NEC 2020 Code Changes For GFCI Protection: What You Should Know

The new 2020 NEC (National Electrical Code) is out, and KB Electric LLC is here to go over two of the changes for GFCI protection every homeowner should know. The NEC 2020 code changes for GFCI protection allow for the utmost safety for families and workers alike. Let’s get into some of the nitty gritty details to give you some knowledge on what you should know about the changes.



What Is The NEC? 

The NEC (National Electrical Code) is a set of standards for safety and compliance with the installation of electrical wiring/equipment in the U.S. These are the guidelines that our licensed and insured electricians at KB Electric LLC must follow for the safety of you and your family. They also allow us to be safe in the field as well.


What is a GFCI?

Before we can get into the NEC 2020 changes for GFCI protection, you should probably know a little about what a GFCI is, and how it works for protecting you and your family.

A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) is a device that protects people from electric shock in their electrical system. It works by detecting a fault in the electric, and shuts power OFF before a person can get injured due to electric shock. 

Most common places for GFCIs to be installed are anywhere near moisture or water, like your bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, basements, etc.


NEC 2020 Code Changes For GFCI Protection

We will go over two of the most important GFCI protection changes the NEC has adopted for this year that we feel every homeowner should know:


  1. “All 125-volt through 250-volt receptacles installed in the locations specified in 210.8(A) (1) through (11) and supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts or less to ground shall have ground fault circuit interrupter protection for personnel.”


Before the 2020 change, the 2017 NEC specified GFCI protection only on 15AMP and 20AMP outlets for dwelling units in certain locations of the home.

The new 2020 code has done away with specifying amperage, and has included 30AMP and higher outlets.

There is now added GFCI protection for all outlets regardless of amperage for the following locations (with a few exceptions within this list), as well as any area within 6ft of a sink or water source:

  • Bathrooms
  • Garages
  • Outdoor areas
  • Crawl spaces
  • Basements
  • Kitchens
  • Sinks
  • Boathouses
  • Shower stalls and bathtubs
  • Laundry areas
  • Indoor damp and wet locations


The reason for the NEC 2020 code change for GFCI protection to include 125V through 250V receptacles (outlets) is because there have been a handful of fatal incidents reported where children were electrocuted by dryer machines and other big appliances in the specified locations utilizing 250V receptacles. To keep people safe, the NEC decided that these higher amperage outlets needed GFCI protection.


  1. Both finished and unfinished basements are required in dwellings to have GFCI protection.


Before the 2020 revisions, only unfinished basements required GFCI protection. Now both basement types in a dwelling unit must have GFCI protection because this area of the home can still be susceptible to moisture.


Why Should I Know About These NEC Changes For GFCIs?

The whole point of the NEC is to protect people. And that’s the simple answer as to why the NEC revises their requirements for electrical installations every three years.

Not only is it recommended to keep your home up to code for safety reasons, but most townships will require these things to be done for home renovations, addition work, etc. Check with your township to find out which NEC year they use for safety and compliance. It sometimes takes time before a borough or township adopts the latest NEC revision.

Furthermore, depending on which NEC year your township uses, you’ll want to make certain whatever one is used is applicable to your home for passing inspections if you ever go to sell your house. This will provide added value to your home as well.