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Old 02-02-2013, 03:46 PM   #1
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GFCI knowledge please


Hello. Did a search and didn't see much regarding general knowledge; only seeing results for specific needs.

I am fuzzy on the who/what/wheres regarding GFCI. Hopefully someone can enlighten me!

We have a switched outlet for the garbage disposal in the kitchen under the sink. I was under the impression that anything within 6 inches or so of a water source needs to be GFCI protected. The receptacle is a standard one, and neither the receptacle nor the switch (above the counter) is protected by any of the other outlets in the kitchen above the counter. There are 3 GFCI outlets above the counter top. Does this disposal receptacle need protection?

Additionally, I was under the impression that every outlet in a garage was supposed to be GFCI protected, but I cannot seem to find any GFCI outlets, or a GFCI breaker for the garage. Is my assumption about the garage incorrect?

Finally, I have an outlet on the outside of my house, right next to my kitchen window. It doesn't appear to have any GFCI protection at all; I tried testing the outlets in the kitchen to see if it was in-line with one of those outlets on the LOAD end, but it's not. Does this outlet need to be GFCI protected? I only have one other outlet outside that I am aware of (new home-owner) and it IS protected. It may be possible that this outside outlet is downstream from the mysterious GFCI protection that my garage may or may not have that I cannot locate.

Thanks everyone for the help!!

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Old 02-02-2013, 04:08 PM   #2
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GFCI knowledge please


All receptacles that serve a countertop in a kitchen must be GFCI protected. The receptacle for the disposal does not, but it's not a bad idea to do it anyway. All garage and exterior receptacles must be GFCI protected, no exceptions. Just because you can't find the GFCI that protects them doesn't mean they aren't protected - it could be somewhere you haven't checked yet. Try the bathrooms too. If you have a handheld GFCI tester, that can be useful to check whether they are protected. But if you test it and it trips, you'll have to hunt for the GFCI to reset it!

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Old 02-02-2013, 04:09 PM   #3
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It's an older piece (from 1996) but here is one source for the type of information you are seeking....
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:36 PM   #4
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GFCI knowledge please


I will double check if the garage receptacles are connected to the bathroom receptacles.

The bathrooms are on the extreme opposite end of the house; is it common for the wiring to run all the way back to the garage?
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobgodd View Post
The bathrooms are on the extreme opposite end of the house; is it common for the wiring to run all the way back to the garage?
It's not common, but not impossible.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:11 PM   #6
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GFCI knowledge please


It used to be very common to wire all the outside, laundry, bathroom, and garage outlets on one circuit with one GFI.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobgodd View Post
I will double check if the garage receptacles are connected to the bathroom receptacles.

The bathrooms are on the extreme opposite end of the house; is it common for the wiring to run all the way back to the garage?
Depending on when your house was built/wired, yes it was quite common.

Back in the day, wire was cheap, and GFCIs were expensive. Today, the opposite is true.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:50 PM   #8
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Why are there three GFI's over one counter top?
If it's one circut you only need one to protect all the other outlets from there on that circut.
If you could remove them you would have extras to install in the garage and outside outlets.
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:20 PM   #9
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Most counter tops are served by more than one circuit. Current Code requires at least 2 circuits. Many custom homes that I've wired have 3 or more circuits for counter outlets.

OR, they could be wired as stand-alone units, to remove the fridge from GFCI protection, for example.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Why are there three GFI's over one counter top?
If it's one circut you only need one to protect all the other outlets from there on that circut.
If you could remove them you would have extras to install in the garage and outside outlets.
That's the way the house was when we purchased 3 months ago.

It was built in 1971 and is a recent flip. I poked around the garage for almost an hour yesterday and I can't find the GFCI outlet or circuit anywhere. I don't even know where else to look honestly. I have tripped the bathroom ones and neither one affect the garage. Could it be in the attic or something? I'm sort of stumped.

The home was inspected, and I would hope that if it was necessary that the home inspector would have made mention if it was not found.
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Why are there three GFI's over one counter top?
I like it. If the GFI trips, it is easy to find. Just follow the cord. You don't have to run around looking for it.

If the GFI fails, you still have other working GFI's. Simply plug into another and finish what you were doing.
Having multiple GFI's helps keep the homeowner from doing something stupid like using an extension cord from another room/circuit.

Quote:
I would hope that if it was necessary that the home inspector would have made mention if it was not found.
You have more faith than I do. Some are excellent. But others write up minor things and miss the major issues. Ever see two inspection reports on the same house ?
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
All receptacles that serve a countertop in a kitchen must be GFCI protected. The receptacle for the disposal does not, but it's not a bad idea to do it anyway.
Not a bad idea at all. In fact, at good idea.

When we redid our kitchen, we added a Instant Hot Water tap. It plugged in so I added a receptacle under the sink and converted the disposal to a plug-in as well. I just used a regular receptacle. It was a month or so before we had a leak and that receptacle popped pretty loudly.

After leak was fixed, the receptacle was replaced with a GFCI. And no leaks since.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobgodd View Post
That's the way the house was when we purchased 3 months ago.

It was built in 1971 and is a recent flip.
My old house was built in 1983 and the garage isn't GFCI protected.
I don't know when it became code, but presumably it was after 1983.

For $5 you can upgrade; just have to find the first outlet on the circuit. Naturally you should test it first to make sure there isn't on a mysterious circuit.

4 bathrooms and 4 outside outlets were all on one GFCI circuit. My new house has 8 circuits for the same stuff.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:31 PM   #14
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GFCI knowledge please


agreed. I wouldn't expect to see GFI protection on a garage circuit from 1971 -- if the circuit has never been touched.

Bought my previous house in 2005, built in 1968. No GFI anywhere in house; HI didn't mention in report. Sold in 2011, buyer's HI noted in report, buyer asked that we add GFI in garage, bathrooms, and kitchen -- I declined, buyer accepted.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silversport View Post
Sold in 2011, buyer's HI noted in report, buyer asked that we add GFI in garage, bathrooms, and kitchen -- I declined, buyer accepted.
You got some onions or live where it is a true seller's market. I would have done that and thanked them for the pleasure.

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