The 2020 and 2023 editions of the National Electric Code (NEC) section 210.8 (B) have expanded GFCI regulations in areas with sink and permanent provisions for food preparation and cooking, directly affecting commercial kitchens. The updated code covers GFCI protection for personnel in “other than dwelling” units and focuses on GFCI protection for applicable kitchen appliances powered by 3-phase power (e.g. line to line, < 250 VAC, 208 VAC typical). However, ideal GFCI solution would also be compatible with 2-pole (e.g. line to line, 240 VAC).
Both 2020 and 2023 NEC has increased GFCI requirements in more locations. What this means to architects, designers, electricians, general contractors, or program managers is a year over year increase in demand for breakers with GFCI protection. Will manufacturers of breakers continue to struggle servicing the demand for 15 A to 100 A, 2 or 3 pole, GFCI MCB’s?
Summary of 2023 Code Changes
2023 Edition NEC article 210.8 (B) related to spaces “other than dwellings” has been rewritten to clarify and expand GFCI requirements.
The word “Kitchens” was added as article 210.8(B)(2) and requires all single phase (50A or less) or 3 phase (100A or less) plug-in-cord-connected appliances to have GFCI protection.
A new addition, article 210.8(B)(4), covers buffet serving areas, commonly referred to as break areas within commercial occupancy. The effected spaces include areas with provisions for food service. beverage service, or cooking. Any receptacles and special appliances within these areas shall be GFCI protected.
The specific appliances list was updated (article 210.8(D)(8) through (12)) for appliances that are commonly installed as hardwired outlets, 60A or less. Shock hazards exist whether appliances are energized from outlet (hardwired) or receptacle (cord and plug).
A new code (Stationary appliances, article 210.8(B)(7)) revised the code to include stationary appliances located within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the top inside edge of a sink shall have GFCI protection.
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“Changes to NEC 210.8 B-F have challenged all of us in the industry to find new GFCI solutions. When NK Technologies reached out to us recently, we decided to invest a few hours into meeting with their application experts. Five of our electrical engineering designers attended the session and considered it time well spent. NK Technologies has an in-depth understanding of the new NEC requirements and ground fault products designed to meet them. We are thankful for their time.”
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