GFCI Required on refrigerator?

Johnyzoom

Member
Location
Va
During a final inspection the building inspector in all his wisdom set a GFCI is required on a refrigerator now. It really doesn’t make sense for
 

augie47

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee
Occupation
State Electrical Inspector
IMO, it falls back to "installed to serve the countertop".. If the receptacle is not accessible to serve the countertop (blocked by the refrigerator) then no GFCI.
 

edward

Senior Member
Location
CA
Occupation
Electronologist
Depends on your installation. If the said receptacle is within 6' of a sink and or the receptacle can be used for counter use then yes It is required.
Was he asking for AFCI or GFCI?
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Retired Electrical Contractor
IMO, it falls back to "installed to serve the countertop".. If the receptacle is not accessible to serve the countertop (blocked by the refrigerator) then no GFCI.

Gus what code cycle? Here is 2017

(6) Kitchens — where the receptacles are installed to serve
the countertop surfaces
(7) Sinks — where receptacles are installed within 1.8 m
(6 ft) from the top inside edge of the bowl of the sink
I don't see any exception for a refrigerator that hides the receptacle.
 

augie47

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee
Occupation
State Electrical Inspector
If you can't get to the receptacle to plug in a counter top appliance, does that receptacle "serve the countertop" ??
 

Johnyzoom

Member
Location
Va
More information, The refrigerator is not accessible from the countertop as of the refrigerator fits inside cabinets. I will have to check the 6 foot measurement.
I questioned the inspector and he said if it had water running to it it needed to be GFCI and didn’t reference any code section.
.
I have fought with this inspector, On the plumbing code in the past, so it was easier for me just to change out the receptacle to the GFCI rather than make a stand on this. This is a small one horse town and the chief building inspector will side with this particular inspector.
 

rc/retired

Member
Location
Bellevue, Colorado
Occupation
Master Electrician/Inspector retired
Water for the ice maker does not mandate GFI protection. 6' from the sink will.
I'm sorry you can't convince the inspector and AHJ otherwise.
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Retired Electrical Contractor
It is interesting to me that if the receptacle, not the refrigerator, is within 6' of the sink then the receptacle must be gfci protected. I guess in older homes someone will run a cord from the refrigerator. Seems a bit odd to me...
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
More information, The refrigerator is not accessible from the countertop as of the refrigerator fits inside cabinets. I will have to check the 6 foot measurement.
I questioned the inspector and he said if it had water running to it it needed to be GFCI and didn’t reference any code section.
.
I have fought with this inspector, On the plumbing code in the past, so it was easier for me just to change out the receptacle to the GFCI rather than make a stand on this. This is a small one horse town and the chief building inspector will side with this particular inspector.
Personally I think keeping food preservation devices on a GFCI falls just short of stupid..
Nuisance trips during a lightning storm while your on vacation, come home to a smelly mess that’s easily avoided by putting the receptacle at least 6 ft away behind a cabinet setting like you mentioned.
2017 nec says
The distance shall be measured as the shortest path the cord of an appliance connected to the receptacle would follow without piercing a floor, wall, ceiling, or fixed barrier, or passing through a door, doorway, or window”.

A cabinet door is... a door.
So for the receptacles under the sink...
 

rnatalie

Senior Member
Location
Catawba, NC
Occupation
Retired Electrical Engineer
It is interesting to me that if the receptacle, not the refrigerator, is within 6' of the sink then the receptacle must be gfci protected. I guess in older homes someone will run a cord from the refrigerator. Seems a bit odd to me...
It's not to protect the refrigerator. It's to protect some other device that might be plugged in the receptacle and fall into the sink.
 

rc/retired

Member
Location
Bellevue, Colorado
Occupation
Master Electrician/Inspector retired
Personally I think keeping food preservation devices on a GFCI falls just short of stupid..
Nuisance trips during a lightning storm while your on vacation, come home to a smelly mess that’s easily avoided by putting the receptacle at least 6 ft away behind a cabinet setting like you mentioned.
2017 nec says
The distance shall be measured as the shortest path the cord of an appliance connected to the receptacle would follow without piercing a floor, wall, ceiling, or fixed barrier, or passing through a door, doorway, or window”.

A cabinet door is... a door.
So for the receptacles under the sink...
The 2020 removed door & doorway.
If the refrigerator was not installed at time of final inspection & if the distance from outlet to sink was 6' or less, the outlet would have to be GFCI protected.
My guess is at that time, the cabinet barriers may not have been an issue. Does that matter?
Ron
 

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
It is interesting to me that if the receptacle, not the refrigerator, is within 6' of the sink then the receptacle must be gfci protected. I guess in older homes someone will run a cord from the refrigerator. Seems a bit odd to me...
I agree but It's the way code written. If receptacle outlet its within 6ft of edge of sink. In the 2017 was added to the beginning of 210.8:
"For the purpose of this section, when determining distance from receptacles the distance shall be measured as the shortest path the cord of an appliance connected to the receptacle could follow without piercing a floor, wall, ceiling, or fixed barrier, or passing through a door, doorway, or window."

Mike's book Understanding the NEC 2017 code it has an interesting picture that illustrates this basically using a 6ft string showing placement of receptacle for refrigerator high and to the right would be within the limit and requires GFCI and high to the left would not.
Seems simplest is get a 6ft string as tool to confirm location is outside the requirement zone. And hope the plumber or countertop person doesn't move the sink after roughin.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
The 2020 removed door & doorway.
If the refrigerator was not installed at time of final inspection & if the distance from outlet to sink was 6' or less, the outlet would have to be GFCI protected.
My guess is at that time, the cabinet barriers may not have been an issue. Does that matter?
Ron
Did it remove “fixed barrier” for the fridge?
I can see where that would screw up the under the sink receptacles

guess I’ll find out
I have an 8 hour CE class tomorrow...
 
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