Ask the Electrical Inspector

We received a bunch of good questions from readers regarding electrical codes in 2017 and passed them on to John Williamson, a bona fide electrical inspector. Here are his answers to your FAQ's.

Garage door receptacles | Construction Pro Tips
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Garage receptacles

Question: Is supplying receptacle outlets using 15-ampere branch circuits in house garages still permitted?

A diagram showing GFCI protection at sinks | Construction Pro Tips
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Water source and GFCI

Question: I know that receptacles within 6-ft. of a sink need to be protected with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). But what if the appliance (fridge, microwave, etc.) that is plugged in to said receptacle is closer than 6-ft?

A Sink | Construction Pro Tips
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How to measure from sinks

Question: When it comes to sinks, receptacle outlets within 6-feet of the sink are required to be GFCI protected. Measuring from the outside edge of the sink is open to wide interpretation. Has this measurement process been clarified in the code?

Garbage disposal under the sink | Construction Pro Tips
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Garbage disposal outlets

Question: Don’t all garbage disposal outlets under sinks need GFCI protection? It’s definitely closer than 6-feet to the sink.

Man sitting in a crawl space | Construction Pro Tips
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GFCI protection in crawl spaces

Electrical Code
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NEC code questions

Answer: Public Input (formerly known as Proposals) for the 2020 NEC needs to be submitted no later than September 7, 2017. As the term implies, the NEC is an open, consensus process and accepts input and commentary from anyone. You can submit Public Input online at

Two Pronged Outlets
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Two prong outlets in rentals

Question: I am a city rental inspector. A question has come up about two-prong outlets. Should we be making property owners replace two-prong outlets with three-prong GFCI outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, garages and outside if the home was built with two-prong outlets?

Garage Framing
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Electrical supply for a new garage

Question: Our organization builds around 120 new garages each year, and we would like to know if we are allowed to use the existing underground electrical supply if it has been determined by a licensed electrician to be in good shape. We do not want to add cost to the project and tear up our customer’s yard if we don’t have to.

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Meet the inspector

John Williamson has been in the electrical industry for 40 years and is a licensed master electrician and certified building official. John has worked for the state of Minnesota for over 23 years and is the Chief Electrical Inspector. For the past 25 years John has also provided electrical code consultation to various book and magazine publishers.

Got a question?

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Have a Question? Ask a Question

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