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GFCI Locations Chart


hausdok
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Hi All,

Norm Sage, our intrepid Pools Forum moderator was kind enough to share with TIJ a chart showing the required locations and dates for GFCI's in dwellings, that he and Jerry Peck, another Florida Inspector, authored.

Among others, Douglas also had some input into this chart. I think everyone will find it very useful.

Just follow this link to the GFCI Location Chart

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Hello Brian and Mark,

I agree with you Brian. If a location needs one it needs one and that is always the way I write it up. However, I think used properly, this chart can help an inspector affirm his credibility with a client whom he's just met. Especially a client who's real estate agent is also unknown and one of the manipulative type('zoids).

Every one of us, at one time or other, has had to deal with a 'zoid who can't seem to keep his or her mouth shut or nose out of our business during the inspection. GFCI devices seem to be one of those little things that 'zoids like to use, at least around here, to try and partially discredit an inspector's findings.

I don't think it is unusual to see clients buy homes, despite significant deficiencies, because their 'zoid has persuaded them that the inspector they used, despite the 'zoid's own recommendation, was knit-picking and making improper calls. Many buyers are already pretty unsure of themselves by the time they get to the inspection. Sometimes, it is pitiful to see how easily a manipulative 'zoid, who resents an unknown inspector's presence, will try and twist the client's perception of your findings. Like I said, around here, GFCI's are one of the things they jump on to try and do that.

So, maybe you're inspecting a 1987 home and note that there are no GFCI outlets in the bathrooms and no GFCI breakers protecting those outlets in the panel. You mention this fact to your client and recommend that they be added as a preventive safety measure. At that point, the realtor jumps into the middle of the conversation to try and do damage control by saying something like, "Well, this is a 1987 house. I don't think GFCI devices were used back then, so they aren't required."

That's where the smart and diplomatic inspector might then say to the realtor, "Well, you might be correct. Ultimately, (client's name) might have to install them himeself, and doing so would be the smart and prudent thing to do from a health and safety standpoint. However, the National Electrical Code has required GFCI protection in bathrooms since 1974. Since they don't last forever, I have to conclude that the original outlets have been replaced with conventional outlets, and I see this as an issue that needs correction. Here, I've got a chart for each of you (reach into clipboard box, pull out two and hand one to each). This chart explains when and where these devices were required. You can see clearly there that they were required by the NEC in 1987, so the question of whether they should be here or not is simple. They should be. Now, (client's name), let me show you what's going on over here......"

Now, I've had this conversation, without the chart, on dozens of occasions over the years. I have no problem telling a client that GFCI weren't required at all prior to 1971, and I know that not all munipalities adopted these provisions on the same timeline as the chart did. Nonetheless, I always strongly recommend that the client add them as a preventive health and safety measure anyway.

Mark is certainly right. The chart doesn't change the fact that we ought to recommend them in all circumstances, so the chart is irrelevent from a safety standpoint. However, it can be powerful medicine when used correctly in the hands of a good medicine man.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by hausdok

. . . At that point, the realtor jumps into the middle of the conversation to try and do damage control by saying something like, "Well, this is a 1987 house. I don't think GFCI devices were used back then, so they aren't required."

That's where the smart and diplomatic inspector might then say to the realtor, "Well, you might be correct. Ultimately, (client's name) might have to install them himeself, and doing so would be the smart and prudent thing to do from a health and safety standpoint. However, the National Electrical Code has required GFCI protection in bathrooms since 1974. Since they don't last forever, I have to conclude that the original outlets have been replaced with conventional outlets, and I see this as an issue that needs correction. Here, I've got a chart for each of you (reach into clipboard box, pull out two and hand one to each). This chart explains when and where these devices were required. You can see clearly there that they were required by the NEC in 1987, so the question of whether they should be here or not is simple. They should be. Now, (client's name), let me show you what's going on over here......"

Wow! You're way nicer than me. I'd just grab her by the ears, smack her head on the counter and leave her unconscious in the corner till the inspection was over.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Maybe I'm wrong but I've always considered home inspectors as creatures with an insatiable quest for knowledge relevant or not. The purpose of the GFCI chart was to provide a convenient one stop location where one can find information without having to sift through eleven different code cycles. It may prove helpful to those who are looking for an obscure fact regarding the subject, for whatever reason, and don't have a copy of the NEC going back to the 1971 edition. Personally, I don't use it to quote the code in my report but rather, as Mike suggests, to settle the all too often conflict created by realtors and sellers. Look at the chart as an authority should you be questioned as to the accuracy of your opinion regarding the requirement for GFCIs. Other examples of this concept are the use of the Watts Reinspection Guide when I'm asked "where is it written that a T & P relief line must be installed with a continuous downward pitch"? or the use of the National Tile Roofing Manufacturers Association specifications as a published authority when I cite a tile roof as being installed improperly since the morar has been applied horizontally rather than verticlly. Having published documentation of fact, relevant or not, allows you to defend statements made in your reports as not merely your opinion but rather accepted practice. Having said the above I know someone is bound to respond " I never defend my opinions ". Maybe some of you don't. I'll be the first to admit that I do and further don't mind doing it.

Relevant or not one mans food is anothers poison.

NORM SAGE

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By the way for those who may be interested according to DH there will not be any changes in the 2005 NEC regarding dwelling unit GFCI requirements. There will, however,be some in commercial buildings. If memory serves me correctly Douglas said the definition of a kitchen has been clarified and exterior outlets in a commercial building which are accessible to the public will require GFCI protection.

NORM SAGE

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Originally posted by Jim

[quote

Wow! You're way nicer than me. I'd just grab her by the ears, smack her head on the counter and leave her unconscious in the corner till the inspection was over.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

ATTA BOY JIM. Now your talkin.

Norm,

There is something wrong with this chart of yours, I like it and plan to use it.

George

one team, thousands of fights.

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Most of us have seen houses where renovation work was performed poorly and likely without proper permits or inspections?

Don't you love it when the realtor says "Isn't this new kitchen beautiful, all the renovation work was performed by a Builder." At this point in time I will ask what does that mean, isn't all building done by a "Builder? What is the definition of a Builder? Are you representing that all of the construction was performed by a licensed General Contractor with properly licensed Sub-Contractors. Are you stating that all proper permits and inspections were performed? Can you put that in writing for my client?

The GFCI chart is a good weapon to use in the battle to show everyone why it is likely that the "New Kitchen and Bathrooms" (actually ten year old) were not installed in accordance with generally accepted construction practice.

Thanks Mike.

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I don't want to take away from the load of work that went into making that chart. Obviously a fair bit of research and effort went into it and I thank the authors for giving it to us all at no charge. But I'd hate for someone new to think this is required information. It's something I'll print and file, but it's about as necessary to everyday HI work as a chart of what a 175 lb man would weigh on each of the various planets in our solar system. Fodder for internet arguments for sure, but of little consequence in our line of work. From a safety standpoint, GFCI's are a very good idea in wet locations today. How do you make your point more clearly than that?

Now, if I ever travel back in time to do inspections (at today's rates of course), that's another matter.

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Originally posted by Norm

Maybe I'm wrong but I've always considered home inspectors as creatures with an insatiable quest for knowledge relevant or not.

Yup, that's me. But I still think it's useless.

If an inspector is going to tell people GFCI's were required in any given jurisdiction at a certain point in time, he's probably making it up, because there's no way to know for sure without going back and examing municipal records.

Your credibility goes way down when people figure out you're lying.

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Some people use it for reference material others don't. Like someone already said if a house built in 1968 does not have GFCI's its not a defect (except maybe in Texas). But if the house was in a major metro area and built in 1986 and didn't have GFCI's anywhere - the chart might be a handy reference as to why the inspector CHOSE to REPORT it as A DEFECT rather than an as a nice UPGRADE.

DAn Bowers, CRI

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Originally posted by DLRambo

Like someone already said if a house built in 1968 does not have GFCI's its not a defect (except maybe in Texas).

You'll have to include at least one part of Northeast Mississippi in that, when the right inspector is called in. No GFCI in a wet location is a defect in my book, no matter the age of the house. It's a $10 dollar item that saves lives, I'm not going to spend time jusifying that to a realtor. I tell my clients it's a no-brainer...it is.

Brian G.

In Texassippi?

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Texas SOP requires us to write up missing GFCIs and other items as "In Need of Repair", and that makes it a no brainer for me. I tell clients, agents and anyone else that I don't grandfather anything safety or health related. I don't care what the code said when the house was built. If any item is currently considered a hazard or simply wrong, no matter how minor, I write it up and tell'em to fix it. Yes, the Texas SOP makes that easier and minimizes arguments.

The flip side is no one enforces inspection repairs here and the AHJ does not revisit a house for any reason except a new building permit. So most of these safety items go unrepaired and get written up all over again the next time the house is sold.

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How about this;

ME:

Mr. Client, this house was built in 1979. There are no GFCI outlets outdoors or in the garage. However, they were probably here when this house had its final inspection and the occupancy permit was issued back in 1979".

Buttinsky Realtor:

"Oh NO! they were not required when this house was built"

ME:

(Pulling out little chart) Well lookie here Mr. client, this says 1978. What info do have buttinsky realtor?

Buttinsky Realtor:

Nothing but a plethora of stupid looks. [:-crazy] [:-bigeyes2] [:-indifferent] [:o] [:-tong2] [:-boggled] [:-headache] [:-grumpy] [:-irked] [:o] [:-sick] [:-yuck] [:-paperbag]

ME:

Well Mr. client, as I was saying before the last interruption, you must have GFCI's and we need to ask the seller what other non-permitted, safety compromising work may have been done on this house.

ME ................ 1

Buttinsky Realtor.. 0

Any tool that may help me shut the mouth of a buttinsky realtor is a tool I want to carry.

George

Ahead, 1 to nothing

The absence of GFCI protection may indeed be an indication of some sloppy remodeling and this little chart just may get the buyer to pay a little less attention to the sales hype.

Thanks Norm & Jerry ... Thanks Mike!

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Originally posted by a46geo

How about this;

ME:

Mr. Client, this house was built in 1979. There are no GFCI outlets outdoors or in the garage. However, they were probably here when this house had its final inspection and the occupancy permit was issued back in 1979".

What in the world would be the purpose of a statement like that? Even with the chart, that's a total assumption. Maybe that area wasn't under code enforcement at the time, if it was maybe they were never put in and the AHJ approved it anyway...who knows? Why bother?

"Mr. Client, there are no GFCI outlets outdoors or in the garage. These are important basic safety items that can save you from accidental electrical shock, maybe even save your life. I strongly recommend that you have them installed before moving in." If I know he's got kids I don't let-up until he makes eye contact. The end.

Any tool that may help me shut the mouth of a buttinsky realtor is a tool I want to carry.

Maybe this is what I'm missing. It's extremely rare for an agent to be there when I'm reviewing the report with my client. If they were there and were foolish enough to argue against installing GFCI's, I could shut them up without a chart.

Personally, I try to never make it a point to needlessly prod anyone...family, friends, strangers, bums on the street, or even realtors. It makes my life easier.

Norm & Jerry,

Hey, no offense guys. You felt it was worth doing and gave your time to do it...good for you. We're just debating philosophy and technique here.

Brian G.

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Brian,

I couldn't agree more.

Me: Ms. Client, You should have these receptacles protected with GFCI's. They're cheap and could save your life.

Ms Client: Oooooh. Smart, sensitive, AND caring. They don't make 'em like you anymore Jimmy...

Mr. Broker: (interrupting) Blah, blah, blah.

Me: Excuse me, but you're interrupting us with something that has nothing to do with what this conversation.

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

Brian,

I couldn't agree more.

Me: Ms. Client, You should have these receptacles protected with GFCI's. They're cheap and could save your life.

Ms Client: Oooooh. Smart, sensitive, AND caring. They don't make 'em like you anymore Jimmy...

Mr. Broker: (interrupting) Blah, blah, blah.

Me: Excuse me, but you're interrupting us with something that has nothing to do with what this conversation.

Jim,

As you know, when it comes to safety, I like to error on the side of caution.

Me: Mr. client (who could become a future liability to me and my business), since electricity is a dangerous and tricky thing, I recommend that you have a qualified electrician remove all of the electrical outlets and fixtures from this house and as an extra measure of safety have the power company disconnect your house from the power grid. Heck, we did just fine without electricity for over a thousand years.

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