Need for Laundry room GFI

stash-hdyApril 16, 2007

My plugs in the laundry room are not GFI protected, should they be by code?

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fa_f3_20

Don't quote me on this, because I don't know what the latest revision of the code says. But, in the past, most localities have not required GFIs in laundry rooms provided that the washer was the only source of water in the room -- i.e., there is no sink or other source of water. If there is a sink, then the usual rules about outlets near the sink applies.

Washers have in the past been exempt from GFI outlet requirements because of problems with nusiance tripping. I'll admit that I don't know for sure what the NEC says now, but I do know that the inspector did not make me put in one in our just-completed house.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 12:55PM
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brickeyee

there is no requirement for GFCI protection on the 20 amp required laundry circuit.
Any other receptacles in an unfinished basement are required to be GFCI protected.
The presence of a sink and water has nothing to do with the requirements.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 1:36PM
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groundrod

Yes the presence of a sink within 6 feet of the receptacle requires it to be a ground fault protected, and that includes the washer receptacle if it is within 6 feet of the sink. 210.8(A)(7) who said this was in a basement?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 1:55PM
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pete_p_ny

What about receptacles in a finished basement. If I have a slop slink between my washer and dryer, and one outlet, does that need to be a GFCI.

Also, a general question, am I required to update everything in my home. IE - My house was built in 1963, and the exterior outlets, basement, and garage are regular outlets. Do I need to replace?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 2:20PM
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fa_f3_20

With a very few rare execptions, you are not required to update existing wiring just because the code changes -- as long as you do not alter said wiring. If you change anything, you may be required to bring part or all of the existing wiring up to current code.

A finished basement is treated like any other finished part of the house AFAIK. If the outlet is within 6' of the slop sink -- measured horizontally -- it is supposed to be GFI. If said outlet happens to be the washer circuit, I'm not sure which rule takes precedence. If it were me, I might go ahead and install one anyway if it's an old ungrounded circuit. I think the nuisance tripping problems that the earlier GFIs had has largely been eliminated now.

And yes, I assumed that "laundry room" meant a finished room. My apologies if this is not the case.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 2:28PM
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hendricus

Stash-hdy
If the outlets were to code when they were installed, they still are to code and no changes are required unless you wish.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 3:06PM
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petey_racer

Exactly what hendricus said. Codes are not retroactive.

Besides, the code groundrod quoted is the 2005 NEC quote. This section was added in the 2005 edition. In 2002 this requirement did not exist. So if you have an installation predating 2005, OR if your area is not even yet under the 2005 edition (as MANY are not yet), then no GFI would be required.

Of course it is not a bad idea, it is just not mandatory.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 3:33PM
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brickeyee

"Yes the presence of a sink within 6 feet of the receptacle requires it to be a ground fault protected, and that includes the washer receptacle if it is within 6 feet of the sink. 210.8(A)(7) who said this was in a basement?"

A sink in a laundry area is NOT a "wet bar".
Want to try again?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 3:49PM
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groundrod

I'll try again for you brick, and I'll type real slooow.

210.8(A)(7) states:

Laundry, utility, and wet bar sinks  where the receptacles are installed within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the outside edge of the sink.

It would be that first word that starts with an L. as in laundry sink. As they say around the poker table, read it and weap.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 4:01PM
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perel

There doesn't seem to be an exception in the code for the dedicated laundry outlet, but a lot of AHJs will let it slide because nothing other than a washing machine will ever be plugged into it, especially if it's *behind* the washing machine. Some like to see a single (non-duplex) outlet and/or a "for washing machine use only" label too.

This appears to have a subtle but important difference from the common debate about whether a dedicated fridge circuit in a kitchen requires a GFI - that argument turns on the AHJ's definition of "receptacles installed to serve the countertop surfaces".

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 12:21PM
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brickeyee

Try typing REAL SLOW and ADDING in the NEC year?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 6:51PM
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dalepar

I have a question. We have installed a cabinet, sink, front load w/d, all with a countertop. I was told by a retired electrician that the outlet under the laundry sink, in an enclosed cabinet, used to plug in the washing machine, did not need a GFI. Of course, and outlet above the countertop, near the sink would have to have a GFI. Is this istallation OK with code?

DP

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 12:11PM
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petey_racer

If this is a new installation then the receptacle would likely need GFI protection.

If it is an older existing receptacle then it likely does not require it.

Your "retired" electrician probably is not up on the most recent codes.

The GFI requirements do not, and never did, reference cabinets and counters. Just a 6' distance from a laundry sink.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 12:30PM
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sbs9

Try typing REAL SLOW and ADDING in the NEC year?

The person referencing an older NEC is the one who needs to state that.

An undated reference would be assumed by any reasonable person to reference the latest code.

It is extremely unhelpful to simply state older code requirements without any mention of the fact that they have been changed.

The most helpful answer in a case such as this would be to mention that it has changed recently, and state both sets of requirements.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 9:37AM
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