Basement GFI requirements

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by jeffmattero76, Jun 5, 2018.

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  1. Jun 5, 2018 #1

    jeffmattero76

    jeffmattero76

    jeffmattero76

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    I have a property with a finished basement. Part of the basement is a 1 car garage, there is a small utility room (washer, dryer, furnace, water heater), and the other half of the basement is finished. I am aware that the receptacles near the laundry tub are required to be GFI protected. However, I am unsure about the receptacles that are located in the finished area. There is also a sump pump in the corner of the finished area that plugs into a dedicated circuit. Is that required to be GFI protected? One more question... there is a quad receptacle just below the circuit breaker panel (in the basement utility room) that is on a dedicated circuit. Is that required to be GFI protected? This property was inspected back in 2014, after I first rehabbed it, and it passed without a problem. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Jun 5, 2018 #2

    kok328

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    Interesting. To the best of my limited knowledge both basement and garage outlets are required to be GFIC or GFIC protected. However, I would never put my sump pump or refrigerator on a GFIC outlet.
     
  3. Jun 5, 2018 #3

    jeffmattero76

    jeffmattero76

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    I was doing some additional reading and found out that if the sump pump is on a dedicated circuit it does not have to be GFCI protected saying for a refrigerator
     
  4. Jun 5, 2018 #4

    jeffmattero76

    jeffmattero76

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    Typo... should be same for a refrigerator not saying for a refrigerator
     
  5. Jun 5, 2018 #5

    Gary

    Gary

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    NO GFCI ON A SUMP PUMP. Don't ask how I know. :(. Got the basement dried out with minimal damage, but I won't do that again.
     
  6. Jun 5, 2018 #6

    hornetd

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    In the unfinished portion of the basement the receptacle outlets must be GFCI protected. As was already said, the Sump Pump is not required to be GFCI protected when it is supplied by a dedicated circuit.

    One word of caution: Some AHJs will not accept a duplex receptacle on a dedicated circuit unless the second receptacle on the yoke is supplied by a different circuit. If a Duplex receptacle is already installed you can break off the connecting link between the 2 brass colored screws so as to disable the second receptacle.

    Although GFCIs are not required in the finished portion of the basement you may want to consider if the floor is conductive. Asphalt tile and stone flagging are more than conductive enough to carry the 30 milliamperes needed to stop the heart of a healthy adult. If the floor is conductive you may want to voluntarily protect all of the basement receptacles with GFCIs.

    You have indicated that the Utility Room is in the unfinished portion of the basement. If so you must GFCI protect all of the outlets in the Utility room, not just the ones that are within 6 feet of the laundry tub. Before I retired I always made sure that receptacles, which were protected by a GFCI receptacle outlet, were in the same room as the GFCI that is protecting them. I did that t avoid the confusion which sometimes followed the tripping of a GFCI in a different room from the downstream outlets which that GFCI is protecting. Were that was impractical I would make a clear note on the panel schedule to indicate were the GFCI protecting each circuit was located.

    --
    Tom Horne
     
  7. Jun 5, 2018 #7

    jeffmattero76

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    Thanks to all. As it turned out, it was a simple fix to replace the one outlet in the utility room, and two outlets in the finished area of the basement (painted concrete floor) and the others were downstream of the two I replaced. One more question... my gas hot air furnace has a cutoff safety switch, and a duplex receptacle in a two gang box on the side of the furnace. Should that also be changed to a gfi?
     
  8. Jun 5, 2018 #8

    jeffmattero76

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    Gary - I have heard the other side of that argument, but I agree with you, as does what I read in the code . The other side says, the basement floods, and the water becomes energized by contacting a hot somewhere. I would think a breaker would trip, but their argument was that, if you stepped in that energized water, and the breaker failed, you would get electrocuted. That is such a low probability, that I will stick with no gfi on a sump pymp.
     
  9. Jun 5, 2018 #9

    nealtw

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    So when you light up with all that energy, you will be able to se where you are going.
    If the water only made the gfci click off the power is still at the outlet and still requires the breaker to save you from that all exciting tingle.
     
  10. Jun 5, 2018 #10

    Gary

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    I was told by an electrician, after the fact, that a GFCI should never be installed on a sump pump as it will trip when you least expect it and flood the basement. He was preaching to the choir at that point.
    I have all my basement outlets mounted to the sill plate, so, they are high & dry.
     
  11. Jun 6, 2018 #11

    mabloodhound

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    I use GFCI breakers in the breaker box when I have a group of receptacles that require protection.
     
  12. Jun 6, 2018 #12

    kok328

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    I've seen breakers that don't trip when I shorted the hot to ground.
    GFIC 's do not perform the same function as a breaker so don't count on the GFIC outlet to protect you in the event of overload.
     
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  13. Jun 6, 2018 #13

    jeffmattero76

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    I realize that a circuit breaker and a GFI perform different functions. However, I have never experienced a breaker failing to trip when there is a short like you described. Not saying it can't happen, I have simply never seen it. Thanks for your replies.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  14. Jun 6, 2018 #14

    hornetd

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    The issue is not that the floor will become energized but rather that it will become conductive enough to serve as the return pathway through the earth, back to the main bonding jumper, in the Service Disconnecting Means' enclosure (Read the main panel); and thus back to the secondary of the Utility's transformer from whence it came. That path only has to carry the 30 or more milliamperes which is needed to stop your heart. The current to cause this is less than 1/15000 of the current it would take to open the Over-current Protective Device (OCPD); the fuse or circuit breaker. Example: A high resistance neutral connection elevates the frame of a dryer; which is bonded to the neutral of a three wire circuit, as was previously allowed by the National Electrical Code (NEC); to 20 or 30 volts. You're late for whatever and come down, fresh out of the shower with bare feet, to grab some needed clothing item out of the dryer. You touch the dryer, which is sitting on it's plastic leveling legs, and take a shock through the trunk of your body from your hand to your feet and right past your heart. Your heart's control rhythm is disorganized and your heart muscle starts contracting in the disorganized way that is called fibrillation. [Your spouse hears you call out and fall, runs down to see what's happening, calls 911, and starts CPR. That is because your whole family HAS taken Family and Friends CPR. HAVEN'T THEY. The first responder fire department team applies an automatic External Defibrillator (AED). You are transported to the hospital and survive a very unpleasant but educational experience. "Experience is a dear school but some will learn in no other."] To prevent this entire sequence dryers are now required to be supplied through 4 wire circuits which contain a separate Equipment Grounding Conductor (EGC) to connect it's frame back to the main bonding jumper. The high resistance in the neutral will cause only slower drying and or drive motor overheating, which will open it's overload protector making you call someone to service it.

    We install the GFCI receptacles because they will open the circuit at 6 milliamperes of current leaking from the circuit which is well below the 30 milliamperes of current which would stop the organized beating of your heart. That is why the NEC requires GFCI protection of receptacle outlets in areas which would have a conductive floor such as unfinished basements and garages.

    --
    Tom Horne
     
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  15. Jun 6, 2018 #15

    jeffmattero76

    jeffmattero76

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    Tom - thanks for that very informative education!!!
     

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