National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Re: CQD answer published Monday, February 19, 2018 -GFCI Protection for Dwelling Unit Basement Receptacles

Uhhhhhh Charlie?

Which is it yes or no. The writer has asked the exact same question in two different ways and you have given two different answers.... both plugs are located in the basement.... both plugs operate a specific alarm, both plugs are located next to the load Center, but you have said yes for one and no for the other which is it Charlie? Charlie can you please take the time to explain why you said one plug was acceptable and the other was not?

Thanks, Oliver Allen



Hey Oliver thanks for your follow-up question. You are correct, two different questions (situations) - two different answers, that is often how the NEC is. In general, 15 and 20 ampere 125 volt receptacles in unfinished basements of dwelling units must have GFCI protection as stated in 210.8(A)(5). The exception to (5) allows omitting GFCI protection for permanently installed fire alarm or burglar systems. This is consistent with the last sentences in 760.41(B) and 760.121(B) which prohibit GFCI protection for fire alarm systems based on rules in NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. Some of these systems can also be used as security equipment, see

for more information.

There is no exception to 250.8 for septic or other types of alarms, apparently because no one has submitted a Public Input or supplied sufficient substantiation, to omit the GFCI protection in those cases. An alarm circuit could be directly wired (without using a cord and plug connection) then GFCI protection is not required. The NEC does not give us the reasons why but we can sometimes learn more about that from the reports available in the archived information on the document information pages at

ABOUT CQD: NECA’s Code Question of the Day (CQD) is a leading National Electrical Code® forum for NECA and the industry. The CQD generates a lively dialogue and relative practical and Code-based responses to an ever-increasing and interactive audience.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: All answers are based on the latest edition of the National Electrical Code®, unless the question requests a response based on a specific edition. This correspondence is not a formal interpretation of the NEC®. Any responses expressed to the questions are opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of NECA, NFPA, or any technical committee. In addition, this correspondence is neither intended, nor should it be relied upon, to provide professional consultation or services.

ABOUT CHARLIE: Charles M. Trout, better known as Charlie, was a nationally known NEC® expert and author. He served on several NEC® technical committees and is past chairman of CMP-12. In 2006 Charlie was awarded the prestigious Coggeshall Award for outstanding contributions to the electrical contracting industry, codes and standards development, and technical training. Charlie was also a member of NECA’s Academy of Electrical Contracting. Charlie’s experienced team of industry experts keep the CQD dialogue and discussions active and informative in the spirit of the man himself, as he wanted.

NECA STANDARDS: NECA publishes the National Electrical Installation Standards™ (NEIS™), a series of ANSI-approved performance and quality standards for electrical construction. Visit for more information. NEISÔ can be purchased in three formats: as paper books, on CD, or as electronic downloads.

NECA SAFETY PRODUCTS: NECA publishes valuable electrical safety books and CDs for the industry. Visit to view or purchase NECA safety products.

 CONTACT US: To submit a Code question, subscribe, or unsubscribe from this list, please e-mail: