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  1. #1
    Dennis Bulgrien's Avatar
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    Default NEC year requiring GFCI for whirlpool

    In what year did the National Electric Code first require a 120VAC whirlpool / hydromassage bathtub that is installed in a house bathroom to have a ground fault circuit interrupter? This will determine whether the seller or buyer is responsible.

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  2. #2
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
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    Default Re: NEC year requiring GFCI for whirlpool

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Bulgrien View Post
    In what year did the National Electric Code first require a 120VAC whirlpool / hydromassage bathtub that is installed in a house bathroom to have a ground fault circuit interrupter? This will determine whether the seller or buyer is responsible.
    Dennis,

    What municipality is the property located in? That will also have a bearing on the 'enforcement' of what the NEC published.

    Local AHJ's (Authority Having Jurisdiction ... IE: municipality) may adopt the various code elements from the IRC, IBC, IPC, NEC and often 'with exceptions' or 'modifications'. They don't always adopt the code just as released by the IRC or NEC. They often modify to suit their local needs/practices.

    That being said the first time the requirement for the GFCI for the Hydromassage was published by the NEC was in: 1987.

    Again ... you have to know/understand the requirements of the local AHJ and when they adopted 'which' code cycle and what modifications to the code they may have also put in place.

    Also ... assuming the AHJ adopted the NEC in 1988 (for example) and there were NO modifications to the full NEC the requirement for the GFCI on the Hydromassage unit would only apply to construction of "new" properties AFTER the adoption of the code.

    Then there are the questions if the HM unit was installed after the original home's construction and was it installed by the homeowner and a friend ... neither of which may have been or are licensed electricians. In Texas homeowners can do that ... but that does not mean they know what the NEC requirements are.

    So ... giving you the date was/is easy, but learning all the others things about what may apply and when is a whole 'nother item.

    Then there could also be the situation where the local AHJ inspectors may not have enforced the requirement for whatever reason ... even though the AHJ may have adopted the NEC in the proper time frame for the construction of this property.

    A bunch of variables.


  3. #3
    Dennis Bulgrien's Avatar
    Dennis Bulgrien Guest

    Default Re: NEC year requiring GFCI for whirlpool

    I've been told that the house was (or at least may have been) on the outskirts of the city limits when it was built, i.e. in the country where only the NEC would apply since the state of TX didn't get involved until this decade. Most of the other variables are unknown (e.g. whether it was installed after the house was built).

    Thanks. The fact that the NEC did not require it until 1987 is helpful. Is there a website that I can read the 1987 code for free?

    Last edited by Dennis Bulgrien; 10-25-2012 at 10:48 PM. Reason: spelling

  4. #4
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    Default Re: NEC year requiring GFCI for whirlpool

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Bulgrien View Post
    In what year did the National Electric Code first require a 120VAC whirlpool / hydromassage bathtub that is installed in a house bathroom to have a ground fault circuit interrupter? This will determine whether the seller or buyer is responsible.
    This should help with additional information on GFCI protection at dwelling units:
    - http://constructionlitigationconsult..._page-2011.pdf

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

  5. #5
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: NEC year requiring GFCI for whirlpool

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Bulgrien View Post
    I've been told that the house was (or at least may have been) on the outskirts of the city limits when it was built, i.e. in the country where only the NEW would apply since the state of TX didn't get involved until this decade. Most of the other variables are unknown (e.g. whether it was installed after the house was built).

    Thanks. The fact that the NEC did not require it until 1987 is helpful. Is there a website that I can read the 1987 code for free?
    Dennis,

    I'll repeat my question: What city?

    When was the property built?

    If you are referring to new home construction done in the "county" ... that is out of the span of control of any AHJ then that is a whole different can of worms.

    During a short time frame the TRCC supposedly had some span of control for such "out in the county" construction. However, many of the TRCC inspectors were buddies with the builders and signed off on most anything that anyone wanted.

    The TRCC (for the most part) was an absolute joke and was basically controlled by the major home builders in Texas. The TRCC has been sunsetted by the Texas Legislature and thus there is no span of control "out in the county" currently.

    Technically the State of Texas requires that all construction throughout the state follow the IRC and NEC (I don't recall which cycle the legislature last adopted), but the problem is there are not any inspectors for the construction (out in the county) unless the homeowner hires a 3rd party inspector, but trying to get the builder to follow the rules is problematic.


  6. #6
    Dennis Bulgrien's Avatar
    Dennis Bulgrien Guest

    Default Re: NEC year requiring GFCI for whirlpool

    > This should help with additional information on GFCI protection at dwelling units:
    > - http://constructionlitigationconsult..._page-2011.pdf

    The title is "120 volt GFCI Protected Receptacle Outlets - REQUIRED LOCATIONS". The Hydro Massage Tubs column and 1987 row note 5b says "Indoor spa or hot tub, receptacles within 10 feet, receptacles must be at least 5 feet from inside wall of spa." This all seems to say that 1987 is when NEC required receptacles near one of them to have GFCI (e.g. if it was not somewhere that already needed them like a sun-room). It does not seem to indicate whether the unit itself needs to have one, which I am seeking since this one is in a bathroom. Another unknown variable is whether the unit has a receptacle-plug or is direct-wired like lights. Perhaps that makes a difference in NEC.


  7. #7
    Dennis Bulgrien's Avatar
    Dennis Bulgrien Guest

    Default Re: NEC year requiring GFCI for whirlpool

    Nolan,

    I'm not ignoring you about the place and time (it's not around DFW). That information just doesn't seem on topic for the question about the national code. I think there are too many unknown variables from that angle. I do recognize and appreciate the verbosity of your responses.

    Dennis


  8. #8
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: NEC year requiring GFCI for whirlpool

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Bulgrien View Post
    Nolan,

    I'm not ignoring you about the place and time (it's not around DFW). That information just doesn't seem on topic for the question about the national code. I think there are too many unknown variables from that angle. I do recognize and appreciate the verbosity of your responses.

    Dennis
    Dennis,

    The location (city) is very germaine as it all depends upon how the local AHJ adopts and interprets the NEC.

    I can add more words for you ponder. It then can also depend upon "when" the work was done and IF it was done by a licensed electrician and IF that electrician actually followed the NEC.

    In Texas the state licensing agency requires that all licensed electricians are required to do all their work according to the most recent NEC release ... "regardless" of what the State of Texas legislature or any local AHJ has adopted. Seldom do we see the electricians doing this (as it costs $$) and on the other hand it is frustrating when we don't often see the TDLR (Texas licensing agency) enforcing their own rules.

    Now ... with all those variables at hand to consider you can possibly see why I posed the many questions.

    Jerry P. will offer input on your read of his PDF. The circuit for the tub is also required to be a "dedicated" circuit and without question (since 1987) required to be GFCI protected.

    There may be some 'hard-wired' HM tubs, but in my 20+ years of inspecting I've never seen one. The GFCI reset can also be located in the SEP, but most often it is near the tub.


  9. #9
    Dennis Bulgrien's Avatar
    Dennis Bulgrien Guest

    Default Re: NEC year requiring GFCI for whirlpool

    > There may be some 'hard-wired' HM tubs,
    > but in my 20+ years of inspecting I've never seen one.

    That information is valuable. So I can assume this one is plugged into a receptacle hidden under the tub. In your experience/opinion would you say that the 1975 NEC would require the receptacle that a tub is plugged into to be GFCI simply because the tub is in a bathroom? In other words, for this installation it is irrelevant when NEC required HM tubs to be GFCI, just that the receptacle it is plugged into should have been GFCI.

    I understand, value, and respect an inspectors desire to have all the facts to make a guarranteeable decision. I, on the other hand, have little hope in achieving that in a reasonable time-frame with limited information, so am content with reaching a greatest likelihood.

    Dennis


  10. #10
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: NEC year requiring GFCI for whirlpool

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Bulgrien View Post
    > There may be some 'hard-wired' HM tubs,
    > but in my 20+ years of inspecting I've never seen one.

    That information is valuable. So I can assume this one is plugged into a receptacle hidden under the tub. In your experience/opinion would you say that the 1975 NEC would require the receptacle that a tub is plugged into to be GFCI simply because the tub is in a bathroom? In other words, for this installation it is irrelevant when NEC required HM tubs to be GFCI, just that the receptacle it is plugged into should have been GFCI.

    I understand, value, and respect an inspectors desire to have all the facts to make a guarranteeable decision. I, on the other hand, have little hope in achieving that in a reasonable time-frame with limited information, so am content with reaching a greatest likelihood.

    Dennis
    Dennis,

    As I stated and as is noted in the PDF that Jerry Peck provided ... GFCIs for Hydro-massage tubs were required as of 1987.

    BTW - there is supposed to be a "readily accessible panel" so one can reach the electrical, pump and plumbing lines. Removing the "readily accessible panel" should let you see the junction box with the romex under the tub with the plug/cord from the pump plugged into the outlet.

    Of course ... in many cases there is not a "readily accessible panel" for service.

    Didn't intend to throw you another curve with respect to the tub !!!


  11. #11
    Dennis Bulgrien's Avatar
    Dennis Bulgrien Guest

    Default Re: NEC year requiring GFCI for whirlpool

    The 1987 regulation would not affect installation before 1987 but it seems that the 1971/1975 regulation for outlets in a bathroom would apply to a tub in a bathroom.

    > As I stated and as is noted in the PDF that Jerry Peck provided ...
    > GFCIs for Hydro-massage tubs were required as of 1987.

    I am no expert, just using my good-ole English skills, but it seems that the PDF does not say that the tub needs to be GCFI but that the outlets near the tub do.... just like outlets near a bathroom, outlets near the sink, etc. Now, wording elsewhere in the 1987 NEC very well may explicitly say that the whirlpool itself must have one.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: NEC year requiring GFCI for whirlpool

    I had to wait until I got back home and to my office where my codes are ...

    Here is the key to what I was trying to say, but I can see that it is not at all clearly stated so I need to update the chart and note.

    My chart is regarding "120 volt GFCI Protected Receptacle Outlets - REQUIRED LOCATIONS", the key part is *Receptacle Outlets*, which is what the chart is addressing.

    "Receptacle Outlets" were not included in the first years that hydromassage tubs were included in the code - only that "Hydromassage bathtubs and their associated electric components shall be supplied by a circuit protected by a ground-fault circuit-interrupter."

    Did you notice what it says in there?

    "shall be supplied by a circuit protected by a ground-fault circuit-interrupter"

    The "circuit" was required to be protected by GFCI protection, *not* the "receptacle" for the hydromassage tub.

    In trying to differentiate the GFCI protection of "the circuit" from GFCI protection of "the receptacle" I tried to save adding another specific note and used a note which (I thought) was close to what the code was saying ... at the time (about 15-20 years ago when I started that chart) it made sense ... now it does not, so I will add another specific note to try to clearly state what I stated above - "the circuit" required GFCI protection, "the receptacle" was not even in the picture at that time.

    Thank you for pointing that out and that it did not make sense, I will make the correction and then put a new chart here. I have to remember my password to my server to change the chart on the link - I seem to have forgotten it ... Yikes!

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: NEC year requiring GFCI for whirlpool

    Here is the revised note 12 for hydromassage tubs.

    Let me know if that clears up those requirements for you.

    I've also added a comment at the bottom which I was going to add the next time I made changes to the chart.

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

  14. #14
    Dennis Bulgrien's Avatar
    Dennis Bulgrien Guest

    Default Re: NEC year requiring GFCI for whirlpool

    > Here is the revised note 12 for hydromassage tubs.
    > Let me know if that clears up those requirements for you.
    ...
    > Attached Files _GFCI_requirement_page-2011.pdf (18.4 KB, 9 views)

    Mr. Peck,

    Yes sir. I now can understand the answer to my question in the chart.

    Dennis


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