Electrical Code for Garage GFI Outlets and Receptacles
How to Plan and Install Electrical Wiring for Garage Outlets and Lighting Circuits: Electrical Codes about GFCI protection for 15A and 20A, 125V receptacles in garages.
GFI Protection for Garage Outlets and Lighting
Electrical Question: How many receptacles and lights are legally allowed on a electrical circuit in a residential garage, and does there have to be a GFI or ground fault receptacle?
Background: Timothy, a Handyman from Chiefland ,Florida.
Thanks for your electrical question Timothy.
Garage Electrical Wiring for Outlets and Lighting
Application: Electrical Circuit Wiring in a Residential Garage.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate. This electrical wiring project is best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Certified Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the number of GFI outlets that will be installed.
Precaution: Identify the circuit at the electric panel, turn them OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the outlet wiring.
Materials: Materials used for electrical circuit wiring should be of the same amperage and voltage rating as the existing electrical circuit.
Notice: Installing additional Electrical Wiring should be done according to local and national electrical Codes with a permit and be inspected.
Installing Electrical Wiring for Garage Outlets and Lighting Circuits
- There is no limit to the number of receptacle outlets or lights, however you must calculate your proposed circuit loads for the connected devices, such as lights etc. to see if the size of the circuit will be large enough.
- GFCI protected outlets are required in the garage.
- The main garage lighting should not be on a GFCI for safety sake as you never want to be in a dark garage if a GFI trips off, however if the lighting fixture is accessible while standing on the grounded floor of the garage then the light fixture should be GFCI protected.
NEC 210.8 GFCI Protection for Garages and Accessory Buildings
- GFCI protection is required for all 15A and 20A, 125V receptacles in garages and in grade-level portions of unfinished or finished accessory buildings used for storage or work areas of a dwelling unit.
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This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
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Are GFCI outlets required for all outlets in the garage (Florida) ? I’ve been given variable answers depending on if it’s for a freezer or if it’s on the ceiling then no, etc..but want to know for sure to be safe? Thank you!
Accessible general purpose outlets in the garage should be protected with GFCI. Exceptions are for single outlets (not duplex) that are for specific equipment such as a whole house vacuum system and ceiling mounted garage door opener. Refrigerator and freezers located in the garage have a history of causing GFCI outlets to trip off, therefore the outlet for these devices are not required to be GFCI protected as long as the outlet is not readily accessible, or if it is a single outlet.
One additional thought here is that the garage circuit wiring should be configured so that a tripped GFCI circuit breaker or outlet does not leave a person in the dark.
I hope this helps,
What is the least quantity of outlets in a garage? I have a new home with one outlet in 2 car garage, and two outlets in the ceiling for the garage door openers which have not much access. There is only one usable outlet. Its seems hard to believe in a huge garage that there is only one outlet on wall.
Most spec homes or track houses are built as inexpensively as possible, however they are up to the current building and electrical code requirements at the time of construction. When a custom home is built there is typically more planning and discussion about specific needs and preferences for outlets, lighting and other electrical devices. Depending on the home development company or the general contractor there may be a higher standard which will include more convenience devices such as additional outlets in the garage. When building a new home or remodeling an existing home it’s always a difficult decision to make about where to draw the line for adding more features. The end result will effect the overall budget of cost of the construction project. Adding additional circuits or outlets after a home is built is possible, however it is always more labor intensive and costly than during the initial construction phase.
Thanks for sharing with us Scott,
Is it allowed by the NEC Electrical Code for the GFI plugs in the garage to be on 14/2 wire?
The NEC Electrical Code Section 210, specifically Article 210.52(G) states that one receptacle outlet is required for each car space,and NEC Article 210.8 (A)(2) states that GFCI protection is required for all 120volt 15amp and 20 amp receptacles. 120volt, 15amp garage circuits are typically wired with 14/2. If the circuit is wired for specific equipment then the amperage and wire size will be based upon the equipment specifications or applicable NEC Electrical Codes.
Thanks for sharing your garage electrical code question,
Are there any height requirements for outlets in the garage. Seems like higher would be better. Thanks
There are no height requirements for garage outlets, however as you have stated, it is better to have the outlets higher rather than low, especially if a work bench will be located inside the garage. Having access to the outlets will be very helpful.
I hope this helps,