Ground fault circuit-interrupters are covered in Article 210 of the NEC covering branch circuits. In 210.8, Ground Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for Personnel, the Code provides the locations where GFCIs are required to protect the branch circuit. In parts 210.8(A) through (F), the NEC covers the mandated protections in dwelling units, areas other than dwelling units, crawl space, lighting outlets, specific appliances, equipment requiring servicing, and outdoor outlets. According to the new NEC-2020 for 210.8(A), Dwelling Units:
“All 125-volt through 250-volt receptacles installed in the locations specified in 210.8(A)(1) through (12) and supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts or less to ground shall have ground-fault circuitinterrupter protection for personnel.”
The NEC goes on to list the following required branch circuit locations to be protected by GFCI technology: bathrooms, garages, outdoors, crawl spaces, basements, kitchens (countertop receptacles), sinks (within 1.8 m, 6 ft), boathouses, bathtubs, laundry areas, and indoor damp and wet locations. The Code also requires that GFCI protection shall be installed in a readily accessible location. The definition from the NEC-2020 for a readily accessible location is:
“Accessible, Readily (Readily Accessible). Capable of being reached quickly for operation, renewal, or inspections without requiring those to whom ready access is requisite to take actions such as to use tools (other than keys), to climb over or under, to remove obstacles, or to resort to portable ladders, and so forth.”
There are a few updates to the GFCI code requirements from the development of the 2020 edition of the NEC. One key update is GFCI is now required to protect 125- volt to 250-volt receptacles supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts or less to ground from the former 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-amp receptacles covered in NEC 2017. This now requires 250V receptacle loads in the areas listed in 210.8(A)(1) through (A)(11) and 210.8(B)(1) through (B)(12), such as appliances like electric clothes dryers, welders, and electric ranges (within 6ft of the sink) will require GFCI protection.
Another key code update to the 2020 NEC pertaining to 210.8 in general:
“For the purposes of this section, when determining the distance from receptacles, the distance shall be measured as the shortest path the supply cord of an appliance connected to the receptacle would follow without piercing a floor, wall, ceiling, or fixed barrier, or the shortest path without passing through a window.”
This language used to include doorways as an exception to the measurement requirements. The NEC 2020 has removed the doorway portion to now include receptacles within the mandated distance to have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection regardless of whether there is a doorway within the path of the supply cord. This change means that, for example, the receptacle located outside the bathroom whether in a hallway or bedroom, if within 6 ft of the inside edge of the sink, would be required to have GFCI protection.