Power Outlets in Closet

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Old 06-08-11, 07:46 AM
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Power Outlets in Closet

Is it acceptable to put power receptacles in a closet? I'd like to add receptacles to our coat closet and pantry to charge dust buster like vacuums and receptacles in a walk-in clothes closet to power phone chargers and maybe a cable box.

Does the NEC have a problem with this?

Thanks!
 
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Old 06-08-11, 08:17 AM
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My house back in VA had outlets just like you mention, one in the coat closet in the entry and the other in the pantry in the kitchen. Built in 1990. Not sure if they would be considered GP or if they would need GFCI? Mine were just GP receptacles...
 
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Old 06-08-11, 10:03 AM
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A general-purpose receptacle is allowed in a coat closet powered from any general-purpose circuit. A receptacle would be allowed in a pantry, but by code it would need to be part of a small-appliance branch circuit (20A circuit that powers only receptacles in the kitchen, dining or pantry).
 
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Old 06-08-11, 10:12 AM
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Ben....do you know how they classify pantry? I mean..a butlers pantry (that you can walk into and actually do some prep work) is different from a storage pantry (smaller than a coat closet) where you just place canned food, dry goods, or similar. Just wondering....
 
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Old 06-08-11, 10:41 AM
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The language in the code (art. 210.52) is, "In the kitchen, pantry, breakfast room, dining room, or similar area of a dwelling unit...". I suspect you're probably right that they meant a butler's pantry where food prep is actually done, but pantry can certainly mean food storage also. Any more interpretation would be up to the inspector.
 
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Old 06-08-11, 10:57 AM
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That's what I figured, thanks....
 
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Old 06-08-11, 11:11 AM
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My take on what they mean by pantry would be just that. A butler's pantry is something different. A traditional pantry is a walk in closet that could easily handle large appliances. In the old house I lived in as a child, our refrigerator was in the pantry until my father renovated the kitchen.
 
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Old 06-08-11, 11:21 AM
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Ugh.

This is good information but not exactly what I was hoping to hear.

The pantry has a wall on the right that is a transition from the living room to the kitchen, the back of the pantry is part of the living room, the left side is an exterior wall, and the front is a door (of course).

I have two potential places I could tap into power from:

1. There are light switches on the right side wall that I could draw power from but I know that it's a 15 amp lighting circuit from previous work I've done. The light switches only control lighting in the kitchen.

2. There is a receptacle in the living room on the back side of the pantry - pretty much exactly where I would want an outlet inside the pantry.

Soooo... It sounds like by NEC standards, I couldn't really use any of those circuits because option 1 isn't GFCI protected or 20 amp (although I suppose I could put an GFCI receptacle inside the pantry).

Is it permissible to extend my 15 amp lighting circuit to a GFCI receptacle inside the pantry?

Option 2, even though it's the easiest and most ideal sounds like it's against code. Too bad.

In the other two closets (clothes closets), should I install a AFCI receptacle rather than a standard receptacle or am I just overthinking this?



Thanks for the advice, guys.
 
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Old 06-08-11, 11:22 AM
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In my house I have a walk-in pantry for food storage but the previous owner (or perhaps previous to them) had "installed" a microwave oven. It was a very poor "install" as someone had simply cut a hole in the drywall (above a built-in bookcase on the other side) and set a board in to set the MW on and then they had drilled an additional hole in the box for the light switch and tied into the lighting circuit for power. All I could do is shake my head.

I built a proper box and properly installed it in the hole and ran a new circuit for the newly placed receptacle. Funny thing is that now that there is a proper place and proper power all I use the shelf/box for is to hold a plastic three-drawer organizer and my pancake griddle.
 
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Old 06-08-11, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jfinn View Post
1. There are light switches on the right side wall that I could draw power from but I know that it's a 15 amp lighting circuit from previous work I've done. The light switches only control lighting in the kitchen.
Make sure there is actually power at the switch before seriously considering this option. If the switch just has a switch leg or a traveler set then you cannot get power from the switch because there aren't enough wires installed.

Soooo... It sounds like by NEC standards, I couldn't really use any of those circuits
Well, it's really up to the determination of "pantry". If this will be a permitted and inspected job, I would certainly pitch the argument to the inspector that this is obviously only a storage area, not food prep, so the pantry closet could be safely exempted from the SABC requirement.

I would probably install a GFCI receptacle in any case, $15 is cheap protection.
 
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Old 06-08-11, 07:43 PM
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You would need an afci breaker for the clothes closet, not an afci receptacle.
 
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