2020 NEC Changes

Improve safety and save lives. Changes in the 2020 National Electric Code® focus on GFCI protection, surge protection, firemen’s disconnect and solar power. See what changes are rolling out to your state.

Updates to GFCI Protection

For dwellings, all 125–250V receptacles within 6 feet of sinks must have GFCI protection. Outdoor outlets 150V to ground or less and up to 50amps also require GFCI protection. This expands requirements to HVAC, refrigeration and other serviceable outdoor equipment.

Dwelling Requirements

  • Laundry areas
  • Kitchens
  • Finished and unfinished basements
  • Ranges within 6 feet of sinks
  • Electric dryers
  • Dishwashers
  • Sump pumps and pool motors

Non-Dwelling Requirements

  • Wet and damp indoor locations
  • Permanent fixtures for cooking
  • Provisions for food preparation
  • Accessory buildings
  • Drinking fountains
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Updates to Emergency Disconnects

Emergency disconnects are required for all single- and two-family dwellings. The new regulation also requires these disconnects to be readily accessible from outside the dwelling, including lines for energy storage systems (ESS) and generators.

One of the Following Must Be Marked on All Generators


Updates to Surge Protection

One of the new articles (242) in 2020 NEC expands surge protection coverage to dwelling unit service lines. Lines must be part of or adjacent to service equipment and may be located at each level of downstream distribution. These regulations apply to replacements as well as service upgrades and cover all line-side and load-side services.

Updates to Solar Requirements (California Directive)

Outdoor disconnects are required for all energy storage units. This update aligns with the California solar directive requires solar photovoltaic systems for newly constructed healthcare facilities starting January 1, 2020.2

Safety and disconnect switches

Safety & Disconnect Switches

Surge Protectors

Surge Protectors

Additional Articles

Article 242, Overvoltage Protection

Merges NEC articles 280 and 285 to address surge protective requirements, devices and arresters

Article 311, MV Conductors & Cable

Expands on a previously removed article (328) to address medium voltage conductors and cables specifications and usages

Article 337, Type P Cable

Addresses 600V Type P cables used in industrial and hazardous areas and defines their specifications

Article 800, General Requirements for Communications Systems

Merges previous contents of 2017 NEC Chapter 8 into one article and lists requirements for communication circuits, including television and radio antennae and network powered broadband systems

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States Adopting 2020 NEC*

Adoption Underway

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

In Effect

  • Massachusetts

NEC Code by State

2020 NEC changes map
  1. National Fire Protection Association, “NEC Enforcement.” 2019
  2. California Energy Commission, “2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards.” 2018.
  3. National Fire Protection Association, “Power Aid: GFCI Protection, Emergency Power Disconnects, and much more.” 2019.