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  1. #1
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    Default Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    Commonly recetpacles are installed 12-18 inches above floor height. In basements, garages and workshops it is often common to see them installed about 48 inches above the floor. Todays inspection had receptacles installed about 48 inches above the floor in a bedroom. Seemed out of place.

    Is there a code reference that sets the min or max height of receptacles above floor height?

    Inspection Referral SOC
    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    The maximum is 5 feet as I recall, and that is in NEC 210.52 as I recall (I will check and verify those two numbers).

    I was almost all correct:
    - 210.52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets.
    - - This section provides requirements for 125-volt, 15- and 20-ampere receptacle outlets. The receptacles required by this section shall be in addition to any receptacle that is:
    - - (1) Part of a luminaire or appliance, or
    - - (2) Controlled by a wall switch in accordance with 210.70(A)(1), Exception No. 1, or
    - - (3) Located within cabinets or cupboards, or
    - - (4) Located more than 1.7 m (5 ft) above the floor
    - - Permanently installed electric baseboard heaters equipped with factory-installed receptacle outlets or outlets provided as a separate assembly by the manufacturer shall be permitted as the required outlet or outlets for the wall space utilized by such permanently installed heaters. Such receptacle outlets shall not be connected to the heater circuits.
    - - - FPN: Listed baseboard heaters include instructions that may not permit their installation below receptacle outlets.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The maximum is 5 feet as I recall, and that is in NEC 210.52 as I recall (I will check and verify those two numbers).

    I was almost all correct:
    - 210.52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets.
    - - This section provides requirements for 125-volt, 15- and 20-ampere receptacle outlets. The receptacles required by this section shall be in addition to any receptacle that is:
    - - (1) Part of a luminaire or appliance, or
    - - (2) Controlled by a wall switch in accordance with 210.70(A)(1), Exception No. 1, or
    - - (3) Located within cabinets or cupboards, or
    - - (4) Located more than 1.7 m (5 ft) above the floor
    - - Permanently installed electric baseboard heaters equipped with factory-installed receptacle outlets or outlets provided as a separate assembly by the manufacturer shall be permitted as the required outlet or outlets for the wall space utilized by such permanently installed heaters. Such receptacle outlets shall not be connected to the heater circuits.
    - - - FPN: Listed baseboard heaters include instructions that may not permit their installation below receptacle outlets.
    The receptacles required by this section shall be in addition to any receptacle that is :
    (4) located more than 1.7M (5 1/2 ft) above the floor.

    So as I read it, receptacles can be placed at any height. Just can't count the ones above 5.5 ft to meet the basic minimum number requried.

    So had all the receptacles been installed at more than 5.5 feet, then there would not be enough receptacles to meet the minimum required.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    The receptacles required by this section shall be in addition to any receptacle that is :
    (4) located more than 1.7M (5 1/2 ft) above the floor.

    So as I read it, receptacles can be placed at any height. Just can't count the ones above 5.5 ft to meet the basic minimum number requried.
    Correct.

    Some receptacles high up on a wall may be for: refrigerator, clock, TV, security systems (found in many closets up near the top of the door), above-cabinet lights, etc.

    Just not allowed to count those over 5-1/2 feet above the floor as being a receptacle to meet the required spacing.

    Think how weird it would look, and how inconvenient it would be, to have all the receptacles if all the receptacles were at 5 feet 5 inches above the floor? Allowed? Yes. Convenient? No.

    So had all the receptacles been installed at more than 5.5 feet, then there would not be enough receptacles to meet the minimum required.
    Would not even take "all" the receptacles at that height to not meet the spacing requirements, just one of the required receptacles being that height would make it wrong.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    The receptacles required by this section shall be in addition to any receptacle that is :
    (4) located more than 1.7M (5 1/2 ft) above the floor.

    So as I read it, receptacles can be placed at any height. Just can't count the ones above 5.5 ft to meet the basic minimum number requried.

    So had all the receptacles been installed at more than 5.5 feet, then there would not be enough receptacles to meet the minimum required.
    210.52, -18" to +66".

    Floor receptacles within 18" of the wall are counted in the required general purpose receptacles.
    Wall unswitched general purpose receptacles not otherwise obstructed or covered for accessiblilty and within 66" from the floor are counted.

    Reasons general purpose receptacles may be higher than customary are usually design decisions. Factors contributing may include ACCESSIBILITY, furniture placement (esp. for GFCI type and AFCI type receptacles, as well as furniture placed along or adjacent to the wall such as bedding, etc.), structure of the wall (such as stud walls upon masonry half-walls, etc.), support beams or columns within the walls, i.e. masonry or concrete walls, reinforcement, etc. the routing path of the supply circuit (such as receptacle drops from ceiling/wall area above, etc.) unfinished areas, floor drains, proximity to grade, storage areas, flood elevations, etc. interrupting factors within/upon/adjacent to the perimeter walls/dividers/partitions in question (installed cabinetry, bookcases, windows, doors, entryways, fixtures, appliances, dedicated or special use receptacles, etc.) Travel pathways, egress travel, etc. There are myriad other factors which may influence, which may include "child proofing" or keeping same out-of-reach (and those items powered by those general purpose receptacles) out-of-reach from smaller children, pets (such as pulling or snagging on cords, plugs/caps, wallwarts, power supplies, chewing, etc.), canes, wheel chairs, walkers snagging, visually impaired, etc.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    Examples of accessible wall outlets switches and controls in/upon walls height above floor or ground heights unobstructed forward or side access re: Fair Housing Act, Hud Sect 504, Rehab Act of 73, etc.. In those cases floor receptacles and those lower or higher are not prohibitted, they simply 'don't count' towards the accessibility requirements. Local rules may further heighten the minimum and lower the maximum height.

    This generally applies to first occupancy post 1991 July, multi family, first floor units accessible from ground level or all units if any elevator is present, if applicable funding for building, renting, purchasing is availble post 1988, or first occupancy was on/after july 1991 and permits issued after a date set (don't remember exact) in 1990 may have been June. Reasonable accomodation for pre-existing rules apply.

    Minimum height 15" Max Height 48" for adults.

    See Attached pdf based upon Chapter 5.


    Current Guidelines regarding facilities designed for access by children further restrict based upon age:

    Adult forward unobstructed reach shall be 48" maximum and the low forward reach shll be 15" minimum above the finish floor or ground.
    Children ages 9-12 forward unobstructed reach 44" maximum and 16" minimum above the finish floor or ground.
    Children ages 5-8 forward unobstructed reach 40" maximum and 18" minimum above the finish floor or ground.
    Children Ages 3 and 4 forward or side reach 36" maximum and 20" minimum above the finish floor or ground.

    Such guidelines are found in the various published by the board established by fed regulations and with input from the designated agencies chrged with administering rules for same and in conjunction with the US DOJ.

    further info may be found at ADA.gov homepage FH Accessibility First - HUD and other locations.

    HTH.

    Attached Files Attached Files

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    210.52 is based on an empty room for receptacle spacing. It does not say anything about possible future furniture placement. Once again someone thinks the code means things it clearly does not.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    210.52 is based on an empty room for receptacle spacing. It does not say anything about possible future furniture placement. Once again someone thinks the code means things it clearly does not.
    "Someone" opining about what another "someone" 'must' "think" "THE code" means doesn't themselves THINK, READ or COMPREHEND well, he completely misses the qualifying introduction to the paragraph which read:

    "Reasons general purpose receptacles may be higher than customary are usually design decisions."



    And in the case of dwelling units, more than "ONE" ("the code") code and code section applies under a multitude of circumstances. "The Code" (NEC) is not a DESIGN rule.

    "THE code" an unammended model code Port refers to actually does defer to a host of conditions. Depending on the edition (unammended) one refers to will determine the requirements or not to have wall outlets where occupied by built-ins, and the READILY ACCESSIBLE access as to GFCI and AFCI devices. Port's CODE doesn't prohibit the more restrictive placement of occasional use receptacle outlets that OTHER codes may and THE CODE to which he refers has further restrictions which may or may not apply.

    Multifamily post '91 construction and the FHAct (Fair Housing Act) 504, may well step into play regarding accessibility requirements for a percentage/portion of units upon occasion as well as ADAAG, and specific use and design factors covered in OTHER codes, and of course DESIGN PREFERENCES, and rules regarding specific use/applications adopted locally (formerly), and the unknown history at the property such as the possibiity of formerly present baseboard heat, etc. which may have effected the design choice or former restrictive condition as to height of presently located wall receptacles. There are as stated previously myriad possibilities as to the selection of height of wall receptacles which can include the nature of the construction, cost of implementation, preference, design choice, accessibility, placement of furniture, prior or future installed countertops/cabinets, and accessibility or non-accessibility by infants/toddlers/pets to name a few.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    210.52, -18" to +66".

    Floor receptacles within 18" of the wall are counted in the required general purpose receptacles.
    Wall unswitched general purpose receptacles not otherwise obstructed or covered for accessiblilty and within 66" from the floor are counted.
    Again, 210.52 does not say anything about receptacles behind furniture or under furniture that was not there when the receptacles were installed. A receptacle behind a couch or behind the headboard still counts towards the spacing requirements.

    Like I said above, the code does not say what some people think it does.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Again, 210.52 does not say anything about receptacles behind furniture or under furniture that was not there when the receptacles were installed. A receptacle behind a couch or behind the headboard still counts towards the spacing requirements.

    Like I said above, the code does not say what some people think it does.
    A receptacle in a the back or inside a built-in doesn't count; neither does one in a niche above a fireplace or built-in bookcase count, even if its elevation is below 66" from the floor, it is no longer a wall outlet. You inserted the design decision comments to a qualified statement made earlier. Your import regarding furniture was not expressed, and "thought of" only by you.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    That's odd I quoted your post where you talked about obstructions and access to the receptacles. Want to try again?

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    Jim to Watson:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Want to try again?
    Jim,

    No use debating Watson, whatever he makes up - he will defend to the death.

    Sometimes it is just best to let him beat the thread to death and re-confirm to all that he just likes to see himself post without regard to the contents of his posts ... other than ... the longer the post are the better (in his view).

    I can rest assured that there will be multiple posts from Watson defending himself that the above is incorrect ... and in doing so he will have confirmed it is correct.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    I just didn't want someone to get the wrong idea from some things posted here and have it lead to confusion when doing an inspection. I do agree that we will probably see more posts where everyone else is always wrong.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I just didn't want someone to get the wrong idea from some things posted here and have it lead to confusion when doing an inspection.
    Same reason I do, but it does get tiring at times to do so.

    I do agree that we will probably see more posts where everyone else is always wrong.
    Yep. He's probably fuming already ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    If you needed to consider furniture placement when installing receptacles there would either need to be a bus duct arrangement with moveable receptacles or install them even 2' or so so that the access and spacing can be maintained regardless of furniture placement. Furniture manufacturers would need to stop making sectionals that take up so much wall space so as to not block the access to the receptacles. Maybe they could add accessible receptacles in the armrests?

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Min/Max receptacle height above floor?

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    210.52, -18" to +66".

    Floor receptacles within 18" of the wall are counted in the required general purpose receptacles.
    Wall unswitched general purpose receptacles not otherwise obstructed or covered for accessiblilty and within 66" from the floor are counted.

    .
    quoted just to show where the comment about furniture and accessibility came from. Article 210.52 does not have the same conditions that you imposed.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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