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older apartment buildings - GFCI over sink


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older apartment buildings - GFCI over sink

Are you calling out to replace all recepts with GFCI over the kitchen counter?

Yes, sort of. I'm not sure what, "calling out to replace all recepts with GFCI" means. I recommend providing GFCI protection to all receptacles that serve kitchen countertops. It helps to be clear in this business.

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I state what I see - that the receptacle(s) does not have GFCI protection where we believe a receptacle should be protected and then add " I recommend that, as a safety upgrade, a qualified licensed electrical contractor correct by installing a GFCI receptacle or breaker for that circuit." Doesn't matter over if it's in the kitchen, bath, sump, etc.

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I tell folks where they're installed.

I make a nod to boilerplate and explain briefly what they are, why they're important, why adhering to grandfathered code requirements is silly, and then tell them it's a smart idea to install brand new ones in all the places they are currently required.

People are free to ignore simple recommendations if they want to.

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Thank you gentleman.

What I look at is generally require to replaced immediately, especially if I label it as safety concern.

So, if I recommend it as a safety concern, it is usually translated into an immediate requirement.

I work for a few larger firms and one of them is requiring costs for replacement of all GFCI above counter. It doesn't sound like there is any code requirement for apartment building retrofit that anyone is aware of.

Thanks again. I value your opinions.

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I tell my clients that they should be installed, code requirement or not. I explain that the cost of a GFCI is minimal and it can save someone's life. I don't get involved with who should pay for it.

NJ requires a smoke and carbon monoxide certification as part of the transfer of title of a home. They also require a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Some towns add other items as part of the requirements, including installing GFCI outlets.

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If I was asked to inspect a multi-family building, I would note all visible safety concerns. Not having proper GFCI protection is a safety concern. I would put it up with fire extinguishers and smoke detectors that all units should have but most do not work or have been removed and not replaced.

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No arguments here,

If the house was built before they were required, our law requires that we recommend that the client add them as a preventive safety measure. If the house was built after, we write 'em up when they aren't there.

An 88 house without any at the kitchen counter could be a case of ignoring the 1987 requirement for any within six feet of the sink or it might mean the city still hadn't adopted the rule by then. Recommending that all counter receptacles be upgraded to the current standard, which first came in in 1996, is easy to do and you don't have to try and figure out whether the municipality had adopted that rule in 1988 or not.



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I wish it was that simple for me in Canada. Late 70's to the present non-GFCI counter receptacles will be split duplex, a separate 15 amp feed to top and bottom of the receptacle. To upgrade this to GFCI, room needs to be made in the panel for 2 or 4 15A GFCI breakers, no simple task.

If the people plan to remodel, I tell them to install 20 Amp circuits, #12 gauge wiring. 20 amp circuits do not need to be split, so they can use the simple GFCI receptacles. I watch their eyes glaze over as I'm saying this. Huh? [:)]

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The NEC requires GFI or ACFI protection be installed to the current requirements if the receptacle is replaced.


Would you tell me where that is in the NEC.

I thought that the IRC said you can replace the receptacle with what was all ready there. This afternoon I will take the time to look that up.

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I guess Im right and wrong at the same time.

AJ301.4 Electrical.

Existing electrical wiring and equipment undergoing repair shall be permitted to be repaired or replaced with like material.


1. Replacement of electrical receptacles shall comply with the requirements of Chapters 33 through 42.

2. Plug fuses of the Edison-base type shall be used for replacements only where there is no evidence of over-fusing or tampering per the applicable requirements of Chapters 33 through 42.

3. For replacement of nongrounding-type receptacles with grounding-type receptacles and for branch circuits that do not have an equipment grounding conductor in the branch circuitry, the grounding conductor of a grounding type receptacle outlet shall be permitted to be grounded to any accessible point on the grounding electrode system, or to any accessible point on the grounding electrode conductor, as allowed and described in Chapters 33 through 42.

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What I use:


Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection may not have been required when this house was built, however, I recommend that all outlets needing ground fault circuit interrupter protection, as recognized by the newest national safety standards, be upgraded with ground fault circuit interrupter protection. I recommend that this upgrade be completed by a licensed electrician. See below for required locations & dates.

The lack of ground fault circuit interrupter protection poses a significant safety risk for electrocution. Remember, safety hazards don't care about the building code book or when what was required by the building code book. Safety hazards just sit and wait to cause you and your family personal injury.

For more information on GFCI protection see the Consumer Product Safety Commission GFCI Safety Fact Sheet

While I recommend, only you can choose the level of risk to which your family is exposed.

FYI: The following dates indicate when nationally accepted minimum safety standards required GFCI protection. The local minimum safety standards may have adopted this protection at an earlier or later date.


1971 Receptacles within 15 feet of pool walls

1971 All equipment used with storable swimming pools

1973 All outdoor receptacles

1974 Construction Sites

1975 Bathrooms, 120-volt pool lights, and fountain equipment

1978 Garages, spas, and hydromassage tubs

1978 Outdoor receptacles above 6ft.6in. grade access exempted

1984 Replacement of non-grounding receptacles with no grounding conductor allowed

1984 Pool cover motors

1984 Distance of GFCI protection extended to 20 feet from pool walls

1987 Unfinished basements

1987 Kitchen countertop receptacles within 6 feet of sink

1987 Boathouses

1990 Crawlspaces (with exception for sump pumps or other dedicated equip.)

1993 Wet bar countertops within 6 feet of sink

1993 Any receptacle replaced in an area presently requiring GFCI

1996 All kitchen counters, not just those within 6 feet of sink

1996 All exterior receptacles except dedicated de-icing tape receptacle

1996 Unfinished accessory buildings at or below grade

1999 Exemption for dedicated equipment in crawlspace removed

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