Adding Outlet to Kitchen Island


Old 02-23-01, 06:47 AM
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I'm almost done with my kitchen remodeling and I want to add an outlet to a side of my island. I know how and where to connect the line to the existing circuit, but am wondering about the actual hardware on the island itself. Can I just use a retrofit plastic box that I use on existing drywall and staple the cable on the inside of the island, or do I need something stronger? Is conduit necessary inside since there is a chance that it could get bumped? I haven't seen what other people have done to get any ideas. Any thoughts or advice from anyone who's done this?


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Old 02-23-01, 09:40 AM
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I have "gotten away" with using romex inside a cabinet (that is, it passed inspection), but I was never really comfortable with it. I would use BX if I were to do it again.

I think the "old work" box is OK (this also passed inspection), (anyone - correct me if I'm wrong). Be sure you mount the box so that the drawers and their contents don't hit it. Cabinets with the pullout shelves are particularly tricky, since the shelf is so low it clears, but the pots and what-not you may stack on the thing will not. You may want to add a wood stop (or wedge)in front of the box to avoid the contents hitting it. A wedge will "steer" contents away from the box.
Keep the wire tucked in a back corner from top to bottom.
If you have a solid corner piece, I would recommend clamps and screws, rather than staples.
I would spot glue (hot glue) the cable in a couple of places between clamps to avoid any slack which might catch on "stuff".
You can't mount the recptacle too low on the side and your countertop can't have too much overhang, either. An appliance plugged in to this receptacle cannot use an extension cord, so the plug has to reach while the appliance is on the counter. Cords for kitchen appliances are notoriously short.
Old 02-23-01, 01:43 PM
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NEC says that you must not install a receptacle on the side of an island if that receptacle is more than 12" below the counter top, or if the counter top extends beyond the base cabinet more than 6". The question as to whether the romex inside that cabinet is subject to physical damage is a gray area as the previous reply stated. This call would really have to be up the the Electrical Inspector.

Now I have to insert my personal opinion here. Please keep in mind that this is my personal opinion and should be taken in its entrity then you do what you think is best. This is not a rule of the current 99 NEC. Past experience with the NEC is that in the 93 version the requirement of installing a receptacle on an island or penninsula required that receptacle to be there above the counter and not more than 18" above the counter top, with an exception allowing it to be mounted below the counter if there was no wall or ledge or backsplash available to mount the receptacle above that counter top. Regardless that receptacle had to be there to serve that penninsular or island.

Then in the 96 NEC the same rules applied if the receptacle could be mounted above the counter top. If the receptacle could not be mounted above the counter top on that island or penninsual then it was up to the call of the Electrical Inspector whether to require it to be mounted below the counter top. 99% of the Electrical Inspector left it up to the home owner and did not require a receptacle to be mounted if mounted below the counter top.

Now in the 99 NEC the same rules apply as the 93 NEC rules requiring that receptacle to be there to serve that island or penninsula if the island or penninsula has a long dimension of 24" or more and a Short dimension of 12" or more. Thus requiring it to be mounted below the counter if it can not be mounted above the counter.

My problem mounting on the side of a cabinet below a counter top is that if you mount that receptacle below the counter top on the side of the cabinet then you plug in a cord from a fryer, or other hot appliance, you have created a hazard that may cause a major burn on a small toddler on his head or face. Picture a cord hanging about the face level of a 2 year old plugged into a receptacle. This cord hanging below the counter top would be a perfect toy to that small child. He pulls on it and causes that fryer full of hot grease down into his face. The results would be desasterous scarring that child for life at the least.

I suggest that you look into drilling a hole in the counter top instead of through the side of the cabinet. Then clicking in a closable grommet usually found in the newer desks to allow cords to drop below the desk to plug in below that desk. Then mount a receptacle just inside you cabinet. This would elmiminate that hazard of harming a small playful Child.

Sorry for the concern, have a freind that was scarred this way when he was 5 years old, still scarred today after several surgery attempts.

Good luck

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