Last year, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation adopted the 2020 National Electric Code (2020 NEC) with an effective date of November 1, 2020. That adoption included Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC which requires that certain outdoor outlets for dwellings supplied by single phase branch circuits rated 150 volts to ground or less, 50 amperes or less, have ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection.
GFCIs are a safety device that acts as a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground-fault within as little as 1/40 of a second. As a result of this new requirement, there have been widespread reports of certain types of air conditioning units connected to a GFCI device not being compatible with the GFCI protection, which causes the GFCI device to trip.
Due to this feedback, last month, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation held an emergency meeting and found that compliance with Section 210.8(F) can interfere with the proper functioning of certain types of air conditioning and heating systems.
These malfunctions could pose a threat to public health and safety and as such, they voted to delay implementation of this section until January 1, 2023.
As of May 20, 2021, neither electrical contractors nor air conditioning and refrigeration contractors are required to comply with the requirement of Section 210.8(F) of GFCI protection for certain outdoor outlets. A code-compliant installation, with emphasis on a proper bonding of the equipment to the equipment grounding conductor and to the electrical grounding system, will ensure electrical safety for fault conditions, even when terminated to a normal overcurrent protection device.