Electrical - 2015 IRC Code Highlights


Concerning Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide

Remember, any home with an attached garage or a fuel-fired appliance must have a carbon monoxide detector within close proximity of bedrooms. Carbon monoxide detectors are now required to be connected to the house wiring system with battery backup (R315). Also, an additional carbon monoxide detector must be installed within any bedroom that contains a fuel-fired appliance such as a gas fireplace.

As always, smoke detectors must be interconnected. With the 2015 IRC Code, this interconnection may now be wireless (R314.5). Keep in mind that smoke detectors must be installed a minimum of 3 feet from the tip of a ceiling fan blade and 3 feet from an opening containing a tub or shower.

Smoke detectors must also be located away from permanent cooking appliances such as stoves. If it is an ionization type detector, it must be at least 20’ away, unless it has an alarm-silencing switch, in which case the minimum distance is 10’.

If it is a photoelectric type detector, it may be as close as 6’ horizontally. However, in both the shower and stove situations, maintaining those clearances must never prevent an alarm from being installed in a required location.

Unlike a ceiling fan or forced air supply, which prevent the detector from functioning properly, the other clearances are intended to reduce nuisance alarms. So, for example, in a location such as a small upstairs landing opening both to bedrooms and a bathroom, having a detector outside the bedroom is more important than the possibility of water vapor creating nuisance alarms.

Concerning GFCI Receptacles

New to the 2015 IRC, a garage must have at least one GFCI receptacle per vehicle space (E3901.9).

Reminder – overhead receptacles for garage door openers must still be GFCI protected (E3902.9).

All receptacles within a laundry area now require GFCI protection (E3902.9), and outlets that supply a dishwasher in dwelling units are required to be GFCI protected (E3902.10).

Note: If an island or peninsular counter top is divided by a range, cook top or sink, and there is less than 12 inches of counter space behind the range, cook top or sink, then each side is considered a separate counter space and therefore must have its own receptacle (E3901.4.5).

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