Doityourself.com's forums feature 250,000+ expert and novice discussions in over 120 categories, so we highlight popular chats to help with related projects. This transcript has been lightly edited.
Original Post: electrical outlet height
Guest - Visiting Guest
Can someone tell me if there is any electrical code stating how high up from the floor an electrical outlet (120v) must be. Does ADA have anything to do with it. This is for a basement remodel. Thanks
JuiceHead - Member
I am not aware of any NEC requirements for minimum height. Under specified circumstances they even permit them to be floor-mounted. There are certain restrictions for maximum height, such as 18" above countertops, or 6-1/2' above grade outdoors. But no minimum as far as I know.
As far as ADA, I couldn't tell you.
For new work I should tell you that horizontal spacing does have specific requirements, intended mainly to reduce the need for extension cords I believe, since many people have no sense at all when it comes to how many gizmos can be plugged into a 16 gauge, triple tap cord, or what exactly constitutes a tripping hazard. NEC says there should be no greater distance, measured along the wall (including around corners) than 6' to any receptacle. In other words, if you have a recep every 12', no plug-in device you place anywhere in the room should need a cord longer than 6' to reach the recep.
The NEC also says thet "inasfar as possible" spacing should be equal between receptacles. You may go 6' in both directions from the edges of a doorway even though adding the width of that doorway makes the space between those two greater than 12'. I guess the thinking there is that you aren't going to put a floor lamp im the middle of a doorway so that the cord will have to reach farther than 6'!
Problem with the NEC sometimes is that if something isn't specifically required or prohibited you could read all 618 pages and never find it mentioned before you realize that the NEC doesn't care about it. And then you doubt yourself and believe you may have skipped it, so you read through all 618 pages again. This could go on for a month under the right circumstances, and then you still don't find any mention of what you're looking for a ruling on!
Generally speaking, most receptacles are installed so the bottom of the outlet box is approx. 16" above finished floor. Generally.
Hope that helps.
thinman - Member
Use a standard 16 oz. straight claw hammer for receptacle height. This puts the bottom of the outlet box about 13" above the floor.
For light switches, go 42" to the bottom of the switchbox.
For counter top receptacles/switches go 46" to the bottom of the box. Thanks.
Wgoodrich - Visiting Guest
There is no minimum height concerning inside a dwelling. Even if a receptacle is mounted in the floor with an approved floor receptacle device and within 18" of the wall this receptacle is allowed to serve the requirments of the 6'/12' rule found in 210-52 for living areas.
Now there is a maximum height allowed and still use a receptacle in a living area meeting the 6'/12' rule found in 210-52. That maximum height is 5'6" above the floor as a maximum height for a receptacle to be used meeting the 6'/12' rule.
thinman is saying an accepted practice, he is pointing out the height of conter areas, good idea to listen so that the receptacles and switches don't land behind the back splash of the counter area. Juice is right about the 18" maximum above a counter plus there is a maximum below a counter to serve the counter area of 12" yet the receptacle is only allowed below the counter area if nowhere is available above the counter area.
Hope this helps!
DIY123 - Member
According to IFMA, the minimum height allowable of an electrical outlet according to the ADA is 15".
hollett4704 - Member
In Canada it's 14" to center min. You can mount it higher if you wish.
chandler - Former Member
I hope sometime in the past seven years, the OP was able to get his problem solved. Check the dates on the posts.
joed - Member
"In Canada it's 14" to center min. you can mount it higher if you wish."
Can you give me code reference for this. The only thing I could find in my 1998 code book states if they are above 1.7 m then they don't count for the required receptacles along a wall.
french277V - Member
That's true, it's pretty old thread but i was going to lock it out but somehow I think I will leave it open for now because it will be a good reminder with some reader related to the ADA requirement kinda like refresher in case someone forgot about it or not thinking ahead of the time.
Joed for the NEC it almost parallel with it but it fall in both NEC and IBC so it should be very similar what you have in your area.