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#104520 - 03/08/03 08:23 AM GFCI Protection, Required? Recommended?  
Joe Tedesco  Offline
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,749
Boston, Massachusetts USA
[Linked Image]

The issue was settled some time ago when OSHA tried to enforce the GFCI requirements for a fountain where a change in Article 680 cleared that up in the form of a fine print note.

Now, see the definition of a Fountain.
Fountains, ornamental pools, display pools, and reflection pools. The definition does not include drinking fountains.

Question: Do you think that a drinking fountain should be protected by a GFCI?

If so, why?

Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides

#104521 - 03/08/03 09:04 AM Re: GFCI Protection, Required? Recommended?  
ga.sparky56  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 558
young harris georgia usa
Joe, is there any record of anyone being electrocuted or seriously hurt by a fault in a drinking fountain? The red flags are all present,water,metal,and electricity.I think this is another example of the fine line that the nec must try to walk. Practicality(no nuisance trips) vs. people protection.

#104522 - 03/08/03 10:15 AM Re: GFCI Protection, Required? Recommended?  
Electricmanscott  Offline
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,457
Holden, MA USA
Not required. I agree with ga sparky but water, electricity, and metal can be said about many appliances. Dishwashers, washing machines etc.

#104523 - 03/08/03 10:06 PM Re: GFCI Protection, Required? Recommended?  
SAFTENG  Offline
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 136
Cincinnati, OH, USA
June 1987 - a four year old girl was electrocuted and seriously injured at a major theme park in CA. She was drinking from a water fountain at the theme park. Her father who was lifting her at the time was also seriously injured in the incident.

Bryan Haywood

#104524 - 03/09/03 03:34 AM Re: GFCI Protection, Required? Recommended?  
joeh20  Offline
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 95
Tullahoma, TN, 37388
What if a single recept. was installed to serve the drinking fountain, rather than a duplex. With a duplex recept. power is available in what would be a quasi-wet location. With a single recept. the fountain occupies the only available source. We installed laundry circuits like this for several years for the washing machine, a single recept. behind the unit, and the inspector said by permitting only the appliance a source connection that a GFCI wasn't required. This was in the early 90's.

Lighting the way

#104525 - 03/10/03 02:12 PM Re: GFCI Protection, Required? Recommended?  
RSmike  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 134
Holland, MI USA
joeh20 you are correct about the laundry circuit. It's still correct today. It's an exception in Art210.8(A)5 Exp. 2 Basically the washer and dryer do not require GFCI because they are plugged into a dedicated receptacle....right?

GFCI seems like a good idea on a drinking fountain (water & electricity) but with all the surges from the compressor I think it'd require a reset most of the time. Perhaps industry needs to make a special GFCI made especially for water fountains. First one to the patent office with this idea could be rich. On your marks.....get set.....$$$$

Perhaps the mfg's of water fountains should build the protection into the unit.


#104526 - 03/13/03 08:46 PM Re: GFCI Protection, Required? Recommended?  
John Steinke  Offline
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 518
Reno,Nv., USA
I suggest that IF it is decided to "improve" a drinking fountain by requiring a GFI, that the change be made in the UL standard, and not the NEC. Let UL require manufacturers to incorporate such a device in the product, with accessable re-set/trip buttons. If they're affordable for $10 hair dryers, they ought to be affordable for $300 water fountains.
Also, the new GFI standards are claimed to reduce the problems caused by nuisance tripping- especially a concern with refrigeration compressors!

#104527 - 09/07/04 04:55 PM Re: GFCI Protection, Required? Recommended?  
Theelectrikid  Offline
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 810
Levittown, PA
I see that everyday at my school. Old 1975+ Raceway wiring origninating on the corner, going around to the fountains. No GFCI either!! Also in the boy's gym locker room, there is the same thing, with a GFCI. In the undressing area, there is an outlet, with a metal box, 15 amp, grounded (I HOPE! They tested the GFCI, which has a "NO EQUIPMENT GROUND" Sticker. The janitor said that all of the receptacles, lights, fans, water fountains were on the same circuit.) The receptacle has no cover plate! Some of these guys get sweaty, so I hope their shirt doesn't touch the outlet, or the un grounded metal box, if there is a short. It looks like they tryed to replace the plat with a handful of dryer foam! (They stuffed it around the outlet.) They Also said the GFCI doesn't protect/work anymore either! Ughhhh... Oh, by the way Joe, I think that fountains should have GFCI's since they are technically water faucets.

Is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?

#104528 - 09/07/04 06:38 PM Re: GFCI Protection, Required? Recommended?  
big guy  Offline
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 59
I bet that the rec. should be in the drinking fountain not out side it.
There are 3 on the job and I put them were the instructions said wright beside a 1/2" copper line. I don't know why thay would put it there?
A GFI would not be a good Idea and is not need it if done the wright way.

#104529 - 09/07/04 10:04 PM Re: GFCI Protection, Required? Recommended?  
PCBelarge  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 681
Dobbs Ferry, NY, USA
How about producing fountains that are not metallic, and double insulated.
There are many very durable plastics today, and I bet even less expensive than the metallic type.


Pierre Belarge

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