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Any issues with outlets on ceiling of unfinished basement?

Any issues with outlets on ceiling of unfinished basement?


Old 06-20-05, 08:49 AM
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Any issues with outlets on ceiling of unfinished basement?

Are there any issues with installing an outlet on the exposed floor joists of an unfinished basement ceiling? (Aside from gravity issues.) I've seen this in some basements, but don't know if it is really permitted.

What about if you need to keep a transformer "brick" plugged in? I've heard of those bricks overheating and catching fire. Doing this near drywall is one thing... but doing it right next to exposed wood floor joists seems like it would be more risky.

Is an outlet mounted on the side of a joist (facing the next joist instead of down at the floor) permitted?

Finally, while we're on this... is it permitted to install an outlet on the side of the open stairway to the basement?
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Old 06-20-05, 10:08 AM
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It's okay as long as the floor joists remain open. If you cover them up with either drywall or a drop ceiling, you won't be able to leave it there.

A properly installed and functioning and used transformer will not overheat and catch fire. Be careful not to overload it.

And yes, you can make the receptacle face sideways if you want, and you can also mount one on the stairway studs.
Old 06-20-05, 03:30 PM
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Hi John,

When I built my house I finished a part of the basement and installed recessed duplex outlets in the ceiling to plug shop lights into. These outlets are switched so I can turn them on and off.

This was 15 years ago and the inspector didn't have any problem with it. Have I done something wrong?
Old 06-20-05, 03:30 PM
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What about a home theater installation where a projector is mounted on the ceiling - do you mean a person can't have an outlet in a finished ceiling? What is the alternative solution you would recommend?

Old 06-21-05, 09:42 AM
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What John meant was that ceiling outlets cannot be covered by a finished ceiling. The outlet must remain accessible. So in the future if you finish a ceiling that has receptacles, you must either cut holes in the drywall and properly mount receptacles through the finished surface or remove them from the ceiling joists before putting drywall up.

The same rule applies to any other sort of electrical junction box.
Old 06-21-05, 10:40 AM
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The rules for receptacles are more restrictive than the rules for junction boxes. Receptacles must be more than accessible. They also must be visible. It's not really a restriction on the receptacle, but a restriction on the cord and plug (i.e., a non-visible but accessible receptacle is fine if you never plug anything into it, but then what's the point).

There is absolutely nothing long with a ceiling receptacle, whether on a finished or unfinished ceiling. But when you stand on the floor and look up, you should be able to see it (without removing a drop ceiling tile).

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