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Do washing machines require GFCI protection?

Posted By Mark Hilbert, Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 07, 2012

An inspector told me the other day that a washing machine in a dwelling unit required GFCI protection. I’ve looked and I can’t find that requirement in the 2011 NEC. Can you help me with this requirement? TA


Thank you for your correspondence. There is no specific requirement in the NEC for the washing machine itself to have GFCI protection. Section 210.52(F) requires a receptacle outlet to be installed for the laundry area and it must be supplied by a 20-ampere branch circuit in accordance with 210.11(C)(2). However, depending on the location of the receptacle outlet itself, GFCI protection may be required. For example, if the laundry area receptacle outlet (20-ampere, 125-volt) is located in a bathroom or an unfinished basement of a dwelling unit, GFCI protection would be required for the receptacle outlet in accordance with 210.8(A)(1) or (A)(5) respectively. Additionally, if the washing machine is located in a laundry room or utility room that included a sink, the laundry area receptacle outlet would have to be provided with GFCI protection if it is located within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the edge of the sink in accordance with 210.8(A)(7). The location of the washing machine and of the corresponding laundry area receptacle outlet is the determining factor as to the requirement for GFCI protection.
About Mark Hilbert: Mark Hilbert is the chief electrical inspector for the state of New Hampshire, Bureau of Electrical Safety and Licensing and has been employed by the office for 14 years. He holds all the IAEI electrical inspector certifications. He holds a master electrician's license in two states and is a former electrical contractor in the states of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Prior to opening his contracting business, he had over seven years of industrial electrical experience. Mark represents IAEI as an alternate member on Code Making Panel 4 and is a principle member on the NFPA 79 Committee, the Standard for Electrical Equipment of Industrial Machinery. He is past president of the Granite State Chapter and the Eastern Section. He is the Eastern Section's delegate to the IO Board of Directors. Mark has taught electrical code classes since 1994 and has over 35 years of experience in the electrical industry. He has taught the National Electrical Code and promoted electrical safety nationally and internationally.

Tags:  Focus on the Code  May-June 2012 

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