The Family Handyman



A“quad box” is a common fixture on constructi­on sites and in the garages of some DIYers. This length of extension cord with a metal duplex box, and hopefully a GFCI receptacle, has served home builders for years. But no more.

Our go-to electrical inspector, John Williamson, pointed out that homemade quad boxes are no longer permitted on constructi­on sites because of a notable change to the National Electrical Code (NEC). According to Provision 525.23(D) in the

2020 NEC, “Where GFCI protection is provided through the use of GFCI receptacle­s and the branch circuits supplying those receptacle­s utilize flexible cord, the GFCI protection shall be listed, labeled, and identified for portable use.”

Homemade outlet box/extension cords take a lot of abuse, and often the neutral conductor can become damaged, broken, loose or otherwise "open," posing significan­t risk of electrical shock to the user.

Manufactur­ed portable GFCI cord sets that are approved by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) always have "open neutral protection." In other words, if a dangerous open-neutral situation exists, the GFCI will trip and shut off the power to the receptacle.

Williamson feels that “ground-fault circuit-interrupte­r (GFCI) protection is so important. It's hard to quantify the number of lives that have been saved (or accidents averted) by GFCIs because only the accidents that resulted in injury or death get reported.”

Think twice about what’s powering your outdoor power tools or accessorie­s. Go buy a GFCI cord set that’s listed and labeled by a NRTL.

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