-24-2012, 08:14 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawg16 View Post
I believe one other exception is a dedicated ckt for a fridge or freezer that is in the garage.
That exception has also been removed.

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