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  1. #1
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    Default One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Laundry room sink. Outlet next to sink is a GFCI outlet, works fine. Another outlet 2 feet away is not GFCI. House was built in 1977.
    How would you write this up?

    I said the other outlet should be upgraded to GFCI.

    Thanks for your answers.

    Dave

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    In 77 a laundry room sink was not required to be GFI protected. So, the one in place may have had the outlet/protection added at some point. Is the one that is not GFI the 110 volt outlet for the washing machine? If so, those often aren't GFI protected even in new construction, at least not in my area.

    The root of your question is really how far down the road of suggesting/recommending/requiring an older house be updated to the standard of a newer house?

    Here is the comment I paste into my reports...

    GFI protection is recommended in all wet locations (kitchen, bathroom, exterior and garage). This feature was not common when the house was built but is a recommended safety upgrade given the potential hazard of using electricity around water.

    The GFI thing is particularly tricky when it comes to old houses vs new. There have been a lot of changes in the code over the years, thus a lot of different recommendations. That is why I choose to go fairly general.

    Others will likely chime in with some different approaches... the above method has worked for me but is in no way the only way.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Here in Texas, TREC licensed inspectors are required by the TREC SoP to compare ALL dwellings (regardless of age) to the current standards of the NEC in regard to GFCI protection.

    From the TREC SoP;

    "...(2) inspect all accessible receptacles and report as in need of repair a receptacle in which:

    ...(G) ground fault circuit interrupter devices are not properly installed as set forth by the current edition of the National Electric Code, publication 70A of the National Fire Protection Association, or do not operate properly as shown by use of a separate testing device;"

    Now from the 2005 NEC in article 210.8 titled "Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for Personnel."

    "...(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.

    ...(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."

    It seems that we have a winner! Here in Texas we would write your described situation up as being in need of repair.

    BUT WAIT! There is an exception or two in the code to consider and Matt touched on this in his earlier post.

    Also from the 2005 NEC;

    "Exception No. 2 to (2): A single receptacle or a duplex receptacle for two appliances located within dedicated space for each appliance that, in normal use, is not easily moved from one place to another and that is cord-and-plug connected in accordance with 400.7(A)(6), (A)(7), or (A)(8)."

    So if the outlet in question is a plug installed within the dedicated space for the washer/dryer then the exception would apply and, Here in Texas, we would not be required to write that up as being in need of repair.

    Clear as mud?

    Last edited by Phillip Stojanik; 07-25-2007 at 12:42 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    While the house was built in 1977, the electricity is of current vintage ... the electricity in that outlet within 6 feet of the laundry sink can hurt people today.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  5. #5
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    While the house was built in 1977, the electricity is of current vintage ... the electricity in that outlet within 6 feet of the laundry sink can hurt people today.
    I like that! "current" vintage....

    RR


  6. #6
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    We as home inspectors need to get everyone to realize that there is no such thing as 'Grandfathered" in our profession. It either is or it is not.

    Report what you find. An outlet in the laundry room was not GFCI protected. It should be GFCI protected.

    That is about all we need to do. I really could care less if the home was built in the 1800's or in 2005.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Thank you all for the quick responses.

    Cheers!

    Dave Hill
    Buyers & Sellers Property Inspections LLC
    WWW.BuyersSellersPi.Com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    ASHI's SOP states a home inspector is to inspect "a representative number of installed lighting fixtures, switches, and receptacles". I have seen "representative number" interpreted as "one per room". If an inspector does not exceed ASHI's SOP that means he would inspect only one kitchen outlet. In this case if he happened to inspect the GFCI-protected outlet he would not have caught the non-GFCI-protected outlet. Just another example of a benefit of exceeding the SOP.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
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  9. #9
    Joe Tribuzio's Avatar
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Dave, is there a chance that the second outlet is down stream of the GFCI outlet and therefore protected?
    Just wondering since it is two feet away.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Rushing View Post
    I like that! "current" vintage....

    RR
    The pun was intended.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    We as home inspectors need to get everyone to realize that there is no such thing as 'Grandfathered" in our profession. It either is or it is not.

    Report what you find. An outlet in the laundry room was not GFCI protected. It should be GFCI protected.

    That is about all we need to do. I really could care less if the home was built in the 1800's or in 2005.
    Just playing devil's advocate here.... Do you recommend that all of the lower sheetrock be removed and that every stud to baseplate connection be done with 8d nails instead of 6d nails because the code changed?

    I realize that electrical issues are more important and that many state's SoP's require to call out the absence of GFI's... mine doesn't so I really can't 'require' anything.

    I'm sure the intent of your post wasn't this but taken literally, you're saying you'd go into a 5 year old house and becuse the code has changed it should all be rebuilt?


  12. #12
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Just playing devil's advocate here.... Do you recommend that all of the lower sheetrock be removed and that every stud to baseplate connection be done with 8d nails instead of 6d nails because the code changed?
    Well, that is really not a safety issue.

    I realize that electrical issues are more important and that many state's SoP's require to call out the absence of GFI's... mine doesn't so I really can't 'require' anything.
    Home inspectors can't require anything. All we can do, or I should say "should do" is to report what we see.

    I'm sure the intent of your post wasn't this but taken literally, you're saying you'd go into a 5 year old house and because the code has changed it should all be rebuilt?
    Nope, not one bit. Common sense has to play a role in what we as home inspectors report and do. Older homes need to be safe so anything I consider to be unsafe I report on and offer an opinion as to what might make it better or safer.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  13. #13
    Robert Schenck's Avatar
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Dave, . Im curious to know if you tested (intentionally trip) the other outlet that was 2 feet away with a tester ? As I often find, and as it should be, tripping one standard outlet in a bathroom will trip the GFCI in another bathroom. One GFCI outlet can protect a series of outlets. This applies with kitchen outlets, or where ever GFCIs are required. Im thinking that possibly that other outlet (2 feet away) could have been protected from the GFCI near the sink ? Just a thought ?


  14. #14
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    I realize that electrical issues are more important and that many state's SoP's require to call out the absence of GFI's... mine doesn't so I really can't 'require' anything.
    No home inspector can't "require" anything.

    I am sure that your state *does not* say *you shall not* write up missing GFCIs, right?

    If not, why can't you write them up?

    (Playing devil's advocate here.)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    No home inspector can't "require" anything.

    I am sure that your state *does not* say *you shall not* write up missing GFCIs, right?

    If not, why can't you write them up?

    (Playing devil's advocate here.)
    I never said I don't write them up... of course I do. But it's a recommendation.

    And I was more referring to the overbroad statement that 'there is no such thing as grandfathering in our profession' - It wasn't clear to me that all Scott was talking about was electrical.

    Also, didn't somebody post an exception that basically states the outlet in question is not required to be GFI protected? In my area washing machine outlets most often are not.


  16. #16
    Jimmy Breazeale's Avatar
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    I use standard comments for different situations. An older home with two-wire ungrounded branch circuits isn't considered to have defective wiring, and neither is the absence of GFCI's in this case...well, maybe in Texas! And, exterior locations in, what, '71? Then baths, then kitchens, then garages, then laundries, etc, etc. It's safe enough and surely simple enough to strongly recommend it as a safety upgrade in all wet locations, and the receptacles are relatively cheap. They work on the two-wire systems, too, as we all know (I think). I go one better: I recommend them upstream in bedroom circuits, to give a measure of added protection without having to make expensive wiring upgrades. Kind of a poor man's AFCI, if you will. There is certainly nothing that says you can't, and if you happen to be buying a home with a two-wire system, it's not a bad idea at all. And, most beautifully of all, it doesn't tick off the Realtor Gods.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Also, didn't somebody post an exception that basically states the outlet in question is not required to be GFI protected? In my area washing machine outlets most often are not.
    Dave said "Laundry room sink. Outlet next to sink is a GFCI outlet, works fine. Another outlet 2 feet away is not GFCI."

    Nothing about that being the laundry outlet.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    If the outlet is within 6 feet of the sink it should be a GFCI protected outlet.If it,s a double outlet and one side is used for the washing machine the potentail to plug another appliance into the open side is still there.The double should be changed to GFCI and a single outlet dedicated to the washing machine installed.A lot of rewiring I know,but the proper solution.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Mike Holt's take, as of May 1, 2007:

    "Laundry and wet bars. GFCI protection is required for receptacles located within 6 feet of a laundry, utility room, or wet bar sink [210.8(A)(7), 210.52(F)]. There are no exceptions to this rule, so even a receptacle for a clothes washer must be GFCI protected if it is within 6 feet of the sink..."

    Branch Circuits - Applying GFCIs and AFCIs


  20. #20
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Yeah, try telling the dead persons family it met code in 1977. I report all safety issues and advise correction no matter what the circumstances. That way it's off my conscious.


  21. #21
    Tim Spanos's Avatar
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    GFCI protected receptacles are not required in laundry rooms, unless the laundry room is located in an unfinished basement, but as of the 2005 NEC all receptacles in dwelling units located within 6 feet of a sink shall be GFCI protected....The outlet may be grandfathered and not required to be GFCI protected but to meet new NEC requirements and for the saftey of those utilizing the outlet it should be gfci protected


  22. #22
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    xx

    ======

    If the response to an area of concern or a recommendation in my report is, "Well, they didn't have that (or they didn't do that) when the house was built," or that it was "grandfathered", I usually know that. I also note that when it comes to home repairs, "Grandfathered" is a term often tossed out by people who care more about their wallet than about you and your family's safety: as in "That 8 inch gap in the balcony railing doesn't need to be fixed because it's grandfathered. It was okay to do it that way when this house was built."

    Is it going to comfort you, when your child falls through that gap and is badly injured, that the size of the gap was "Grandfathered"? All "Grandfathered" really means is that no one can "force" you to change it, repair it, or replace it. Only YOU can choose what level of risk you want to live with. People with young children who could fall through that 8 inch gap "should" choose to ensure it is changed to a safer gap but no one is going to force a change except you.

    Since whatever issue was "grandfathered", our knowledge has increased considerably concerning safety in the home. I believe that you should be safe in your home and that taking care of your home should be as easy as possible. So I will recommend things that they didn't have or do years ago simply to keep you safe or help you take care of your home. What's most important to me is that you and your family are as safe as possible in your home. Only YOU can choose what level of risk you want to live with and expose your family to.
    ===================

    They get to CHOOSE the level of risk they want to live with.

    -

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
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  23. #23
    mark tyson's Avatar
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Mike Holt's take, as of May 1, 2007:

    "Laundry and wet bars. GFCI protection is required for receptacles located within 6 feet of a laundry, utility room, or wet bar sink [210.8(A)(7), 210.52(F)]. There are no exceptions to this rule, so even a receptacle for a clothes washer must be GFCI protected if it is within 6 feet of the sink..."

    Branch Circuits - Applying GFCIs and AFCIs
    I'm cetainly not an N.E.C. expert but i do think you are mistaken here. It is my understanding that non G.F.C.I. receptacles are permitted as long as they are on dedicated circuits such as would occur for clothes washers, security systems, central vacums, etc?


  24. #24
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Quote Originally Posted by mark tyson View Post
    I'm cetainly not an N.E.C. expert but i do think you are mistaken here. It is my understanding that non G.F.C.I. receptacles are permitted as long as they are on dedicated circuits such as would occur for clothes washers, security systems, central vacums, etc?
    Mike is correct. There is no exception for dedicated circuits. If a 120 volt receptacle is within 6' of a sink , it is required to be GFCI protected.

    This is ANY receptacle regardless of what is for, if it's a dedicated circuit, a single receptacle or duplex receptacle - within 6' GFCI required

    Last edited by ken horak; 11-24-2009 at 06:13 PM.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    Mark is correct. There is no exception for dedicated circuits. If a 120 volt receptacle is within 6' of a sink , it is required to be GFCI protected.

    This is ANY receptacle regardless of what is for, if it's a dedicated circuit, a single receptacle or duplex receptacle - within 6' GFCI required
    Which makes Mark INcorrect and Michael correct.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  26. #26
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    JP-Thats what I meant, but mixed the names

    Corrected my error, I really need to proof read all my posts prior to posting.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: One GFCI by sink, one not?

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    JP-Thats what I meant, but mixed the names

    Corrected my error, I really need to proof read all my posts prior to posting.
    Ken,

    I was sure that was what you meant based on what you said.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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