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Old 02-08-2008, 01:47 PM   #1
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


I'm wiring the kitchen of my new house. I have the 2 code required gfci circuits in place over the countertop. I want to add under cabinet task lighting with a wall switched outlet for plug-in type task lighting. Since any outlets above the countertop must be gfci will code allow me to add this lighting branch circuit to one of the gfci circuits already in place?
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Old 02-08-2008, 01:56 PM   #2
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


In a word: NO.
The undercabinet lighting does not have to be GFCI protected, just the receptacles, and you are not allowed to tap the small appliance circuits for any lighting.

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Old 02-08-2008, 04:32 PM   #3
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


Thank you Househelper. That is what I figured from reading about it in my Wiring Simplified handbook but what hung me up is the under cabinet lighting I thought about using is a plug in type. Now, with that thought in mind I'm afraid of failing inspection with an unprotected outlet, for switch controlled lighting, in an area where only protected outlets are allowed. I guess I could use a gfci receptacle for that lighting circuit, keeping it on a third kitchen circuit used for lighting only. I have a third circuit already pulled for overhead lighting anyway and this receptacle would be last in that branch. But would that violate code in some way as well? Any thoughts or suggestions?
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Old 02-08-2008, 05:24 PM   #4
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


You can have a non-GFCI protected receptacle in the kitchen, but it cannot serve the countertop. That means it must be more than 12in below the c/t or more than 20in above it, or in an area where there is no c/t.
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Old 02-08-2008, 05:35 PM   #5
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


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Originally Posted by frodo View Post
Thank you Househelper. That is what I figured from reading about it in my Wiring Simplified handbook but what hung me up is the under cabinet lighting I thought about using is a plug in type. Now, with that thought in mind I'm afraid of failing inspection with an unprotected outlet, for switch controlled lighting, in an area where only protected outlets are allowed. I guess I could use a gfci receptacle for that lighting circuit, keeping it on a third kitchen circuit used for lighting only. I have a third circuit already pulled for overhead lighting anyway and this receptacle would be last in that branch. But would that violate code in some way as well? Any thoughts or suggestions?
You can plug whatever you want into a Small appliance circuit, so if you have plug in transformers than you are all set, just use the switches that come with the lights....

EDIT: You got me thinking, and I cannot find a code violation to switch a 20 AMP SA receptacle serving the countertop as long as you have another switched lighting outlet in the room...

SO as long as your switching a receptacle supplied by a 20 amp circuit and you have another switched lighting outlet other than a receptacle, than your good to go...

Last edited by chris75; 02-08-2008 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:10 PM   #6
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


Kitchen receptacle requirements are covered by 210.52 (B) and (C) of the 2005 NEC.

I can find nowhere in there that says you cannot put a single receptacle(s) above the countertop to serve your task lighting and have a switch control it.

By single receptacle, of course, I mean a receptacle having only one outlet, as opposed to a duplex. You could put a single everywhere you have a light to plug in, and have them all on one switch. This would exempt them from the GFCI requirement.

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Old 02-08-2008, 09:33 PM   #7
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


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Originally Posted by InPhase277 View Post
Kitchen receptacle requirements are covered by 210.52 (B) and (C) of the 2005 NEC.



By single receptacle, of course, I mean a receptacle having only one outlet, as opposed to a duplex. You could put a single everywhere you have a light to plug in, and have them all on one switch. This would exempt them from the GFCI requirement.

InPhase277
210.8 (6) would require the GFI protection... weather it be a single or a duplex...

Also, any receptacle for counter space MUST be a small appliance circuit...

Last edited by chris75; 02-08-2008 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:55 PM   #8
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


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210.8 (6) would require the GFI protection... weather it be a single or a duplex...

Also, any receptacle for counter space MUST be a small appliance circuit...
I disagree. 210.8 (A)(6) states: "Kitchens - where the receptacles are installed to serve the countertop surfaces"

A light mounted to the cabinet isn't an appliance on the countertop surface. The handbook makes a specific mention of this in the editors' note below that section.

And the code requires AT LEAST two small appliance circuits to serve the countertop surface. He could install 12 small appliance circuits if he wanted to, and serve his lighting receptacles with one of them.

But that is un-necessary, as I have already stated. He can take a drop from his lighting circuit to another switch, then to as many single receptacles along the counter space as needed. As long as he didn't plug appliances into the receptacles, he is exempt from the GFCI requirements, as well as the small appliance circuit requirements.

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Old 02-08-2008, 10:13 PM   #9
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


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Originally Posted by InPhase277 View Post
I disagree. 210.8 (A)(6) states: "Kitchens - where the receptacles are installed to serve the countertop surfaces"

A light mounted to the cabinet isn't an appliance on the countertop surface. The handbook makes a specific mention of this in the editors' note below that section.

And the code requires AT LEAST two small appliance circuits to serve the countertop surface. He could install 12 small appliance circuits if he wanted to, and serve his lighting receptacles with one of them.

But that is un-necessary, as I have already stated. He can take a drop from his lighting circuit to another switch, then to as many single receptacles along the counter space as needed. As long as he didn't plug appliances into the receptacles, he is exempt from the GFCI requirements, as well as the small appliance circuit requirements.

InPhase277

If a receptacle is installed over a counter then its serving it, whether that is your intention or not...

EDIT, after re-reading 210.52 for awhile, I finally accepted that you can in fact have a 15a receptacle on a kitchen counter...

Last edited by chris75; 02-08-2008 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 02-08-2008, 10:43 PM   #10
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


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If a receptacle is installed over a counter then its serving it, whether that is your intention or not...
Sorry Chris, I just cannot agree here. By this logic, we could say that the refrigerator should be on the GFCI because you could conceivably plug something else into it. What about the stove igniter? What about the dedicated freezer circuit in the garage? The intent of the installation dictates the requirements it has to follow.

This is a dedicated lighting outlet, that will have a light plugged into it that is mounted to a cabinet. There is nothing in the code that precludes it.

And if you really wanted to get down to it, you could simply GFCI protect the lighting, but not from the SA circuit. You could install a dead-face GFCI and then hit the switch, the the singles. But again, that isn't necessary.

Cite a specific code article that says a dedicated outlet on the countertop has to be GFCI protected. I cannot find one instance of it. The instances you have already cited are intended for portable appliances that actually sit on the surface of the countertop.

I say "intended" because the NEC Handbook notes specifically mention countertop receptacles serving portable appliances. If a receptacle doesn't serve a portable appliance, then it is exempt from the GFCI requirements. Just look at the disposal, dishwasher, or trash compactor.

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Old 02-08-2008, 10:47 PM   #11
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


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Sorry Chris, I just cannot agree here. By this logic, we could say that the refrigerator should be on the GFCI because you could conceivably plug something else into it. What about the stove igniter? What about the dedicated freezer circuit in the garage? The intent of the installation dictates the requirements it has to follow.

This is a dedicated lighting outlet, that will have a light plugged into it that is mounted to a cabinet. There is nothing in the code that precludes it.

And if you really wanted to get down to it, you could simply GFCI protect the lighting, but not from the SA circuit. You could install a dead-face GFCI and then hit the switch, the the singles. But again, that isn't necessary.

Cite a specific code article that says a dedicated outlet on the countertop has to be GFCI protected. I cannot find one instance of it. The instances you have already cited are intended for portable appliances that actually sit on the surface of the countertop.

I say "intended" because the NEC Handbook notes specifically mention countertop receptacles serving portable appliances. If a receptacle doesn't serve a portable appliance, then it is exempt from the GFCI requirements. Just look at the disposal, dishwasher, or trash compactor.

InPhase277

I did edit my last post but you were already typing, I did end up agreeing, but just so you know I hate the handbook and it's just someones opinion just like yours and mine... and its not enforceable...
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:01 PM   #12
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


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I did edit my last post but you were already typing, I did end up agreeing, but just so you know I hate the handbook and it's just someones opinion just like yours and mine... and its not enforceable...
I agree with you there. There are a few notes that I don't particularly like. But, while not enforceable, they do reflect the thinking behind the articles, which can help in interpretation. But in the end, it's up to the AHJ.

As an aside, it's Friday night. Shouldn't we be somewhere having strippers grind on us instead of arguing code on the internet? Nah, I didn't think so either...

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Old 02-09-2008, 08:48 AM   #13
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


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As an aside, it's Friday night. Shouldn't we be somewhere having strippers grind on us instead of arguing code on the internet? Nah, I didn't think so either...

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Those days are long gone...
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:44 AM   #14
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


Thank you all for the answers to my question. It does seem to be a grey area in the code. It probably all boils down to how the inspector interprets the code at the time of inspection. I've come up with a slightly different approach to the whole thing that may be the solution, but here again since I'm not as code savy as you readers there may be a problem with this idea.

This branch circuit I'm using is a lighting circuit that will also serve switched over-the-sink lighting as well as above cabinet rope lighting as an accent. Those are also plugin lights and their receptacles are above the cabinets. What if I add my under cabinet lighting receptacle to those above the cabinets and later run the lighting power cord down through the cabinets to the underside lights? This would be a cleaner looking install since the receptacle would be unseen. I'm sure this problem has been addressed and solved thousands of times over the years, I just have to find out how.

Thanks again for all your thoughts and suggestions. I'm buying the beer.
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Old 02-11-2008, 06:44 AM   #15
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lighting on kitchen gfci allowed?


Quote:
Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
If a receptacle is installed over a counter then its serving it, whether that is your intention or not...

EDIT, after re-reading 210.52 for awhile, I finally accepted that you can in fact have a 15a receptacle on a kitchen counter...
Quote:
Originally Posted by InPhase277 View Post
Sorry Chris, I just cannot agree here. By this logic, we could say that the refrigerator should be on the GFCI because you could conceivably plug something else into it. What about the stove igniter? What about the dedicated freezer circuit in the garage? The intent of the installation dictates the requirements it has to follow.

This is a dedicated lighting outlet, that will have a light plugged into it that is mounted to a cabinet. There is nothing in the code that precludes it.

And if you really wanted to get down to it, you could simply GFCI protect the lighting, but not from the SA circuit. You could install a dead-face GFCI and then hit the switch, the the singles. But again, that isn't necessary.

Cite a specific code article that says a dedicated outlet on the countertop has to be GFCI protected. I cannot find one instance of it. The instances you have already cited are intended for portable appliances that actually sit on the surface of the countertop.

I say "intended" because the NEC Handbook notes specifically mention countertop receptacles serving portable appliances. If a receptacle doesn't serve a portable appliance, then it is exempt from the GFCI requirements. Just look at the disposal, dishwasher, or trash compactor.

InPhase277
All intent aside, if there is a receptacle above the countertop, then it is a SA branch circuit. Refers, stoves, etc are totally different because they are not easily accessable. Ya, sure, someone COULD move the fridge and plug in a toaster oven there, or they COULD pull out the stove and plug in the microwave.

In reality that isn't going to happen. And those receptacles are NOT above a countertop either, therefore are not a SABC.

On the other hand, if a switched receptacle is installed a few inches below the cabinet to plug in undercabinet lighting then it IS a SABC because it is above the countertop... and there is NOTHING stopping someone from unplugging the light and pluging in something else.

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