damaged gfci receptacle

Illustrated Catastrophes: A Receptacle Beyond Repair

Oct. 24, 2023
See the latest Code violations from NEC Consultant Russ LeBlanc.

All references are based on the 2023 edition of the NEC. 

A Receptacle Beyond Repair

There is no hope for saving or resurrecting this GFCI receptacle. Throw it in the trash! I found this water-damaged GFCI receptacle when a customer called me to investigate why the string of twinkle lights she had wrapped around the pole for the basketball net in her backyard was not lit up. Believe it or not, this receptacle was only one year old when I found it and replaced it. The branch circuit feeding this device was still energized, and the breaker never tripped, despite the significant damage to this receptacle. The GFCI receptacle did trip and stopped working. The twinkle lights were plugged into this GFCI receptacle 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, which probably would not have been a problem if the original installer had used the correct cover. A cover that was only weatherproof with no attachment plug inserted and with the cover closed was installed instead of a “bubble cover” or another type of cover that is weatherproof even when an attachment plug is inserted as required by Sec. 406.9(B)(1). Section 210.2 makes it very clear that damaged GFCI-type receptacles or other equipment that provides GFCI protection cannot be reconditioned.

Exterior ENT Installation

The refrigeration line set and the electrical nonmetallic tubing (ENT) in this photo are connected to an air conditioning unit sitting on the ground below this window. While securing wiring methods to the refrigeration line set may not be specifically prohibited or permitted, installing ENT where it is exposed to the direct rays of the sun is specifically prohibited by Sec. 362.12(7) unless the ENT is identified as being sunlight resistant. This ENT was not identified as sunlight resistant. Even if this ENT was sunlight resistant, it is not one of the wiring methods specified in Sec. 225.10 for installation as outside wiring on buildings or other structures, so its use here would be questionable at best. The white thermostat cable is also secured to this bundle of wiring methods and piping. Section 722.3(J) requires power-limited cables, like this Class 2 thermostat cable, installed in corrosive, damp, or wet locations such as this to comply with several requirements in Art. 110 and Art. 300, including Sec. 300.6, which requires cable sheathing to be made of materials suitable for the environment where they are installed. In this case, that would include being suitable for this wet location and being sunlight resistant.

About the Author

Russ LeBlanc | Owner

Russ started in the electrical trade as an apprentice in 1985. He worked his way up to become a Journeyman Electrician and then eventually became a Master Electrician and Licensed Construction Supervisor. In 1999 Russ become an Electrical Instructor for The Peterson School of Engineering in Massachusetts where he developed his passion for teaching, and quickly became Department Head of Electrical Instruction. Russ has taught thousands of apprentices, electricians, engineers, inspectors, and other electrical professionals during his career as an instructor. He continues to provide electrical professionals with Electrical Code seminars, Arc-Flash Awareness training seminars and educational material through his LeBlanc Consulting Services in North Reading, MA whose specialty is educating electricians. He has been an active member of the NFPA Electrical Section and has authored hundreds of National Electrical Code proposals and comments which have become Code rules to improve the safety for the electrical industry. Russ is also an IAEI certified Electrical Inspector.

Please visit www.russleblanc.net for more information.

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