National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

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Monday, March 18, 2019

Question:

Re: CQD answer published Monday, March 5, 2019 -GFCI Accessibility

Hello, In regards to your answer below for Monday March 4th, 2019: you stated, “Don't forget you typically need to test GFCI's monthly based on the manufacturer's instructions as stated in 110.3(B).”

My question: How is that actually realistically feasible, especially for large facilities that may have hundreds, or even thousands of GFCI’s?  Do they hire a person full-time just to endlessly go around testing them, only to start over again each month?

I have seen the statement stamped on the GFCI’s, even on the modern self-testing versions. I have even asked the manufacturers themselves about it.  They have no further comments/answers, other than that it’s still required on the self-testing models too (the electronics are self-testing/monitoring, but they say that the device still requires a testing/cycling of the physical components too, which can only be done manually)

Just wondering if there is any realistic solution that you have heard of.

Thx, Perry

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Answer:

Hey Perry thanks for your follow up question. It is a challenge, and is likely not enforced in many areas, but is still a requirement to follow the manufacturer's instructions for testing GFCI's as stated in 110.3(B).

Some facilities have a specific GFCI testing program using barcodes or the newer quick response (QR) codes located at each GFCI for documenting the test. Other required tests such as emergency lighting and portable fire extinguishers can be included in the overall inspection and testing plan. Maybe rotate the duties and make it part of a fitness program to get in your steps. True, large facilities can have numerous GFCI's but they must be generating enough revenue to stay in business and testing and maintenance should be an important part of business operations.

More information about GFCI's and their testing is available at:

https://www.esfi.org/resource/ground-fault-circuit-interrupters-gfci-204#HowtoTestGFC

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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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