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#96491 - 12/01/05 10:00 PM GFCI readily accessible?
gfretwell Online   content


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Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9037
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
Is there any place that says a device GFCI has to be readily accessible?
I am thinking about a device that is feeding downstream outdoor receptacles at grade.
Can the GFCI be mounted in the soffit, out of reach to the user without a ladder?
I saw this today and I can't find a reason it isn't compliant. Lousy "design" tho.
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#96492 - 12/01/05 11:47 PM Re: GFCI readily accessible?
macmikeman Offline
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Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 717
Loc: Honolulu, Hawaii
A gfi located under/behind a whirlpool tub is not really redily accesable, but it is ok to install one there. Just so long as it can be gotten to it seems to me that it is ok.
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#96493 - 12/02/05 01:44 AM Re: GFCI readily accessible?
iwire Offline
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Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4391
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
Aren't GFCIs "controllers" (switches)?

Also the instructions require regular testing.

We do not install the GFCIs for whirlpools under the tub, we install 'faceless' ones in the wall beside the tub.



Quote:
404.8 Accessibility and Grouping.
(A) Location. All switches and circuit breakers used as switches shall be located so that they may be operated from a readily accessible place. They shall be installed so that the center of the grip of the operating handle of the switch or circuit breaker, when in its highest position, is not more than 2.0 m (6 ft 7 in.) above the floor or working platform.




[This message has been edited by iwire (edited 12-02-2005).]
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#96494 - 12/02/05 05:33 AM Re: GFCI readily accessible?
Electricmanscott Offline
Member
Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 1457
Loc: Holden, MA USA
A GFCI can be a switch. As a gfci receptacle I would not say it is a switch. I see nothing that requires it to be readily accesible or any good reason that it must be.
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#96495 - 12/02/05 09:46 AM Re: GFCI readily accessible?
macmikeman Offline
Member
Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 717
Loc: Honolulu, Hawaii
For the record, I usually stick the tub's gfi across the other side of the bathroom, and feed another receptacle outlet under the tub with the first one. (this isn't the sinks gfi, thats another story). I am just saying is accepted practice to do it the other way around, and that requires sombody to remove the access panel cover to reset the gfi. To have to climb a ladder to reach a gfi as the original poster was wondering about - I can find no reason in the code book to prevent this.
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#96496 - 12/02/05 11:00 AM Re: GFCI readily accessible?
iwire Offline
Moderator
Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4391
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
Mike and Scott in your opinion the buttons that say "Test" and "Reset" are not switches?

Merriam-Webster
Quote:
Switch a device for making, breaking, or changing the connections in an electrical circuit


Read 404.8 again and notice it simply says switches.


Now take a look at the scope of 404

Quote:
404.1 Scope.
The provisions of this article shall apply to all switches, switching devices, and circuit breakers where used as switches.


IMO the GFCI located up under an eve is a violation.


[This message has been edited by iwire (edited 12-02-2005).]
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Construction & Maintenance Electrician
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#96497 - 12/02/05 11:24 AM Re: GFCI readily accessible?
gfretwell Online   content


Member
Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9037
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
I knew this would be thought provoking. Simply to say switches must be readily accessible brings you to the switch inside an attic access. You usually need a ladder to get to that.
I would also not have too much trouble if the soffit mounted GFCI did not serve any "at grade" outlets (only soffit outlets) since you need a ladder to use it. It would still be a bad design.
In this case the GFCI serves the required "at grade" outside outlets but the control is not "at grade" if you trip it.
I like Bob's cite but I am see everyone wouldn't agree.
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Greg Fretwell
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#96498 - 12/02/05 01:59 PM Re: GFCI readily accessible?
George Offline
Member
Registered: 02/23/02
Posts: 375
I don't think that GFCI buttons are used as switches. So I don't think it is a code violation.

On the otherhand one does need to reset them. So good practice would be to place them with good access.
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#96499 - 12/02/05 02:15 PM Re: GFCI readily accessible?
Tesla Offline
Member
Registered: 06/16/04
Posts: 1273
Loc: Sacramento, CA
I have to go with iwire....

Clearly GFCI are circuit breakers. That they are integral to a receptacle makes little difference. When they trip a non-electrician should be able to find and re-set them in reasonable time.

A circuit breaker that trips on faults instead of thermal overloads is still a breaker.

Circuit breakers are switches. They change state from on to off.

A light switch in the attic that controls an attic light while you're up there.... Not relevant.

I object to chaining GFCI around a house such that an upstairs bathroom circuit goes dead when a receptacle in the garage is tripped. To me that GFCI is not accessable. The homeowner ends up calling an electrician to reset the circuit. Who would know that the circuit was chained everywhere?
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#96500 - 12/02/05 03:47 PM Re: GFCI readily accessible?
Tom Offline
Member
Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 1044
Loc: Shinnston, WV USA
IMO, a ground fault receptacle is not a switch.

From the UL White Book

"Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (KCXS)...The "test" and "reset" buttons on the GFCI's are only intended to check for the proper functioning of the GFCI. They are not intended to be used as "ON/OFF" controls of motors or other loads unless the buttons are specifically marked "ON" and "OFF."

[This message has been edited by Tom (edited 12-02-2005).]
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