National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


The CQD question and answer was not published on Wednesday May 16, 2018 so we are trying again.

NEC 2017 Article 210.8 (A)(7) Interpretation,  Charlie- Dwelling Unit Questions:

1). We have a wall hung microwave located directly above a sink where the distance between countertop and bottom of microwave is 18”, and the receptacle for the microwave is located in the cabinet above. Does this receptacle require GFCI protection if the microwave cord passes through a fixed barrier?

2). Do the receptacles for the garbage disposal, dishwasher, and beverage cooler below the countertop require GFCI protection?

Joe Koss



Hey Joe thanks for your questions.

1) Single phase 15 and 20 ampere receptacles, rated at 125 volts, that are installed to serve dwelling unit kitchen countertop surfaces must have GFCI protection as stated in 210.8(A)(6). Because the receptacle is not installed to serve the countertop surface GFCI protection is not required unless the microwave includes specific instructions for providing GFCI protection.

2) The 15 and 20 ampere 125 volts receptacles for the waste disposer, and beverage cooler do not require GFCI protection unless the manufacturer's instructions require it. But the one for the dishwasher does as stated in 210.8(D).

Wording was added in the beginning of 210.8 for the 2017 NEC stating that the distance measurement for determining if GFCI protection is required is the shortest appliance cord path would follow - without piercing a floor, wall, ceiling, or fixed barrier, or passing through a door, doorway, or window. Because the receptacles for the microwave and those below the counter top are not within 6 ft of the top inside edge of the sink bowl - without piercing one of the items previously mentioned GFCI protection is not required as stated in 210.8(A)(7).

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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.

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