Q: We had our Joint Commission inspection today and they cited us for water coolers and ice machines not being plugged into GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) receptacles. One of our buildings was built in 1972 and the other was 2008. They cited NFPA 99-2012 Chapters 6 and 9, under EC 02.05.05 EP 8. Do you believe that was a correct finding? Thanks
A: Yes… that is a legitimate finding.
NFPA 99-2012, section 126.96.36.199 says the electrical installation must be in accordance with NFPA 70 National Electrical Code. Article 210.8(B) of NFPA 70-2011 says ground-fault circuit-interruption for personnel protection shall be provided as required in 210.8(A) through (C). The ground-fault circuit-interrupter shall be installed in a readily accessible location.
Sub-section (B) “Other Than Dwelling Units” says all 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified in 210.8(B)(1) through (8) shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel:
(5) Sinks — where receptacles are installed within 6 ft of the outside edge of the sink.
(6) Indoor wet locations
(7) Locker rooms with associated showering facilities
(8) Garages, service bays, and similar areas where electrical diagnostic equipment, electrical hand tools, or portable lighting equipment are to be used
So, item #6 ‘wet locations’ is the kicker on this issue. The AHJs are now interpreting anything that holds water to be a wet location, and therefore must have a GFCI receptacle. Another issue that you need to be aware of, is all GFCI receptacles need to be tested monthly. Ouch. More labor and documentation.
I don’t see where NFPA 99-2012 Chapter 9 (HVAC) applies in this issue, but it is a legitimate finding through chapter 6.