I'm trying to find out if an outlet for a refrigerator within six feet of the sink requires GFCI outlet. I read somewhere that 210.8 (A) (7) Sinks - where receptacles are installed within (6 ft) of the outside edge of the sink. (GFCI is required)

But I read in a thread here that it only applies to countertop outlets. If so, fridges and garbage disposals would be exempt.

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    Usually use the code when the house and/or the circuit was built. If it was done before GFCI was required then adding one is up to you(but a good idea, except for fridges). If changing the circuit, except for replacing an outlet/switch, then the most recent code will have to be followed.
    – crip659
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 14:58
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    Most fridges have enough cord that you could put the fridge outlet 73" from the edge of the sink.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 15:03
  • No code states any receptacle within 6’ of a basin or tub the distance is measured from the sink to the receptacle. But some locations have exceptions to the NEC
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 15:44
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    Isn't the six foot rule intended to apply to receptacles "within reach"? IDK if the spirit or the letter would apply but if the receptacle is hidden behind the fridge, it is certainly not within reach of the water source. Or perhaps the opposite logic applies, as long as any part of the fridge's metal body is within reach it should be on a GFCI ... but I don't think that's the rule, is it?
    – jay613
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 17:56
  • Note that the NEC is the MINIMUM that's considered to be safe. Just because the code doesn't say you HAVE to doesn't necessarily mean that it's a bad idea. Especially if the refrigerator in question has or might have internal water someday. Or if you might ever need to defrost it. Or if you're just paranoid like I am.
    – Perkins
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 23:12

2 Answers 2


I would say that 210.8(A)(6) pre-empts 210.8(A)(7), since as a general rule, specific overrides general. E.G. air conditioner rules override motor rules.

However, you can tiebreak that with your AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) aka permit issuer/inspector. Generally they will endorse a method where you use a simplex receptacle specifically for that appliance, and preferably located as to be inaccessible except by pulling the refrigerator away from the wall.

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Okay, I will answer my own question in the hopes it might help someone else. YES, all outlets within six feet of a sink must be GFCI see https://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/all-codes-and-standards/list-of-codes-and-standards/detail?code=70

enter image description here

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    The screen shot is better than just a link, however, it's difficult to read, and impossible for those with vision issues. If you'd copy & paste actual text from the linked code section, that would be even better.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 15:28
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    Good try but that is only if your jurisdiction is following the NEC, for an example my jurisdiction (Oregon) only requires GFCI’s on 15 & 20 amp circuits (not 250v) , the second exception is for equipment in a dedicated space or difficult to move such as a refrigerator or freezer, I think it is ridiculous to put motor based equipment on GFCI’s as they regularly trip and fail much more often inrush and inductive kickback. The last exception is loads known to have issues , well just as I said Refridgeration equipment has issues with electronic breakers so if in my jurisdiction, no not required
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 15:41
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    So a refrigerator resting on the floor would not reasonably need to be protected by GFCI. Putting a refrigerator on GFCI could be seen as overzealous adherence to a regulation. Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 17:55
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    @JimStewart and now you have to move the whole damn fridge every time it nuisance trips. Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 19:21
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    @jim Stewart there are special devices but they require “supervision” even they have limits you probably have seen the effects where there are 2-3 power bumps and then it goes dark, that is one type of recloser , the ones I worked on were set for 2 bumps and these are on very large transformers where it is required to have at least a journeyman electrician. So they are out there but not for residential use. Also the large breakers are adjustable or programmable so we set them up depending on the need but if not properly set our licenses are on the line if someone gets hurt we adjust sparingly
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 19:25

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