Washing machine outlet

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marconi400

Member
Location
madill, Ok
per the 2011 NEC, is the washing machine receptacle required to be GFCI protected? 210.8 fails to specify laundry rooms in it's listing of all the other rooms. I know in the 2008 NEC this area along with kitchen refrigerators, diswwasher and disposals were exempted; however this exemption isn't found in the 2011.
If it is now required then what about the other areas which are dedicated such as behind ther refer, underneath the cabinet for the dishwasher and disposal?
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
Not required for a washing machine receptacle unless it's within 6' of a laundry sink or the receptacle is located in an area that would require GFCI protection such as in an unfinished basement.
 

jumper

Senior Member
per the 2011 NEC, is the washing machine receptacle required to be GFCI protected? 210.8 fails to specify laundry rooms in it's listing of all the other rooms. I know in the 2008 NEC this area along with kitchen refrigerators, diswwasher and disposals were exempted; however this exemption isn't found in the 2011.
If it is now required then what about the other areas which are dedicated such as behind ther refer, underneath the cabinet for the dishwasher and disposal?

Kitchen GFCI requirements are the same in 2011 and 2008.

The washing machine and laundry areas do not specifically require GFCI in 2011 or 2008; however, the wording has changed to include all receptacles within 6' of any sink except the kitchen one. So if the receptacle feeding the washer is in that range that receptacle would need GFCI. This would have been required in 2008 also. Basically (7) was just reworded for better clarity.

Here is the 2011 wording:

(6) Kitchens? where the receptacles are installed to serve
the counter top surfaces

(7) Sinks ? located in areas other than kitchens where
receptacles are installed within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the outside
edge of the sink

Here is 2008:

(6) Kitchens ? where the receptacles are installed to serve
the countertop surfaces

(7) Laundry, utility, and wet bar sinks ? where the receptacles
are installed within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the outside
edge of the sink
 

marconi400

Member
Location
madill, Ok
So my understanding is correct. I have been doing this over 25yrs and as a contractor since 2006 and i have never run across this issue until now. I had one person tell me it's new in the 2011 code though i don't recall the change in the update class and upon furthur searching i've failed to find such a change. Another person told me there is a proposal for such a change in 2014 possibly even including dryers?
 

102 Inspector

Senior Member
Location
N/E Indiana
Occupation
Inspector- All facets
So if a GFCI is required to be readily accessible, does that mean that the old way of putting a GFCI recept under the whirlpool tub is no longer approved since it is located behind an access panel. We are still on the 2008 code.
 

eprice

Senior Member
Location
Utah
Access panel = Accessible.

However, an access panel does not necessarily provide ready access. The access panel would be an obstacle that needs to be removed and if a tool is required in order to remove it, I don't think it fits the definition of readily accessible.
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
However, an access panel does not necessarily provide ready access. The access panel would be an obstacle that needs to be removed and if a tool is required in order to remove it, I don't think it fits the definition of readily accessible.

I guess we'd better start taking the doors off all our breaker panels then.
 

eprice

Senior Member
Location
Utah
I guess we'd better start taking the doors off all our breaker panels then.

The door to the breaker panel can be opened without a tool. Many times the access panels provided for the under-tub space require a screw driver or other tool in order to remove the panel. In my opinion that doesn't meet the definition in Article 100 for Readily Accessible.
 

jap

Senior Member
The door to the breaker panel can be opened without a tool. Many times the access panels provided for the under-tub space require a screw driver or other tool in order to remove the panel. In my opinion that doesn't meet the definition in Article 100 for Readily Accessible.


I agree with this.

but on the other hand,

I guess you could bury a panel behind sheetrock and call it readily accessible as long as your knuckles were strong enough to break the sheetrock out without having to go get a hammer out of the truck?
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
The door to the breaker panel can be opened without a tool. Many times the access panels provided for the under-tub space require a screw driver or other tool in order to remove the panel. In my opinion that doesn't meet the definition in Article 100 for Readily Accessible.

I see nothing in the Definition about using tools, other than specifying ladders.
 

renosteinke

Senior Member
Location
NE Arkansas
Since you can't access any of a tub's equipment without opening that panel -the same panel that would block access to the receptacle - I say we let it stand as is. Indeed, place that GFI anywhere outside that compartment and you're making it LESS accessible.

Think of it as a variation of the rooftop receptacle debate.

Now ... there's another issue here. I say that a receptacle behind the washer is not readily accessible, yet the washer is limited to a 3-ft. pigtail. Set the receptacle above the washer and you've run out of cord. See the problem?

Tne NEC needs to get out of the design business.
 

eprice

Senior Member
Location
Utah
I see nothing in the Definition about using tools, other than specifying ladders.

Well, I think the tools could reasonably be included in the "and so forth" at the end. The definition prohibits the need to remove obstacles. A panel door is easily opened and wouldn't be an obstacle in my opinion. An access panel requiring the removal of screws on the other hand, is more of an obstacle. The definition leaves us with the need to make a judgment call on a case by case basis. In my mind, the need for tools, or the lack thereof is something that can help in making that judgement call.
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
Well, I think the tools could reasonably be included in the "and so forth" at the end. The definition prohibits the need to remove obstacles. A panel door is easily opened and wouldn't be an obstacle in my opinion. An access panel requiring the removal of screws on the other hand, is more of an obstacle. The definition leaves us with the need to make a judgment call on a case by case basis. In my mind, the need for tools, or the lack thereof is something that can help in making that judgement call.

What about locking a panel door then? Would not the key be considered a tool?
 

102 Inspector

Senior Member
Location
N/E Indiana
Occupation
Inspector- All facets
Article 680.73 states that electrical equipment shall be accessible without damaging the building structure or building finish and the definition of accesible, readily states without requiring removal of obstacles (paraphrasing). I think it is a fine line on what readily accessible means. I have seen the GFCI receptacle located in an adjacent clothes closet and fed to a receptacle under the tub. This can be equally confusing to the homeowner if no one ever explained what the design was. Either way, interesting conversation, thank you.
 

eprice

Senior Member
Location
Utah
Since you can't access any of a tub's equipment without opening that panel -the same panel that would block access to the receptacle - I say we let it stand as is. Indeed, place that GFI anywhere outside that compartment and you're making it LESS accessible.

Think of it as a variation of the rooftop receptacle debate.

You don't need to be able to access any of the other tub equipment in order to test the gfci receptacle. I suspect the reason the requirement was added for gfci receptacles to be readily accessible was to make it more likely that they will be tested (though I know the average home owner still will not). I guess I don't see how this is like the rooftop debate scenario. Someone does climb up on the roof to service the rooftop equipment, but they don't climb into the under tub space to service the motor.


Now ... there's another issue here. I say that a receptacle behind the washer is not readily accessible, yet the washer is limited to a 3-ft. pigtail. Set the receptacle above the washer and you've run out of cord. See the problem?

Tne NEC needs to get out of the design business.

Where does the code require a receptacle (other than a gfci receptacle) to be readily accessible?
 

eprice

Senior Member
Location
Utah
What about locking a panel door then? Would not the key be considered a tool?

That is a valid point that I have thought about as well. 240.24 has some exceptions to the ready access requirement for overcurrent protection devices. If we look at those exceptions carefully, they may not really apply to all of the locations where locking panel doors are used, but 90.1(A) talks about considering practicality when applying the electrical code. There are some valid, practical reasons why a building owner or manager needs to maintain control of the breakers through the use of locking covers. I can't think of any practical need for the gfci receptacle to be located in the under-tub space. In fact, most electricians around here have always avoided putting the gfci under the tub out of consideration for the home owners.

In my time as an inspector when I have asked to look inside a locked panel door to look at the breaker schedule I have never had to wait for more than a minute for that access to be provided. On the other hand, when I have asked to be able to inspect the receptacle under a jet tub for proper installation, I often need to go inspect some other things while I wait for someone to remove the access cover. The access to the under tub space just doesn't seem to be as "ready" as access to breakers behind a locked panel door.
 
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