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2020 Electrical Codes for Homeowners

Learn the most recent 2020 electrical codes, and updates and what they mean for your home’s electrical system.

Photo of a 2-story home

It is important to note changes made to the 2020 NEC electrical codes by which licensed builders, contractors, and electricians must abide by when either building a new home or doing renovations on an existing home. Homeowners performing a major home renovation or upgrades to their electrical system may find it important to be aware of these updates. Below, we walk you through the NEC 2020 electrical codes, how they apply to your home, and how iTrust Home Services can help bring your home up to those safety standards.

What is the NEC?

NEC 2020 electrical codes book


NEC stands for National Electrical Code and consists of codes, for buildings and homes, that are the standard for safety nationally. The NEC is a product of the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) and is updated every 3 years by considering public input and accidents that have occurred during the previous 3 years. The latest version is the NEC 2020 electrical code book.

Though it is not federal law, each state can choose to adopt and follow these minimum regulations and can amend these regulations as they see fit. The NEC is followed by all 50 states, though each state has its own self-set timeline as to when their state will become fully compliant.

Do I Need to Change My Home’s Electrical Service Now?

No, it is not required that you bring your home’s electrical system up to the current 2020 electrical codes. However, if you are looking to undergo a home renovation of any kind, that room must be brought up to the new NEC 2020 electrical code guidelines. In addition, if you are having a panel upgrade or any other type of electrical work done, the new codes must be followed.

Nevertheless, the 2020 electrical codes do represent the most up-to-date standards in home safety and if you choose to update your electrical system to follow those codes, a licensed electrician can help you achieve that. Simply find a licensed electrician in your area that is knowledgeable in the newest codes and requirements.

What Are the Newest Electrical Codes for My Area?

The new 2020 electrical codes are adopted nationwide and each state has its own time frame for enforcing the codes. So, no matter when your state starts enforcing the new 2020 regulations, all electricians should be following these guidelines now. Here is a list of the 2020 electrical codes that will affect you, as a homeowner.

Surge Protection for All Dwellings

Lightning sky and a house



One new 2020 electrical code requirement is for surge protection to be installed in all dwellings that are either new or having replacement electrical work done. A home must have either an S1 SPD (surge protection device) or an S2 SPD. Both SPD types protect your home’s electrical system and your belongings from being destroyed by an electrical surge caused by a lightning strike or a surge originating from inside your home.

S1 Surge Protection Device

An S1 SPD is installed on your main electrical service meter on the outside of your home. The purpose of the S1 SPD is to protect your home’s electrical service from surges that come from outside your home, for example, from a lightning strike.

S2 Surge Protection Device

An S2 SPD is installed inside your home on your main electrical panel and all subpanels. The purpose of the S2 SPD is to suppress the 80% of electrical surges that occur inside your home. This stops the surge of electricity from destroying the electrical circuits in your home and anything you may have plugged in and to prevent damage and potential fires.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Electrical Codes

NEC’s 2020 electrical codes for GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) have been updated to protect your home and family from electrical shock and electrocution. Now, homes will require GFCI protection on any outlet rated 125 through 250-volts that is installed in a GFCI-required location. Those locations include the kitchen, bathroom and any room that has flowing water.

GFCIs have previously been required to be installed on any outlet that is within 6 feet of a water source. However, the 2020 electrical codes require this for all circuits in 11 areas, as follows:

  1. Bathrooms
  2. Garages and accessory buildings that have a floor located at or below grade level which are not intended as habitable rooms, for instance, barns, storage areas, workshops, she-sheds and other outbuildings with electricity.
  3. Outdoors
  4. Crawl spaces which are at or below grade level
  5. Basements (except for a receptacle supplying only a permanently installed fire alarm or burglar alarm system)
  6. Kitchens where the receptacles are installed to serve the countertop surfaces
  7. Sinks where receptacles are installed within 6 ft from the top inside edge of the bowl of the sink
  8. Boathouses
  9. Bathtubs or shower stalls where receptacles are installed within 6 ft of the outside edge of the bathtub or shower stall
  10. Laundry areas
  11. Indoor damp and wet locations

New 2020 Electrical Codes for Outdoor GFCI

Outdoor receptacles are mentioned above, however, it is important to note that this is a new section created in the NEC 2020 electrical codes; section 210.8(F).

Outdoor Electrical Shut-Offs

Electrical service meter and panel



In the case of an emergency involving your home such as a fire, tornado or other unfortunate events, it is crucial that emergency responders can quickly and easily cut the power to your home. As it stands, shutting down the electrical services oftentimes involves contacting the utility company, which can waste precious minutes. To facilitate a faster response time and protect your home, the NEC created the following code:

Outdoor emergency shut-offs are now a requirement, according to the NEC 2020 electrical codes. This is necessary for any new home, a home under renovation, or a home receiving an electrical service upgrade. These shut-offs may be a service disconnect, a meter disconnect or a switch or circuit breaker on devices such as home generators.

New Electrical Codes in the Kitchen

If you are finally getting that kitchen renovation you’ve always dreamed of, there are new 2020 electrical codes in regard to the kitchen; specifically, kitchen islands and countertops. Now, at least one receptacle is required for the first 9 square feet of the countertop or work surface. Another receptacle is then required for every additional 18 square feet of the countertop or work surface.

Additionally, the 2020 electrical codes state that at least one receptacle must be installed within 2 ft of the outer end of an island or peninsular countertop or work surface. Any additional receptacles can be placed anywhere at the discretion of the installer, designer, or electrician. This 2020 electrical code is to prevent small appliance cords from being stretch out too far, resulting in an electrical shock hazard.

 NEC 220 Electrical Codes for Georgia

As mentioned above, each state decides when it will adopt the new NEC 2020 electrical codes. Those 2020 electrical codes for Georgia will be enforced by 2021. According to the Electrical Construction Maintenance Magazine’s website:

“According to a recent Code Alert from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the Georgia State Codes Advisory Committee (SCAC) unanimously voted to recommend the adoption of the 2020 National Electrical Code with no state amendments, along with two other codes, effective Jan. 1, 2021.

The SCAC will present the code adoption regulations to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) board on Nov. 18, 2020, which will be held at the Georgia DCA Main Offices located in Atlanta.”

Georgia area electricians, builders, and contractors will begin implementing these 2020 electrical codes and will be compliant by 2021. As a result, homeowners can expect the new electrical codes to be followed when doing renovations to their home. that electrical service upgrades or panel and subpanel additions., that those new electrical codes will be followed.

How iTrust Home Services Can Help with 2020 Electrical Codes and Compliance

iTrust electrical services

iTrust Home Services offers all residential electrical services, near Alpharetta, ranging from new outlet installations to whole home electrical work, all of which will be done abiding my the NEC 2020 electrical codes. Some of the services we offer are:

iTrust’s Alpharetta electrical business is led by a Georgia Licensed (Class 2) Master Electrician ensuring safety, code compliance, and client satisfaction. You can count on iTrust for quality work at reasonable rates!

Contact iTrust for Your Electrical and Home Improvement Needs

In addition to our Atlanta area electricians, iTrust Home Services offers the best in kitchen renovation, smart home products and installation, cabinet refinishing and more.

Call us today for a free consultation at 470-369-0000 or send us an email at Or you can visit our contact page and fill out and submit our contact form.