GFCI accessability??

nizak

Senior Member
Can a GFCI receptacle be installed in a soffit? Is the code for such an application accessible, readily accessible?? I realize that the device somewhere at ground level would be a greater convenience, but putting that aside what does the code allow. Thanks.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
It needs to be readily accessible for testing purposes, for one thing it needs to be reachable from the floor. Here's the Article 100 definition:

Accessible, Readily (Readily Accessible). Capable of be-
ing reached quickly for operation, renewal, or inspections
without requiring those to whom ready access is requisite
to climb over or remove obstacles or to resort to portable
ladders, and so forth.
 

jumper

Senior Member
Can a GFCI receptacle be installed in a soffit? Is the code for such an application accessible, readily accessible?? I realize that the device somewhere at ground level would be a greater convenience, but putting that aside what does the code allow. Thanks.
I am gonna say no, unless it is a really low soffit.

210.8 Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for
Personnel. Ground-fault circuit-interruption for personnel
shall be provided as required in 210.8(A) through (C). The
ground-fault circuit-interrupter shall be installed in a
readily accessible location.

Accessible, Readily (Readily Accessible). Capable of being
reached quickly for operation, renewal, or inspections
without requiring those to whom ready access is requisite
to climb over or remove obstacles or to resort to portable
ladders, and so forth.
 

nizak

Senior Member
Thanks much guys/gals. It's a 10' exterior soffit. GFCI breaker in panel is my easiest route for this one.I totally overlooked it as the owner wanted switched receps in the soffits for Christmas lights. Thanks.
 

arcsnsparks98

Senior Member
Location
Jackson, TN USA
Hmmm, receptacles in the ceiling of a garage for a door opener must be GFCI protected. Now I can reach an 8' ceiling to reset one but my wife couldnt get anywhere near it without a ladder. A ceiling higher than 8' and I could not reach it. How is this soffit any different than a 10' garage ceiling?
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
Hmmm, receptacles in the ceiling of a garage for a door opener must be GFCI protected. Now I can reach an 8' ceiling to reset one but my wife couldnt get anywhere near it without a ladder. A ceiling higher than 8' and I could not reach it. How is this soffit any different than a 10' garage ceiling?
In my opinion you can no longer put GFCIs on garage ceilings.
 

jumper

Senior Member
I agree that its a ridiculous thing to do for sake of convenience. When you say 'no longer' that implies a change in code wording at some point. Did readily accessible once say accessible?


2008 NEC

210.8 Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for
Personnel.
FPN: See 215.9 for ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection
for personnel on feeders.
(A) Dwelling Units. All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and
20-ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified in
(1) through (8) shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter
protection for personnel.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I agree that its a ridiculous thing to do for sake of convenience. When you say 'no longer' that implies a change in code wording at some point. Did readily accessible once say accessible?
It did not used to say either, it was fine to locate a GFCI on a third floor sofit or 10' ceiling.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
In my opinion you can no longer put GFCIs on garage ceilings.
I say you can no longer put them on most garage ceilings, if the ceiling is very low you may be able to.

One problem here is the art 100 definition of readily accessible does not give a maximum height restriction.

It does say "or to resort to portable ladders, and so forth", but that means a person 7 foot 2 tall typically has more places that are possibly readily accessible then someone only 4 foot tall.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I say you can no longer put them on most garage ceilings, if the ceiling is very low you may be able to.
Kind of a slow day at the forum today.

Of course, lets split hairs. I believe that most building codes have minimum ceiling heights in new construction, anything goes in retrofits.


One problem here is the art 100 definition of readily accessible does not give a maximum height restriction.

It does say "or to resort to portable ladders, and so forth", but that means a person 7 foot 2 tall typically has more places that are possibly readily accessible then someone only 4 foot tall.
In my opinion that will be up to the inspector / AHJ to decide regardless of the installers feelings. If I was an inspector I would use 6'-7" as the magic number taking that hint from 220.24(A) and 404.8(A) etc.
 

MasterTheNEC

Host of ElectricianLIVE.com
Location
McKinney, Texas
Occupation
Master Electrician & Director of Codes and Standards
I say you can no longer put them on most garage ceilings, if the ceiling is very low you may be able to.

One problem here is the art 100 definition of readily accessible does not give a maximum height restriction.

It does say "or to resort to portable ladders, and so forth", but that means a person 7 foot 2 tall typically has more places that are possibly readily accessible then someone only 4 foot tall.
You don't build a home to the height of a single person. That would be like telling the inspector I do not need a receptacle on a wall that's only 5' wide because I will never put anything there....I mean, come on Mr. Inspector I own the house, I built it...I never plan to sell it......I don't want that receptacle on the wall.......its mine...mine...mine...

Inspector replies - Here's Your...Your...Your red tag...call me back when you have the receptacle added. Have a nice day !

Sorry...bad analogy but again you can't build it for someone who may be 7' 2" tall...when they may be married to someone who is 2' 7" tall.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Kind of a slow day at the forum today.

Of course, lets split hairs. I believe that most building codes have minimum ceiling heights in new construction, anything goes in retrofits.




In my opinion that will be up to the inspector / AHJ to decide regardless of the installers feelings. If I was an inspector I would use 6'-7" as the magic number taking that hint from 220.24(A) and 404.8(A) etc.
I'd probably use 6-7 as well for same reasons.

You don't build a home to the height of a single person. That would be like telling the inspector I do not need a receptacle on a wall that's only 5' wide because I will never put anything there....I mean, come on Mr. Inspector I own the house, I built it...I never plan to sell it......I don't want that receptacle on the wall.......its mine...mine...mine...

Inspector replies - Here's Your...Your...Your red tag...call me back when you have the receptacle added. Have a nice day !

Sorry...bad analogy but again you can't build it for someone who may be 7' 2" tall...when they may be married to someone who is 2' 7" tall.
You never seen a storage shed that has low ceiling and still has GFCI requirements?

The need for a ceiling outlet for garage door opener maybe not too common for such application, but a 15/20 amp 120 volt receptacle on the ceiling for any reason still needs GFCI protection. They still make those cheap fluorescent "shop" lights that owners often want to use with a short cord and cap installed.
 

iceworm

Curmudgeon still using printed IEEE Color Books
Location
North of the 65 parallel
Occupation
EE (Field - as little design as possible)
There is not going to be much room under a garage door opener mounted to a 6' 7" ceiling. And it sounds pretty dangerous too. :)
Not to mention the door opening is about 5 feet tall. The intended vehicle would be a bugatti or a go-kart. Or maybe a short wide horse:p

ice
 
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