210.8(F) GFCI Protection. Outdoor Outlets.

An “Outlet”, according to the NEC Article 100 definition, is a point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment.
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An “Outlet”, according to the NEC Article 100 definition, is a point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment.

Code Change Summary: New code section. GFCI protection is now required for outdoor “outlets” at dwellings.

An “Outlet”, according to the NEC Article 100 definition, is a point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that only receptacles can be “outlets”. A receptacle is one kind of outlet, but so is a hard-wired connection such as a smoke detector, or a surface mounted luminaire, or even the point on an outdoor air conditioner system where the circuit connects to the disconnecting means supplying the AC unit.

In the 2020 NEC, all outdoor “outlets” for dwellings, other than lighting, electric snow-melting, deicing, or pipeline heating, that are supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts to ground or less, 50 amperes or less, shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel. This is a big change!

Example: A 240V, single phase, outdoor, dwelling unit air conditioner has two ungrounded conductors that are each 120V to ground and 240V phase to phase. If this air conditioner is rated 50 amps or less, then GFCI protection is now required for the “outlet”. How about an outdoor well pump?

This code change came as a result of a child’s death. On August 3, 2007, a 12-year-old child jumped over a chain link fence and landed on the adjacent AC condenser unit. The condenser had an electrical ground fault which caused the unit's metal housing to become electrified. The child was fatally electrocuted when he made contact simultaneously with both the condenser and the metal fence.

Below is a preview of the NEC. See the actual NEC text at NFPA.ORG for the complete code section. Once there, click on their link to free access to the 2020 NEC edition of NFPA 70.

2017 Code Language:

This code section did not exist.

2020 Code Language:

N 210.8(F) Outdoor Outlets. All outdoor outlets for dwellings, other than those covered in 210.8(A)(3), Exception to (3), that are supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts to ground or less, 50 amperes or less, shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.

Exception: Ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection shall not be required on lighting outlets other than those covered in 210.8(C).

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210.8(F) GFCI Protection. Outdoor Outlets.

Below is a Real Question from our Electrical Continuing Education Courses for Electrical License Renewal:

Refer to the image of the HVAC outlets at a multi-family dwelling:

Based on the 2020 NEC, which of the following is true?

A: The disconnect switches are not considered “outlets”.
B: If each HVAC unit is supplied by a single-phase 240V branch circuit, rated 50 amps or less, GFCI protection is required for the outlet serving each unit.
C: GFCI protection is required for each HVAC unit rated more than 50 amperes.
D: GFCI protection is never required for an outlet supplying an HVAC unit.
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