I have the 2 circuits in the kitchen with GFCI outlets, but I'm not quite sure which other ones do NOT need GFCI. Other circuits in the kitchen include Microwave, Fridge, and Dishwasher. It makes sense to me to not have the fridge on GFCI though.

  • 1
    At one point, only outdoor outlets needed GFCI protection. Over the years, the NEC has required protection at more and more locations. So whether your installation meets the requirements depends on which version of the NEC was in effect when the work was initiated.
    – bcworkz
    Aug 17, 2012 at 23:14
  • NEC 2014 requires either GFCI or AFCI protection for 99% of all the normal outlets in your home. Where shouldn't I use GFCI/AFCI?
    – Mazura
    Nov 19, 2017 at 16:42

4 Answers 4


The NEC (NFPA 70 2011 edition) requires GFCI receptacles in kitchens of dwelling units where the receptacles are installed to serve the countertop surfaces. It does not mention a distance requirement in kitchens.

The distance requirement of 1.8 meters (6 feet) is for sinks located in areas other than kitchens.

Section 210.8 A of NFPA 70 2011 Edition deals with GFCI protection in dwelling units (see below).

210.8 Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for Personnel.

Ground-fault circuit-interruption for personnel shall be provided as required in 210.8(A) through (C). The ground-fault circuit-interrupter shall be installed in a readily accessible location. Informational Note: See 215.9 for ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel on feeders.

(A) Dwelling Units. All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified in 210.8(A)(1) through (8) shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel

(1) Bathrooms

(2) Garages, and also accessory buildings that have a floor located at or below grade level not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas, work areas, and areas of similar use.

(3) Outdoors
Exception to (3): Receptacles that are not readily accessible and are supplied by a branch circuit dedicated to electric snow-melting, deicing, or pipeline and vessel heating equipment shall be permitted to be installed in accordance with 426.28 or 427.22, as applicable.

(4) Crawl spaces — at or below grade level

(5) Unfinished basements — for purposes of this section, unfinished basements are defined as portions or areas of the basement not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas, work areas, and the like
Exception to (5): A receptacle supplying only a permanently installed fire alarm or burglar alarm system shall not be required to have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection.

Informational Note: See 760.41(B) and 760.121(B) for power supply requirements for fire alarm systems.

Receptacles installed under the exception to 210.8(A)(5) shall not be considered as meeting the requirements of 210.52(G).

(6) Kitchens— where the receptacles are installed to serve the countertop surfaces

(7) Sinks — located in areas other than kitchens where receptacles are installed within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the outside edge of the sink

(8) Boathouses

  • Can you find the section that address this? It seems like you might have a copy and I could not find a free one online easily. +1 anyway.
    – auujay
    Oct 6, 2011 at 20:29
  • 1
    @auujay Added Reference section to the answer.
    – RSMoser
    Oct 6, 2011 at 20:44
  • Why is it any outlet that serves a countertop? Technically any outlet could serve a countertop. I wish the requirement was more specific and said why. Dec 12, 2023 at 22:47

All outlets that support convenience plug in items within 8 feet of a water source must be GFI protected. However, the new NEC calls for a separate non GFI circuit (home run) for the fridge or other fixed appliances. These non protected circuits must be single purpose and wired to a single outlet or direct wired and dedicated to the appliance. This can include dishwashers, garbage diposers, vent fans, most permanent motor loads.

  • 1
    Any guess why the NEC requires them each to have a dedicated circuit?
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Oct 6, 2011 at 1:41
  • 7
    My "guess" is that motor loads often trip GFI's on start up and shut down, due to inductive kick. This nuisance tripping was a constant source of consumer complaints. Since the cases of these fixed appliances are almost always metal and grounded, there was no reason to protect them in the first place. The NEC didn't consult with me personally, but I figure this may have been some of the reasoning. lol. Oct 6, 2011 at 9:52
  • Does there need to be a seperate circuit for each appliacnce, or could the dishwasher and disposer, for instance, be on the same circuit?
    – KeithB
    Oct 6, 2011 at 15:15
  • Except for a fridge, range and ovens, I believe you can group other appliances such as a dishwasher and disposer. Hoping one of the Code Book guys can give a reference. Guess I better go buy my own copy. Haven't consulted with my electrician on those details. I am trying to get him on here to handle these questions. Oct 6, 2011 at 23:18
  • 3
    Unfortunately there is much wrong with this answer. Considering the date, the old 6' rule (NOT 8') to a sink was already removed. ALL receptacles serving counter spaces require GFI protection. There is NO requirement that a fridge be dedicated, although it is a good idea. Also, things like a DW and disp CAN share a circuit and do NOT require a single receptacle. Some appliances that are heavy draw and fixed in place, like an over-the-range micro do typically require a dedicated circuit. Also, keep in mind the date of this answer. Under the 2014 NEC a DW DOES now require GFI protection. Apr 6, 2015 at 23:30

According to the 2014 version of the National Electrical Code, all 120 volt, single phase, 15 and 20 ampere receptacles in dwelling units, serving coutertop surfaces are required to have ground-fault protection for personnel.

So any other kitchen receptacle, would not require GFCI protection.

National Electrical Code 2014

Chapter 2 Wiring and Protection

Article 210 Branch Circuits

210.8 Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for Personnel.

(A) Dwelling Units. All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified in 210.8(A)(1) through (10) shall have ground-fault circuitinterrupter protection for personnel.

(6) Kitchens— where the receptacles are installed to serve the countertop surfaces

  • My landlord refuses to install a GFCI receptacle in our kitchen on our backsplash. The maintenance person they brought over said that the outlet is grounded, and that's good enough. Clearly that's not the case, or else I wouldn't have a GFCI receptacle with the reset button in the bathroom. Is there any free URL you could point me to with this code so I can force them to follow code?
    – EHorodyski
    Jan 28, 2016 at 19:18
  • 2
    @EHorodyski I'm not sure if there's a free source. Your local building department, or local library (if libraries still exist) should have a copy.
    – Tester101
    Jan 28, 2016 at 19:40
  • Thanks for the advice! I'm a dope. I work for the IEEE, and we have the standards/handbook on our search platform. Although the newest version I can find is 2014, is that still valid?
    – EHorodyski
    Jan 28, 2016 at 20:03
  • @EHorodyski Yes, 2014 is the most recent edition. However, not all areas have adopted 2014, so some still follow older versions of the code.
    – Tester101
    Jan 28, 2016 at 20:06
  • Thank you again. One last question if you don't mind and have an answer; as a tenant in an apartment complex, is the complex required to adopt the most recent edition? Does it vary by state or county? Sorry to keep bugging you, but you're very knowledgeable in this area. I appreciate all the help.
    – EHorodyski
    Jan 28, 2016 at 21:52

Another reason the NEC probably didn't require GFCI on dedicated appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers is that many manufacturers had previously connected the neutral and ground wire together in which some electrical current may return to the source through the ground wire tripping GFCIs. I believed UL required this at one point. I don't know if newer appliances still have this.

Most electrical fixtures and appliances these days are double insulated and usually don’t have a problem. Just be aware that not all 3-wire appliances will work properly when directly plugged into a GFCI circuit.

  • 3
    Not true at all. ALL 120V grounding appliances should work FINE on a GFI protected circuit/receptacle. These appliances NEVER combined the ground and neutral. This was only the case in 120/240V household cooking appliances and electric dryers. Apr 6, 2015 at 23:32
  • Refrigerators, Dishwashers had motors with large current draw - GFCI was originally known to be flakey in circuits with motors like these. Connecting Ground and Neutral together is a no-no as the frame can become hot in certain circumstances. As Petey said - that was done on dryers and ranges (3 wire systems) and it was dangerous - which is why the code requires them to be 4 wire systems. Ground, Neutral and L1, L2.
    – Ken
    Jul 8, 2018 at 20:19

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