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  1. #1
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    Question Minimum height for garage receptacles

    I thought that there was a minimum height requirement for garage receptacles due to the possibility of sparks igniting flammable vapors such as gasoline.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    If they were under 18" high above the floor, I always wrote them up (the few time I found them, usually for the water heater recirculation pump) for that reason.

    There is only one code which addresses receptacles being below the 18" elevation of ignition source threshold - the code of common sense.

    We've all seen arced and burned up plugs and receptacles, that means they were creating an ignition source at those times.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    There is only one code which addresses receptacles being below the 18" elevation of ignition source threshold - the code of common sense.

    That's great for casual discussion...

    However, if you want a answer that is backed by written codes, then the answer is "No minimum height is required."

    Dom.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    That's great for casual discussion...

    However, if you want a answer that is backed by written codes, then the answer is "No minimum height is required."

    Dom.
    It is great for more than casual discussion ...

    If you want to hang you minimum hat on minimum code, then do so.

    If you want to provide the best service you can for your clients, you will also advise them of items which are not addressed by code, code is the crappiest one is legally allowed to build to, and unless you are willing to accept the crappiest house legally allowed, you will not let "code" stop you from suggesting or recommending "common sense" items.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    If you want to hang you minimum hat on minimum code, then do so.

    Ah, so now the question isn't "what is code", it is "what should I interpret..."

    I read the question as it was written. You of all people can appreciate the exactness of the building code-- you've been quoting the exact verbiage for years. There's a time and place for both precision, and for interpretation.

    You can spin your "common sense" tale all day long, it won't play when push comes to shove. As written, "There is no minimum".

    Dom.


  6. #6
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    You may inspect on code but I do not know anyone that keeps the code books with them when inspecting and flip the page open to that exact code. Fact is you can get a spark/arc from a receptacle for any number of reasons. You can and usually do have flammable substances/gasses in a garage. 18 inches is the common found height to be relatively safe. I with out any further thought advise my clients that even though there is "no minimum" it would be advisable to have them at least 18 inches off of the floor.

    Common sense??? My opinion is everything we inspect comes to common sense, code or not. You as an inspector are a generalist if the tag on you is home inspector no matter how technical you want to be. The first thing that comes to mind is common sense about something not looking quite right. With out common sense one has no sense.

    Trent the reason you thought there was a minimum was because of your common sense. Everything came together in your mind and said "something just ain't right with that". Good common sense, good logic and if you suggested to your clients for their safety to move them up, good call.

    Ted
    Just my opinion


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    You may inspect on code but I do not know anyone that keeps the code books with them when inspecting and flip the page open to that exact code.

    Plenty of HI's here do exactly that, or keep the codes handy for reference while completing the report. Your mileage may vary...

    Dom.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    Ah, so now the question isn't "what is code", it is "what should I interpret..."
    No, the question is 'when it is not addressed by the code, what is common sense in application.

    Being as it is not addressed, there is not "interpretation".

    I read the question as it was written. You of all people can appreciate the exactness of the building code-- you've been quoting the exact verbiage for years. There's a time and place for both precision, and for interpretation.
    I do appreciate the codes exactness when it is there, however, as stated, many items are simply *NOT COVERED*, and as such have no "interpretation", nonetheless, that does not make something safe (because it was not covered).

    Code is, after all, and as I stated ... the crappiest one is legally allowed to build ... *MINIMUM* ... do you have something against doing things better than ... *MINIMUM* ... ???

    You can spin your "common sense" tale all day long, it won't play when push comes to shove. As written, "There is no minimum".
    When "push comes to shove", and that receptacle causes an explosion, you can bet your booty that it will be deemed to 'have been too low' and that 'it should not have been that low', followed by the typical 'who did not point it out to you' ...

    We are not talking about "WHAT IS WRITTEN", we are talking about " *SAFE* ".

    From the IRC: (underlining is mine)
    R101.3 Purpose.
    The purpose of this code is to provide minimum requirements to safeguard the public safety, health and general welfare through affordability, structural strength, means of egress facilities, stability, sanitation, light and ventilation, energy conservation and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment.

    Now, you can correct me if I am wrong, but I see NOTHING in there which states that anyone is prohibited from mentioning something other than (above/more than/etc.) "MINIMUM".



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    You sure love to babble on, when there is really nothing to say, except

    "There is no minimum"... concerning this installation.


    Everything else is, simply, your opinion; not "Code".

    Your own ideas may (or may not) be valid, however, they are not the Code. They are your opinion.

    Dom.


  10. #10
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    I guess you got me there. I do check the codes when I find particular concerns but only when I am done and the particular item/s of concern need checking. If I got 2000 an inspection like Mr Jerry I would be carrying a back pack around and stopping for however long it took.

    Yeah, I check codes but common sense makes me stop to take that extra look in the first place and if it is something of a safety concern for my dear paying clients I may use the term that there is no minimum "but" for you, the dear paying client, this is how I would call it and this is what I would do. I might even bring up the whole thing with water heaters for an example.

    Thanks for calling me on that even though you didn't say the words.

    Ted


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    Dom,

    You need to learn to read what people ask and reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    I thought that there was a minimum height requirement for garage receptacles due to the possibility of sparks igniting flammable vapors such as gasoline.
    Trent did not specify minimum code, but asked about a minimum height requirement, implying code.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    There is only one code which addresses receptacles being below the 18" elevation of ignition source threshold - the code of common sense.

    We've all seen arced and burned up plugs and receptacles, that means they were creating an ignition source at those times.
    I replied with the only code there was, that of common sense, and explained why it is such.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    "There is no minimum"... concerning this installation.
    Talk about babbling on, you repeated what I said, tried to turn this around to a discussion about code when it was stated that code does not mention it, and persisted, as you have been for some time now, to try to attack me for my posts.

    I don't know what I did to set you off however long ago it was, but, I must admit, I LIKE IT ... CAUSE THAT"S WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO, try to berate others posts, even though you make yourself look foolish doing so.

    Go for it man, you like, do it. BUT ... you'll have to get behind Joe B. ... wait a minute, Joe B., has backed off some hasn't he ... guess it's your job now.

    Hey DUDE - go for it.

    As Ted said "Trent the reason you thought there was a minimum was because of your common sense. Everything came together in your mind and said "something just ain't right with that". Good common sense, good logic and if you suggested to your clients for their safety to move them up, good call."

    The above deserved repeating.

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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Dom,


    ... CAUSE THAT"S WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO, try to berate others posts, even though you make yourself look foolish doing so.

    I spend 99.99% of my time here answering questions or helping others whenever possible.

    When I offer alternative views to your posts, it inevitably deteriorates into a pissing match, typically with much indignation on your part. I have learned over the years that you simply refuse to acquiese to anyone, with rare exception.

    I make no apologies for disagreeing with you.

    Dom.


  13. #13
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    Smile Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    Thanks for the feedback guys. I wish that this forum did not always have to become some kind of bickering and bitching match. People that start bickering between each other within the post is I why I do not use this forum as much I would like. I will not waste my time and effort on reading peoples long and lenghty posts that have very little to do with the topic that has been posted.


  14. #14
    Dennis Corbett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    This interpretation is the basis for a jurisdiction I used to work in to require receptacles to be a minimum of 18" above the floor.

    Gasoline vapor is an ignitable, flammable gas. It is heavier than air and accumulates at the floor, so that is the part of reasoning as to why all the plumbing codes require that burners and ignition devices of gas utilization equipment installed in residential garages be a minimum of 18" above the floor unless listed as a flammable vapor ignition resistant type.

    Referring now to the 2005 NEC, the area within 12" of the floor of a garage used for storage of vehicles with a gasoline tank can be classified as a Class I, Division 1 or 2 location. Section 501.145 of the code specifies that "receptacles and attachment plugs (installed in Class I, division 1 or 2 locations) shall be of the type providing for connection to the grounding conductor of a flexible cord and shall be identified for the location."

    A standard receptacle does not meet this requirement, and I have never seen one that does meet these requirements installed in a residential garage.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Corbett View Post
    This interpretation is the basis for a jurisdiction I used to work in to require receptacles to be a minimum of 18" above the floor.

    Gasoline vapor is an ignitable, flammable gas. It is heavier than air and accumulates at the floor, so that is the part of reasoning as to why all the plumbing codes require that burners and ignition devices of gas utilization equipment installed in residential garages be a minimum of 18" above the floor unless listed as a flammable vapor ignition resistant type.

    Referring now to the 2005 NEC, the area within 12" of the floor of a garage used for storage of vehicles with a gasoline tank can be classified as a Class I, Division 1 or 2 location. Section 501.145 of the code specifies that "receptacles and attachment plugs (installed in Class I, division 1 or 2 locations) shall be of the type providing for connection to the grounding conductor of a flexible cord and shall be identified for the location."

    A standard receptacle does not meet this requirement, and I have never seen one that does meet these requirements installed in a residential garage.

    Dennis,

    Excellent interpretation and application of it!

    Goes right along with the "code of common sense" too. (If you store gas in a garage, and an "ignition source" is and "ignition source", whether identified as such or not in code, then you should elevate the "ignition source" above the 18 inch height specified for elevation of "ignition sources".)

    Thanks.

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

  16. #16
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    Trent,

    You asked if there is a "minimum height requirement for garage receptacles". The answer to your question is that the model codes (IRC & NEC) do not specify a minimum receptacle height for residential garages. The model codes do not become a "requirement" until they are adopted into law by an individual jurisdiction, and the jurisdiction may (often does) alter the model code during the adoption process.

    The most accurate answer to your question about what is "required" would come from the AHJ that enforces the code that applies where the house is located. They may have an explicit requirement for this added to their code, or as Dennis posted, they may have issued an official interpretation.

    Having said all of that, there are plenty of good safety reasons, discussed above, for a HI to recommend that the receptacles be located more than 18 inches above the garage floor. The rationale is that the receptacle/plug connection can be an ignition source and there are other code sections (related to water heaters) that require the ignition source to be at least 18 inches off the floor.

    Hope this helps,

    Brandon

    Last edited by Brandon Chew; 06-13-2008 at 09:42 AM. Reason: fix me speeelingggg.....

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    Looks like you have some digging to do.

    The NEC only has such an implied requirement for commercial repair garages (gas stations).

    However ... if the water heater or furnace is in the garage, and it is mounted on a platform 18" above the floor .... this is a clue that the local building code requires all 'ignition sources' to be at least 18" off the floor of a garage. That's where you would infer that a receptacle was an 'ignition source.'


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Minimum height for garage receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    That's where you would infer that a receptacle was an 'ignition source.'
    No, you would infer that the receptacle is an ignition source even if the water heater were not raised.

    Just because the AHJ does not yet understand it, does not mean it is not an ignition source.

    Most AHJ do not understand atomic bombs, yet that does not mean they are not atomic bombs. Understanding and accepting have nothing to do with *is*.

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