contractor Bill Lutz, of Generation 3 Electric Inc. in
Philadelphia, has weighed in on the letter from the
reader who recently wondered whether the ground fault
circuit interrupter (GFCI) installation in his attached
garage was really overkill.
reader, who had just purchased a new house, said he was
surprised to learn that the GFCI in the attached garage
also included the overhead lights, but not the light on
the garage door opener.
reader suspected that this would impede safety in the
garage if someone were in there when the GFCI engaged,
and therefore the individual would not have any lighting
to get out of the garage or find and reset the GFCI.
said he took some time and polled "some members in
my professional community and the other licensed
electricians in our office."
there was much debate about the correct answer to this
the end we believe this is a topic that is up to
interpretation, and ultimately ‘authorities having
jurisdiction’ are responsible for making the
call," Lutz said.
builders, and electricians can all come up with
different answers when asked this question.
was unable to find any code that restricts the use of
GFCI protection for lighting circuits.
general trend in each code release is for more GFCI
protection in more and more locations," he said,
"so the electrician in this situation is being safe
and protecting against accidental shock."
can imagine a situation where a homeowner is changing
the light on an aluminum ladder and gets shocked through
the ladder and concrete floor," Lutz said.
GFCI-protected lighting circuit will prevent a shock in
such a situation.
is a simple fix costing under $50: switching out the
light bulbs to Smart Charge Bulbs (