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Thread: Wierd Outlet

  1. #1
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    Default Wierd Outlet

    What's going on here? This outlet is in an exterior wall of a garage, and the receptacle on the left side is not GFCI protected. Ant help would be appreciated!

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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    The receptacle is a NEMA 5-20 simplex receptacle - a 120 volt 20 AMP single receptacle. It's pretty common to find these in garages where someone had a small compressor or similar. It should be replaced by a GFCI receptacle - a 20 AMP, assuming the circuit is 20 AMP, or if it doesn't matter at this point a 15 AMP GFCI receptacle would work also.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by John Thompson View Post
    What's going on here? This outlet is in an exterior wall of a garage, and the receptacle on the left side is not GFCI protected. Ant help would be appreciated!
    Thats a dedicated outlet for a fridge, irrigation system or golf cart charger.
    Some areas still allow those but it should at least be labeled as non-gfci.

    Since it is a 20 amp type the circuit should also be 20 amp.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    That's a 20 Amp simplex receptacle. Maybe for an A/C, dehum, freezer, compressor, shop vac; who knows why they installed it.


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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Thanks guys! It makes sense...here in Montana, a lot of houses have freezers in the garages for game meat!

    John Thompson
    Shelter Works Home Inspections, LLC
    Missoula, MT

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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    The receptacle is a NEMA 5-20 simplex receptacle - a 120 volt 20 AMP single receptacle. It's pretty common to find these in garages where someone had a small compressor or similar. It should be replaced by a GFCI receptacle - a 20 AMP, assuming the circuit is 20 AMP, or if it doesn't matter at this point a 15 AMP GFCI receptacle would work also.
    For quite a while a receptacle like that, installed where it will be behind a large applaince and not readily accessible, did NOT need GFI protection. So it is completely feasible that this is/was a legal installation.


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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    My take on this is that unless an appliance (freezer or refrigerator) is present that it needs to be changed as the appliance is the basis for the exception.

    Also, the non-GFCI receptacles in a garage are supposed to be within a dedicated space for the appliance, and i don't think this. Otherwise access to the GFCI is blocked. I take dedicated space to mean that with the appliance in place that the receptacle is inaccessible.

    All of course depending on rules in place when built or when the receptacle was added.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    How'd we survive before GFI protection devices ever came about? It's totally amazing the paranoia some things and some people create. It's a dedicated circuit in a garage. Prior to 1978, all garage outlets were dedicated. Just tell your client it's a dedicated outlet for a fridge / freezer and move on. Now if all 20 outlets in the garage were dedicated and the garage was built in 1999 like the place I inspected yesterday, then there's an issue.


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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    As a remodeling contractor, my take on this is that you can't make a reliable determination without looking at the wiring and/ or testing breakers. It is not uncommon to find a simplex or duplex outlet for a freezer or other appliance on a dedicated circuit in the same box as a duplex outlet on a separate circuit.


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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hintz View Post
    How'd we survive before GFI protection devices ever came about? It's totally amazing the paranoia some things and some people create.
    All the rhetoric against GFCI protection and AFCI protection and we STILL hear things like this: "How'd we survive before GFI protection devices ever came about?"

    How about this for an answer, one you probably will not like: MANY DID NOT survive before GFCI protection, THAT IS WHY it came about.

    Sheesh.

    How about: Seat Belts? Safety Glass? Guard Rails?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    All the rhetoric against GFCI protection and AFCI protection and we STILL hear things like this: "How'd we survive before GFI protection devices ever came about?"

    How about this for an answer, one you probably will not like: MANY DID NOT survive before GFCI protection, THAT IS WHY it came about.

    Sheesh.

    How about: Seat Belts? Safety Glass? Guard Rails?
    Common Sense is the best protection Jerry. Some people need "Big Brother" looking after them to save them from themselves. One outlet in a garage not GFI protected - oh my !!!


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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hintz View Post
    Common Sense is the best protection Jerry. Some people need "Big Brother" looking after them to save them from themselves. One outlet in a garage not GFI protected - oh my !!!
    I'm at a loss to figure out how a tool, appliance, or other device, that has an electrical failure is not going to hurt or kill someone due to the level of common sense the person who is using the item at the time of failure has.

    There's a bunch of you folks running around who make the typical remarks about "gene pool" reduction whenever someone gets hurt or killed by something you might know a bit more about than the person who got killed. And, it's probably funny till it winds up being a close family member that it happens to.

    Fact of the matter is a single non-GFCI receptacle in a garage is like no GFCI receptacles in a garage because it gives the opportunity for someone who doesn't know better, or someone who does but gets in a hurry about something, to make the wrong choice.

    Now, if there was a way to insure that the use of that non-GFCI receptacle wouldn't ever affect the life and safety of anyone but the individual who chose to use it I'd say make all receptacles half GFCI and half not. That way those of you that feel like big brother is too intrusive can have the option of knowing you can use an unprotected circuit any time you want. Maybe a sensor you wear that lets anything electrical you touch let the GFCI know when you're using the stuff that the GFCI is not to activate in the event of a fault. Works kinda like those folks who drink a lot so they have a tolerance for alcohol and think the alcohol levels shouldn't apply to them. More big brother - after all, who else is affected by them driving?

    (pick your own moniker or expletive) you're stupid.

    Last edited by Bill Kriegh; 12-24-2011 at 12:33 PM.
    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Under the 2008 and 2011 NEC that single receptacle is required to be GFCI protected. It can be served by either a 15 or 20 amp individual branch circuit.


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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    I'm at a loss to figure out how a tool, appliance, or other device, that has an electrical failure is not going to hurt or kill someone due to the level of common sense the person who is using the item at the time of failure has.

    There's a bunch of you folks running around who make the typical remarks about "gene pool" reduction whenever someone gets hurt or killed by something you might know a bit more about than the person who got killed. And, it's probably funny till it winds up being a close family member that it happens to.

    Fact of the matter is a single non-GFCI receptacle in a garage is like no GFCI receptacles in a garage because it gives the opportunity for someone who doesn't know better, or someone who does but gets in a hurry about something, to make the wrong choice.

    Now, if there was a way to insure that the use of that non-GFCI receptacle wouldn't ever affect the life and safety of anyone but the individual who chose to use it I'd say make all receptacles half GFCI and half not. That way those of you that feel like big brother is too intrusive can have the option of knowing you can use an unprotected circuit any time you want. Maybe a sensor you wear that lets anything electrical you touch let the GFCI know when you're using the stuff that the GFCI is not to activate in the event of a fault. Works kinda like those folks who drink a lot so they have a tolerance for alcohol and think the alcohol levels shouldn't apply to them. More big brother - after all, who else is affected by them driving?

    God you're stupid.
    Boo !!! BTW, GOD is NOT Stupid - Stupid !!!


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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hintz View Post
    Boo !!! BTW, GOD is NOT Stupid - Stupid !!!
    Yeah, you're right. That an intelligent entity would intentionally let guys like you run loose is more accidental than stupidity. My apologies. I'll remove that.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    Under the 2008 and 2011 NEC that single receptacle is required to be GFCI protected. It can be served by either a 15 or 20 amp individual branch circuit.
    NO!!! That simplex receptacle is a 125V, 20 Amp (NEMA 5-20) Type - It shall NOT be supplied by a 15 amp branch circuit, individual or otherwise.

    The duplex 15A receptacle to the right; however, may be supplied by a 20A branch circuit, individual or otherwise.

    IF the circuit supplying the 5-20 receptacle is an individual branch circuit @ 120 V AND it is protected with a 20 amp fuse or circuit breaker it could be replaced with a 15A DUPLEX receptacle (combination GFCI) or a 20 A combination GFCI receptacle.

    It should be verified that the circuit supplying the questioned receptacle is indeed protected with a 20A circuit breaker, however, and if higher than 20A there should be a permanent divider in the box.

    It might be provided with heavier guage wiring and/or a larger circuit breaker - as the apparently "dedicated" receptacle *might* be in place for a welder, for example.

    If it is a 20A - it might be in place for an engine block heater or a trickle charger. It gets cold where the OP is, and both are quite common.

    Both pictured could be supplied by the same branch circuit - just because a receptacle isn't a combination GFCI device, or supplied directly by a GFCI circuit breaker, doesn't mean it isn't protected.

    I'd guess the most likely "reason" would be for the use of a power washer, or a resistance heater of some sort (well,pond, engine block, etc.).

    BTW, the OP said the pictured was on (upon?) an exterior wall of the garage, it looks like it is of the type and mounting in an interior wall, perhaps the OP meant that. If it realy is upon the EXTERIOR (outside) of the garage, it should be likely be WR and in a weather-proof cover- possibly one which provides protection while IN USE, even if it is slightly under cover, protected by an overhang, porch, breezeway, etc.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 12-24-2011 at 06:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    NO!!! That simplex receptacle is a 125V, 20 Amp (NEMA 5-20) Type - It shall NOT be supplied by a 15 amp branch circuit, individual or otherwise.

    The duplex 15A receptacle to the right; however, may be supplied by a 20A branch circuit, individual or otherwise.

    IF the circuit supplying the 5-20 receptacle is an individual branch circuit @ 120 V AND it is protected with a 20 amp fuse or circuit breaker it could be replaced with a 15A DUPLEX receptacle (combination GFCI) or a 20 A combination GFCI receptacle.

    It should be verified that the circuit supplying the questioned receptacle is indeed protected with a 20A circuit breaker, however, and if higher than 20A there should be a permanent divider in the box.

    Do you have a NEC code section to back up this claim? You might want to look at 210.21(B)(1).

    And why would you need a divider in the box?


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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    Do you have a NEC code section to back up this claim? You might want to look at 210.21(B)(1).
    Robert,

    You or Watson may be correct, it depends ...

    It depends on if the single 20 amp receptacle outlet is THE ONLY receptacle outlet on the circuit or if there is even just one more receptacle outlet on that same circuit.

    *IF* that single 20 amp receptacle outlet is THE ONLY receptacle on that circuit, then the circuit *could be* either a 15 amp or a 20 amp circuit, and Watson referred to it maybe being on a 20 amp circuit, and if it is on a 20 amp circuit, then Watson is correct in that any replacement receptacle would need to be a 20 amp receptacle, that a 15 amp receptacle would not be allowed.

    *IF* that single 20 amp receptacle outlet is NOT THE ONLY receptacle on that circuit, then the circuit is a multi-outlet circuit and that 20 amp receptacle is allowed to be replaced with a 15 amp receptacle.

    Or *IF* that single 20 amp receptacle outlet is THE ONLY receptacle on that circuit, and that circuit is a 15 amp circuit (on a 15 amp breaker), then that 20 amp receptacle is allowed to be replaced with a 15 amp receptacle.

    The code reference starts with 210.21(B)(1) (the same reference you posted), and then moves on to Table 210.21(B)(2).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Robert,

    You or Watson may be correct, it depends ...

    It depends on if the single 20 amp receptacle outlet is THE ONLY receptacle outlet on the circuit or if there is even just one more receptacle outlet on that same circuit.

    *IF* that single 20 amp receptacle outlet is THE ONLY receptacle on that circuit, then the circuit *could be* either a 15 amp or a 20 amp circuit, and Watson referred to it maybe being on a 20 amp circuit, and if it is on a 20 amp circuit, then Watson is correct in that any replacement receptacle would need to be a 20 amp receptacle, that a 15 amp receptacle would not be allowed.

    *IF* that single 20 amp receptacle outlet is NOT THE ONLY receptacle on that circuit, then the circuit is a multi-outlet circuit and that 20 amp receptacle is allowed to be replaced with a 15 amp receptacle.

    Or *IF* that single 20 amp receptacle outlet is THE ONLY receptacle on that circuit, and that circuit is a 15 amp circuit (on a 15 amp breaker), then that 20 amp receptacle is allowed to be replaced with a 15 amp receptacle.

    The code reference starts with 210.21(B)(1) (the same reference you posted), and then moves on to Table 210.21(B)(2).
    I agree with what you're saying but my original post stated that on an individual branch circuit that a single receptacle could be 20 amps on a 15 amp IBC. HG seems to disagree.


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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    2011 NEC
    Table 210.21(B)(3) Receptacle Ratings for Various Size
    Circuits
    Circuit Rating - Receptacle Rating
    (Amperes) - (Amperes)
    15 - Not over 15
    20 - 15 or 20
    30 - 30
    40 - 40 or 50
    50 - 50

    So, the deal is that if the single receptacle is the only receptacle on a 20 AMP circuit it must be rated at 20 AMPs. If, on the other hand, there is more than one receptacle on the 20 AMP circuit the single receptacle can be either a 15 or 20 AMP. 20 AMP receptacles aren't permitted on 15 AMP circuits at all.

    I'd really like a code reference on the box divider thing - usually reserved for A/V separation in a common box.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    2011 NEC
    Table 210.21(B)(3) Receptacle Ratings for Various Size
    Circuits
    Circuit Rating - Receptacle Rating
    (Amperes) - (Amperes)
    15 - Not over 15
    20 - 15 or 20
    30 - 30
    40 - 40 or 50
    50 - 50

    So, the deal is that if the single receptacle is the only receptacle on a 20 AMP circuit it must be rated at 20 AMPs. If, on the other hand, there is more than one receptacle on the 20 AMP circuit the single receptacle can be either a 15 or 20 AMP. 20 AMP receptacles aren't permitted on 15 AMP circuits at all.

    I'd really like a code reference on the box divider thing - usually reserved for A/V separation in a common box.

    Bill, that table is for more than one receptacle which would include a single duplex receptacle. A single receptacle on an IBC must have a rating not less than the size of the OCPD ahead of it. That permits a 20 amp single receptacle on a 15 amp circuit.

    You may also see this on range circuit where a 40 amp circuit uses a 50 amp receptacle and cord set.

    Maybe HG will provide more information on why a divider is needed.

    210.21(B)(3) Receptacle Ratings. Where connected to a branch circuit supplying two or more receptacles or outlets, receptacle ratings shall conform to the values listed in Table 210.21(B)(3), or where larger than 50 amperes, the receptacle rating shall not be less than the branch-circuit rating.
    210.21(B)(1) Single Receptacle on an Individual Branch Circuit. A single receptacle installed on an individual branch circuit shall have an ampere rating not less than that of the branch circuit.



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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    Bill, that table is for more than one receptacle which would include a single duplex receptacle. A single receptacle on an IBC must have a rating not less than the size of the OCPD ahead of it. That permits a 20 amp single receptacle on a 15 amp circuit.

    You may also see this on range circuit where a 40 amp circuit uses a 50 amp receptacle and cord set.

    Maybe HG will provide more information on why a divider is needed.
    Tis true. After posting I discovered the reason I got derailed is that there is a local AHJ rule like that around here somewhere (now I gotta go back and see which one). Sometimes cut and paste without reading isn't so good.

    HG isn't going to provide a reason because there isn't one. Even where you have wiring from different panels with different voltages in the same box a divider isn't required.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Wierd Outlet

    A box divider?? Those are used to seperate line voltage & low voltage conductors or, where different 277V circuits are next to each other so the voltage does not exceed 300V between adjacent switches.

    The exception used to exist to omit GFCI protection for equipment in dedicated spaces, if it was done in compliance w/ a prior code edition that allowed it, it would be OK as codes are NOT retroactive, if they were we would have to tear down buildings every few years to comply w/ the new codes.


    Personally I would recommend it be changed, but not required.


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