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Old 10-20-2010, 05:16 PM   #1
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Default GFCI VS. GFPE Commercial Kitchen

I know the difference in gfci and gfpe. Gfci is for people protection (5 ma) and gfpe is for equipment protection (30 ma).

Had a conversation here recently with a guy that claimed that some electricians were allowed to SWITCH the gfci (5 ma) breaker for the gfpe (30 ma) breaker in a kitchen because the (NEW)freezers and refrigerators were tripping them.

They say the inspector allowed it since this was a 'dedicated line' for that freezer equipment even though it was STILL in the kitchen. This is NOT hardwired equipment and yes its 15 and 20 amp 125 volt receptacles that the freezers and frigs are plugged into. So I asked how can they interpet that from NEC 2008 210.8(B)(2) that way???!! That gfci is a '5 ma' not the '30 ma' .

They only say this is for equipment and the people won't be using that outlet much and that section was meant for outlets people can use frequently. Also, there is no 'specific statement in the code that says what the 'ma' should be' in that section, only that gfci is required.

Am I missing something here?? I have NEVER read that section that way and just because the manufacture 'admits' that their equipment can't stay within the 5 ma threshhold, thats THEIR problem and not the electricians.

Has anyone read that section that way?? Is this done like this anywhere else??

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Old 10-20-2010, 05:18 PM   #2
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Never heard of an inspector allowing that. Don't think it would fly here.

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Old 10-20-2010, 06:54 PM   #3
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Would not fly here.

210.8(B)(2) is specific that receptacles in a non-dwelling unit kitchen must be GFCI protected not GFPE protected.

GFPE is designed to protect equipment where GFCI is designed to protect personnel from electric shock.

Chris
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brother View Post
I know the difference in gfci and gfpe. Gfci is for people protection (5 ma) and gfpe is for equipment protection (30 ma).

Had a conversation here recently with a guy that claimed that some electricians were allowed to SWITCH the gfci (5 ma) breaker for the gfpe (30 ma) breaker in a kitchen because the (NEW)freezers and refrigerators were tripping them.

They say the inspector allowed it since this was a 'dedicated line' for that freezer equipment even though it was STILL in the kitchen. This is NOT hardwired equipment and yes its 15 and 20 amp 125 volt receptacles that the freezers and frigs are plugged into. So I asked how can they interpet that from NEC 2008 210.8(B)(2) that way???!! That gfci is a '5 ma' not the '30 ma' .

They only say this is for equipment and the people won't be using that outlet much and that section was meant for outlets people can use frequently. Also, there is no 'specific statement in the code that says what the 'ma' should be' in that section, only that gfci is required.

Am I missing something here?? I have NEVER read that section that way and just because the manufacture 'admits' that their equipment can't stay within the 5 ma threshhold, thats THEIR problem and not the electricians.

Has anyone read that section that way?? Is this done like this anywhere else??
I wrote that underline and that is a bunch of bull if that did trip the GFCI then you have issue with brand new unit that is the factory related issue not the electrician issue at all.

As far for the inspector to approve to use the GFPE device which that way behoind my mind what the inspector do that I think someone will have heckva a time to expain why that dolt allowed it.

I will just call the factory guys whom make that unit and they will have to come out and get this fixed and megger it to make sure.

Merci.
Marc
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:17 PM   #5
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And the authority that said that was...?
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:58 AM   #6
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Default GFI/GFCI for equipment

I think most electricians on this forum are missing the point from the equipment manufacturer side. If the equipment runs a motor such as a compressor on a fridge or fan motor on a convection oven, there is no way the start current can be brought that low. So I think everyone should stop quoting the code and start thinking logically. In the end, if you want your customers to be pleased with the service you provide, you need to stop acting like code police officers and leave it to the inspector. If the inspector can't understand that equipment can trip a low rated GFCI, then the problem is with the authority having jurisdiction who neglected to think of the equipment before putting in this requirement. Equipment was installed in kitchens long before they developed GFI or GFCI's.

As for the inspector that allowed it, he did the right thing. He recognized that codes are written with gray areas on purpose to allow room around the mission impossible.
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:21 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by miguelweb View Post
I think most electricians on this forum are missing the point from the equipment manufacturer side. If the equipment runs a motor such as a compressor on a fridge or fan motor on a convection oven, there is no way the start current can be brought that low.
You obviously have no idea how a GFCI device works. Inrush current will not cause a GFCI device to trip. A GFCI device monitors the current on the ungrounded conductor and the current on the grounded (Neutral) conductor and if there is an imbalance of more than 4 to 6 Milli-amps then the GFCI device trips.

Quote:
So I think everyone should stop quoting the code and start thinking logically. In the end, if you want your customers to be pleased with the service you provide, you need to stop acting like code police officers and leave it to the inspector. If the inspector can't understand that equipment can trip a low rated GFCI, then the problem is with the authority having jurisdiction who neglected to think of the equipment before putting in this requirement. Equipment was installed in kitchens long before they developed GFI or GFCI's.

As for the inspector that allowed it, he did the right thing. He recognized that codes are written with gray areas on purpose to allow room around the mission impossible.
The code in this instance is crystal clear there is no grey area. 210.8(B)(2) requires all 125 volt 15 and 20 amp receptacles to have ground fault protection for personnel, which is defined in the NEC as a Class A device with a trip threshold of 4 to 6 milliamps. If the inspector was to approve GFPE protection which has a trip threshold of 30 to 50 milliamps IMHO that would constitute negligence on his part.

GFCI protection is to protect personnel from an electric shock that can kill someone. GFPE protection is designed to protect equipment from ground faults.

A properly functioning refrigerator motor will operate perfectly fine on a Class A GFCI device.

Chris
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by miguelweb View Post
I think most electricians on this forum are missing the point from the equipment manufacturer side. If the equipment runs a motor such as a compressor on a fridge or fan motor on a convection oven, there is no way the start current can be brought that low. So I think everyone should stop quoting the code and start thinking logically. In the end, if you want your customers to be pleased with the service you provide, you need to stop acting like code police officers and leave it to the inspector. If the inspector can't understand that equipment can trip a low rated GFCI, then the problem is with the authority having jurisdiction who neglected to think of the equipment before putting in this requirement. Equipment was installed in kitchens long before they developed GFI or GFCI's.

As for the inspector that allowed it, he did the right thing. He recognized that codes are written with gray areas on purpose to allow room around the mission impossible.

Having big balls, does not equate with having big brains. Inspectors are not gods. Smart inspectors (like raider1) use critical thinking to read what "The Code" has to say!
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:47 PM   #9
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If this is the case and compressors and fan motors that have an inrush current should not trip it, why is it reported to still be happening? I can understand a unit with a problem but what about a new unit?

I understood GFCI are used to protect people and GFI are to protect equipment. If this is correct, would a single receptacle GFI instead of duplex be used? Does it meet your local codes? Especially if it is dedicated only for that one appliance?

If GFI are not allowed, what is their purpose? (do they have a purpose in a commercial kitchen?)

Also, if anybody knows where to get a 30 mA GFI single wall receptacle (not GFCI) please let me know. I appreciate it.

Our equipment states that if the unit is connected to a GFI, it must have a 30 mA trip. Are we wrong in saying this? Our fan motors have a much lower current draw (even in rush) than standard convection ovens.

Do all states now require a GFCI in the kitchen? If not, under what conditions is it required? eg. counter top receptacles, near ground, etc.

raider1, is a GFPE the same as a GFI? Looking on the internet, it appears all countries have different terminologies for these devices.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:00 PM   #10
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If this is the case and compressors and fan motors that have an inrush current should not trip it, why is it reported to still be happening? I can understand a unit with a problem but what about a new unit?
I am not aware of any legitimate reports of modern refrigeration equipment listed to the UL standard for such equipment that is not compatible with a Class A GFCI device.

Quote:
I understood GFCI are used to protect people and GFI are to protect equipment. If this is correct, would a single receptacle GFI instead of duplex be used? Does it meet your local codes? Especially if it is dedicated only for that one appliance?
As far as the NEC is concerned, using a single non-GFCI protected receptacle for the equipment is not code compliant.

Quote:
If GFI are not allowed, what is their purpose? (do they have a purpose in a commercial kitchen?)
I am assuming you mean GFPE (30 milliamp trip threshold). GFPE is not used for kitchen equipment but is commonly used to protect roof de-icing cable.

Quote:
Also, if anybody knows where to get a 30 mA GFI single wall receptacle (not GFCI) please let me know. I appreciate it.
I am not sure that there is any GFPE type of receptacles.

Quote:
Our equipment states that if the unit is connected to a GFI, it must have a 30 mA trip. Are we wrong in saying this? Our fan motors have a much lower current draw (even in rush) than standard convection ovens.
If you are stating that then your equipment can not be installed in a commercial kitchen in compliance with the NEC.

Is you equipment listed to UL: Standard 471 for commercial refrigeration equipment?

Quote:
Do all states now require a GFCI in the kitchen? If not, under what conditions is it required? eg. counter top receptacles, near ground, etc.
The NEC requires all 125 volt 15 and 20 amp receptacles in a commercial kitchen to be GFCI protected. See 210.8(B)(2).

Quote:
raider1, is a GFPE the same as a GFI? Looking on the internet, it appears all countries have different terminologies for these devices.
GFPE stands for Ground Fault Protection for Equipment. The term GFI is just Ground Fault Protection and can encompass a lot of different things such as ground fault protection of large services and feeders.

Chris
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:11 PM   #11
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If the NEC members wants to share some of the kickbacks it gets from manufacturers with me, I'll be glad to use everything they want me to.
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by raider1 View Post

The code in this instance is crystal clear there is no grey area. 210.8(B)(2) requires all 125 volt 15 and 20 amp receptacles to have ground fault protection for personnel, which is defined in the NEC as a Class A device with a trip threshold of 4 to 6 milliamps. If the inspector was to approve GFPE protection which has a trip threshold of 30 to 50 milliamps IMHO that would constitute negligence on his part.

GFCI protection is to protect personnel from an electric shock that can kill someone. GFPE protection is designed to protect equipment from ground faults.

A properly functioning refrigerator motor will operate perfectly fine on a Class A GFCI device.

Chris
So the 30, 50 amp 220 volt recepticles are just fine the way they always have been. But the 15 & 20 amp must be GFCI. That makes sense! Because the code is crystal clear.
How about you make it crystal clear why it's ok for some circuits installed in the same area or conditions to be Non GFI and others not?
Just because the "NEC says so" is not good enough explaination.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:00 PM   #13
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So the 30, 50 amp 220 volt recepticles are just fine the way they always have been. But the 15 & 20 amp must be GFCI. That makes sense! Because the code is crystal clear.
How about you make it crystal clear why it's ok for some circuits installed in the same area or conditions to be Non GFI and others not?
Just because the "NEC says so" is not good enough explaination.
Because you cannot simply unplug a 30 or 50A appliance and plug in a drill, space heater, floor buffer, hand mixer, etc, with a "standard" 15A 125V plug on it.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:08 PM   #14
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Because you cannot simply unplug a 30 or 50A appliance and plug in a drill, space heater, floor buffer, hand mixer, etc, with a "standard" 15A 125V plug on it.
Nor can you simply unplug a spa/hot tub. But they are required to be on GFCI (for good reason).
So commercial kitchen circuits are used for drills, space heaters, floor buffers..etc. Can circuits outside of the kitchen area be used for these things as well? If so we better reqiure every recepticle in every building to be GFCI.
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:28 AM   #15
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Nor can you simply unplug a spa/hot tub. But they are required to be on GFCI (for good reason).
So commercial kitchen circuits are used for drills, space heaters, floor buffers..etc. Can circuits outside of the kitchen area be used for these things as well? If so we better reqiure every recepticle in every building to be GFCI.
The reason for GFCI protection in a commercial kitchen has to do with the wash down procedures and the fact that we are dealing with very conductive surfaces. The substantiation was a case where a janitor was mopping down the area in a commercial kitchen and touched a stainless steel appliance. The appliance had a broken ground prong on the cord and the motor in the appliance had faulted out to the frame. The janitor touched the appliance and was killed.

The fact that the UL standard for commercial refrigeration equipment shows that the equipment is compatible with Class A Gfci protection help the CMP come to the conclusion that there is no significant "Nuisance" tripping issues with providing GFCI protection of 125 volt 15 and 20 amp receptacles in a commercial kitchen.

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Old 01-28-2011, 12:25 PM   #16
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Read the comentary on code changes most will explain why they were adopted.
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:57 PM   #17
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The reason for GFCI protection in a commercial kitchen has to do with the wash down procedures and the fact that we are dealing with very conductive surfaces. The substantiation was a case where a janitor was mopping down the area in a commercial kitchen and touched a stainless steel appliance. The appliance had a broken ground prong on the cord and the motor in the appliance had faulted out to the frame. The janitor touched the appliance and was killed.

The fact that the UL standard for commercial refrigeration equipment shows that the equipment is compatible with Class A Gfci protection help the CMP come to the conclusion that there is no significant "Nuisance" tripping issues with providing GFCI protection of 125 volt 15 and 20 amp receptacles in a commercial kitchen.

Chris
Why do they not make commercial kitchen receptacles, with indicating lights, that would indicate an open ground or neutral. Basically like the plug-in circuit testers? What do you think?
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:07 PM   #18
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Why do they not make commercial kitchen receptacles, with indicating lights, that would indicate an open ground or neutral. Basically like the plug-in circuit testers? What do you think?
Most of the times the loss of the equipment grounding conductor occurs in the equipment plugged into the receptacle so an indicator light on the receptacle would not accomplish much in the way of safety and would never replace the safety provided by GFCI protection.

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Old 01-28-2011, 01:14 PM   #19
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Most of the times the loss of the equipment grounding conductor occurs in the equipment plugged into the receptacle so an indicator light on the receptacle would not accomplish much in the way of safety and would never replace the safety provided by GFCI protection.

Chris
Good Point!
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Old 01-28-2011, 03:10 PM   #20
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Thanks Chris
Below are some answers to your questions.

[quote=raider1;370539]I am not aware of any legitimate reports of modern refrigeration equipment listed to the UL standard for such equipment that is not compatible with a Class A GFCI device.

Ok, perhaps the code is different if it applies to Convection ovens or Convection steamers


I am assuming you mean GFPE (30 milliamp trip threshold). GFPE is not used for kitchen equipment but is commonly used to protect roof de-icing cable.

If it is not used for Commercial kitchen equipment, we are not talking about the same thing.


I am not sure that there is any GFPE type of receptacles.

Our units are 120V and come with a cord and plug standard 5-15P.
They are made to be used only in a commercial kitchens in Canada and US.
Our largest unit draws max 1.1 kW and 8.3 A. (again, smaller current motor than standard convection ovens and steamers).


If you are stating that then your equipment can not be installed in a commercial kitchen in compliance with the NEC.

Is you equipment listed to UL: Standard 471 for commercial refrigeration equipment?

No, we make Combi-Steamers.
Our equipment is listed and certified by UL. I checked the UL website for a number under our certification but they don't list it there.
Our Gas units are also listed CSA (Canadian but they work closely with the American Authority UL because it is easier to list with one company for both Canada and US in Germany). This is not uncommon among manufacturers. The CSA certification will have a small US on the right side of the CSA logo.

The NEC requires all 125 volt 15 and 20 amp receptacles in a commercial kitchen to be GFCI protected. See 210.8(B)(2).

This is the problem I am trying to understand. Perhaps I will look up the GFCI to understand how it works and find out if our gas units should be tripping it. Perhaps customers are trying to plug more than one unit into the same GFCI.

GFPE stands for Ground Fault Protection for Equipment. The term GFI is just Ground Fault Protection and can encompass a lot of different things such as ground fault protection of large services and feeders.

Some additional info on our equipment
It is not new, we have been selling it in Canada and US since 2004
Engineered and built in Germany already conforming to very strict European CE requirements (yes, worse than in California).
Chances are, our European equipment already conformed to North American standards, it just had to be certified by North American authorities such as UL and CSA. This is done with very few modifications.
Our Electric models are normally hard wired to panel, only gas units are plugged in wall.

Thanks for your help

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