National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Question:

In the definition of “readily accessible” the word obstacle is used. What does that mean? Would a toaster in front of a kitchen GFI receptacle be considered and obstacle? A couch in front of an AFCI receptacle?

Thanks Jim

A

Answer:

Hey Jim thanks for your question. The term "obstacle" is not defined in the NEC so we can use standard dictionary definitions to help us understand what is necessary. Some definitions include the concepts of something that - obstructs or hinders progress; makes it difficult to do something; stands in the way of or holds up progress. Keep in mind that the words are "to remove obstacles". A literal interpretation would include any object that did that but it seems that a toaster could be something you can reach around (not have to remove) to access an AFCI or GFCI. It becomes more challenging as often appliances and furniture are not present when the AHJ is approving an installation.

 

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