Virginia's Board of Housing and Community Development and Department of Housing and Community Development are seeking to remove GFCI Protection to receptacles serving garage door openers and refrigeration equipment located in residential garages. The latest revised proposal includes the removal of GFCI protection in basements as well.

According to NEMA, the Virginia IAEI and NFPA, of course, do not agree with the proposal, and have contributed information that explains the importance of GFCIs and that the International Residential Code is a minimal code standard just like the NEC.

Currently, all 15 and 20 amp, 125 volt, single phase receptacles located in residential garages and unfinished basements would require GFCI Protection for Personnel. Typically, appliances or utilization equipment located in these areas are plugged into an existing GFCI Protected receptacle. However, under this proposal if the installer chooses to install a single receptacle to avoid the GFCI requirements; an additional “individual branch circuit” would need to be installed; resulting in an increased cost of labor and material to the potential home buyer. The real problem with this proposal is the inability to enforce the proposed exceptions; when jurisdictions perform inspections on a residential dwelling there is nothing located in the garage or unfinished basement, much less refrigeration equipment. You simply can’t label a single receptacle as “refrigeration only” and expect owners to use the honor system while also...(NEMA)