GFCI, AFCI, and Sediment Traps
Wyatt Williams, November 30th, 2022
I’m writing this to give some quick answers for home inspectors who need a little refresher, as these codes are highly fluid, changing every new code edition.
- Where are GFCI’s required per the NEC?
- Do we have to report as deficient a non-GFCI 240v dryer plug on a 1999 house per TREC?
- Does the 6’ rule apply to hallway receptacles with a door separating the hallway/bathroom?
- Are AFCI’s basically required everywhere GFCI’s are not?
- Do gas ranges or dryers need sediment traps?
- Does it matter how the tee fitting is installed?
- Does the sediment trap have to be a certain length?
These questions seem simple, but if you have been complacent on following code changes then you are likely using outdated rules. We will start by reviewing the 2020 NEC.
The NEC requires GFCI protection in these areas – Bathrooms, Garages and Accessory Buildings, Outdoors, Crawl Spaces, Basements, Kitchens (where the receptacles are installed to service the kitchen countertop surfaces including islands), Sinks (where receptacles are installed within 6” from the top inside edge of the bowl of the sink), Boathouses, Bathtubs and Shower Stalls (where receptacles are installed within 6’ he outside edge of the bathtub or shower stall) , Laundry Areas, Indoor Damp and Wet Locations.
Biggest take-away – Indoor damp and wet locations includes the rule of every outlet within 6’ a source of water. Therefore, the 240v for the dryer must be protected and sometimes the oven.
The 6’ rule does apply for hallway outlets close to bathrooms. If someone could plug in something with a 6’ cord and reach a source of water, it is required to be GFCI protected.
It’s easier to review the few places AFCI protection is not required, rather than where it is. AFCI protection is not required in bathrooms, exteriors, and garages. You can remember the acronym phrase “I B.E.G. you to remember where AFCI’s are not required.”
Looking to IRC G2419.4 (408.4) answers a few of our questions. “Sediment Trap – Where a sediment trap is not incorporated as part of the appliance, a sediment trap shall be installed downstream of the appliance shutoff valve as close to the inlet of the appliance as practical. The sediment trap shall be either a tee fitting having a capped nipple of length installed vertically in the bottommost opening of the tee as illustrated in figure g2419.4 or other device approved as an effective sediment trap. Illuminating appliances, ranges, clothes dryers, decorative vented appliances, gas fireplaces and outdoor grills need not be so equipped. “
Make sure to stay current on all code knowledge because it will change.