Inspection Truth and Lies?

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Old 02-07-17, 11:11 AM
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Inspection Truth and Lies?

so, I have two gfci's on the same circuit. The first is in the bathroom, the next thing on the circuit is the kitchen outlet. When the inspector tripped the kitchen, it wouldn't reset (because I had used the load side of the first gfci so that tripped too). Things got a little heated between us and he said such things as:
1) Kitchen and bathroom should never be on the same circuit.
1b) I must have screwed up while replacing receptacles and be the reason
the two circuits are spliced together (I maintain it's not possible to mis-
wire an outlet so that another circuit gets spliced in)
2) Two GFCI's should never be on the same circuit. (umm, it was dumb to use the load side of the first gfci, but I have corrected that and don't see a problem with multiple gfci's).
3) None of this should be grandfathered in and allowed in this late 70's building because I must have screwed up the wiring. The only possible way for me to splice circuits originally separated circuits would be at the breaker box if I piggy backed two hot wires to the same breaker or if I tapped into a line running through the wall. Neither happened. It's how the building was wired and I don't feel me improving things with gfci's should trigger the elimination of grandfathering. He actually claimed nothing can ever be grandfathered.
I think we were just worked up. He did contact me later and walked back much of what he said. He seems willing to accept moving the kitchen off the load side of the first gfci as a solution....but I thought I would fact check against other opinions.
I would have to change a lot to get completely up to current code: i.e. not all bedroom lights and outlets are on the same circuit so an arc would not shut everything off. The kitchen circuit continues on to a dining room outlet.
 
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Old 02-07-17, 11:28 AM
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1) Kitchen and bathroom should never be on the same circuit.
True for receptacles, except perhaps in very old houses. Lighting circuits can share between those rooms.

2) Two GFCI's should never be on the same circuit.
False. Two are not necessary, but the only problem I'm aware of is that when there is a fault either one or both may trip making power restoration perhaps more confusing. Multiple GFCI devices is not a violation of any code.

3) None of this should be grandfathered in and allowed in this late 70's building because I must have screwed up the wiring.
I lean toward true on this one (although some other previous owner instead of you may be the villain). As I recall kitchen and bath circuits have been required to be separate since sometime before the 1960s. Of course who know if the original wiring and inspection in the 70s was correct. To some degree he is right that grandfather only applies when the original work was correct for the time it was installed. If it was always wrong, it's still wrong, but most inspectors do not look that far back into history.
 
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Old 02-07-17, 11:36 AM
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Ben left you some good advice.

2) Two GFCI's should never be on the same circuit.
Just to touch on GFI's. You can have as many as you want on one circuit, but as you found out...... they must all be wired as line type devices. The load from one should never power the line from a second one.
 
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Old 02-07-17, 11:49 AM
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ibpooks, bathroom and kitchen shouldn't share even if separately gfci'd?
If it was never allowed, it had to be originally wired wrong. No way did someone tap into a line to splice a circuit. They spliced then removed the breaker for the separate run? That's soooo not likely.
 
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Old 02-07-17, 02:09 PM
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Correct, bathroom and kitchen receptacles have required separate circuits for decades. It is tough to know if that requirement was in place in your city when your house was built. I don't know what code revision introduced that requirement. Around here even houses built in the 60s have them separated, but different areas follow different codes at different times. It may or may not have been correct at the time in your city.

By today's code, a bathroom requires a dedicated 20A circuit just for the receptacle(s); and a kitchen requires at least two dedicated 20A circuits for powering receptacles in the cooking and serving areas.

In any case, it's a very good idea to have separate circuits as the kitchen and bath are where the largest plug-in appliances are used in the home. A hairdryer plus a coffee pot will overload the circuit.
 
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Old 02-07-17, 03:32 PM
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A lot will depend on the extent of the work done. If no work was done you may be fine, however some areas require updates to the latest codes when the work is exposed or over a certain percentage of rehab.

There are a few portions of the code that are retroactive like adding GFI or AFCI protection and/or tamper resistant when replacing receptacles.
 
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Old 02-07-17, 04:34 PM
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And a little advice when working with inspectors. I always try to put on my most compliant attitude (really hard for me!) and make it clear I will do whatever is required to satisfy the inspector. That doesn't mean not questioning things that don't seem right, but you have to do it from a "I just want to make sure I understand this" point of view and not "I think you're full of baloney because that's stupid" point of view. Often (not always ) when you take the right attitude, the inspector will work with you to find a reasonable solution that minimizes rework or additional work. But if you torque them off, they can nit-pick you to death.
 
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Old 02-07-17, 06:42 PM
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bathroom and kitchen shouldn't share even if separately gfci'd?
I am not sure that was a code requirement to keep kitchens and bathrooms separate in the '70s, but it was definitely a common sense thing.

If the inspector is already pissed off and applying current code to a 1970s built house, I'd be tempted to ask him to point me to the ordinance that requires existing homes to meet current code. Without some extensive work, there is no way a 1970s built house would ever meet current code requirements. The NEC carries no enforcement power till it is adopted by a municipality, state or county by legislation or ordinance. Amendments, additions or deletions, of the code must also be enacted by ordinance.
 
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Old 02-07-17, 09:12 PM
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and that's exactly what I did, Casualjoe. I complained that there were no guidelines on the county website and that I wanted written standards presented to me that stated 1)bathrooms and kitchens may not be on the same circuit. 2) Two gfci's can't be on the same circuit. 3) There is no grandfather clause or that merely changing outlets, switches and installing gfci's is enough to trigger all current standards. 4) That he show how merely working with wires at each outlet could have caused me to splice separate circuits together. He knew he was way over his authority and that's why he backed down.
 
 

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