What is the minimum number of receptacle outlets required in a house?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The total number varies, of course, based on the size of the house. But here are the minimums for each area, per National Electrical Code (NEC 210.50):

• One receptacle at front and back of house exterior, not more than 6.5-feet above grade [210.52(E)]

• Receptacles in "every kitchen, family room, dining room, living room, parlor, library, den, sunroom, bedroom, recreation room, or similar room" must be located so that no point along any wall that has an unbroken length of 2-feet or more is more than 6-feet from a receptacle [210.52(A)(1)].

• Kitchen wall countertop receptacles must be located so that no point along the counter is more than 2-feet from a receptacle. Minimum one receptacle for each peninsula or island countertop. For more details, go to our blog post How far apart should the electrical receptacles be placed? Two dedicated 20-amp circuits are required to serve the kitchen, pantry, breakfast room, dining room, or similar areas [210.52(B)].

• One receptacle for hallway that is 10-feet or longer [210.52(H)].

• One receptacle within 3-feet of each bathroom sink [210.52(D)].

• One receptacle in laundry area for laundry equipment [210.52(F)]

• Foyers that are not part of a hallway and more 60 square feet must have a receptacle on each wall more than 3-feet in width

• Balconies, decks, or porches that are accessible from inside the home must have one receptacle {210.52(E)(3)].

• One receptacle for each vehicle bay in a garage [210.52(G)(1)].

• One receptacle in each unfinished basement [210.52(G)(3)]

• One receptacle for servicing any heating, air conditioning, or refrigeration equipment, located within 25-feet of each unit.

    Floor receptacles do no count towards these requirements. Also, receptacles in wet areas, such as exterior, kitchen, garage, and bathrooms, must have GFCI protection. See our blog post Where are GFCI receptacle outlets required? for more details. For the locations and timeline for where AFCI protection is required for receptacles, go to our blog post When did arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breakers first become required? 

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

  To learn more about electrical wiring, devices, and receptacles, see these other blog posts:

 • What is the difference between what trips a GFCI (ground fault) receptacle and a circuit breaker?

What is the code requirement for GFCI protection for receptacles near a wet bar sink? 

What is the requirement for a service receptacle outlet for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HACR) equipment? 

Why is an opening in the wall around the side of an electrical receptacle outlet a safety defect?  

When was GFCI-protection for kitchen dishwasher receptacle outlet first required? 

What is allowable voltage range at a wall receptacle outlet in a house?

When should I replace electric receptacle outlets? 

Does an electric receptacle outlet in a storage shed require GFCI protection? 

What are "self-contained" electrical receptacle outlets and switches?

What is the difference between an electrical receptacle, an outlet, and a plug?

Does a washing machine receptacle outlet require GFCI protection?

What is the building code requirement for receptacle outlets at stairs and stair landings?

Can I remove a 240-volt range receptacle and hard-wire the range? 

What is a "backstab" receptacle outlet? 

Why are some electric receptacle outlets upside down (ground slot up) in a house?   

What is the height requirement for an electric receptacle outlet? 

Where are GFCI receptacle outlets required?

When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required?

 Does a home inspector remove receptacle outlet cover plates?

What is the minimum height for an exterior receptacle outlet? 

When was the current receptacle/outlet spacing of 12-feet first required? 

When was the three-slot (grounding) outlet/receptacle first required? 

Why does painting an electric receptacle (outlet) make it unsafe?

Why are electrical outlets and plugs polarized? 

How many electrical receptacles (outlets) are required in a hallway?  

What problems does having too many electric receptacle outlets on a single circuit cause? 

Is a house required to have outdoor electric receptacle outlets?

How I can tell if a receptacle outlet is tamper resistant?

Why is there a GFCI breaker in the electric panel for the bathroom shower light and exhaust fan?

What is a false ground, bootleg ground, or cheated ground receptacle? 

How can adding wood paneling or a wainscot create an electrical safety hazard?

How can I figure out what a mystery wall switch does?

How far above a kitchen countertop do electrical outlets have to be?

What is reversed polarity at an outlet/receptacle? Why is it dangerous? 

How high above the floor do electric outlets/receptacles in a garage have to be?

How far apart should electric receptacles be spaced in a bathroom? 

Is an ungrounded electric receptacle outlet dangerous?

My bathroom electric receptacle/outlet is dead and there are no tripped breakers in the electric panel. What's wrong?  

Is there an adapter that can be placed on a two-slot receptacle to make it safe? 

How do the new tamper-resistant electric outlets work?

Why is there no bathroom electric receptacle in this old house?

How can I tell if the electric receptacle outlets are grounded? 

How far apart should the electrical receptacles be placed?

What are the most common problems/defects found with electric receptacle outlets during a home inspection?

   Visit our ELECTRICAL page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactued and modular homes

(placeholder)

Search

This

Site

Search

This

Site

Attics

Air Conditioner & Furnace Age

AFCI, CAFCI, DFCI, & GFCI

Bathrooms

Aging in Place

Appliances

Click Below  

for Links to Collections

of Blog Posts

by Subject

Cracks

Doors and Windows

Electrical

Energy Efficiency

Fireplaces and Chimneys

Heating and Air Conditioning

Home Inspection

Hurricane Resistance

Electric Receptacle Outlets

Electric Panels

Garages and Carports

Common Problems

Exterior Walls & Structures

Insulation

Insurance

Life Expectancy

Mobile/Manufactured Homes

Older and Historic Houses

Mold, Lead & Other Contaminants

Modular Homes

Metal Roofs

Plumbing

Radon

Pool and Spa

Roof and Attic

Remodeling

Safety

Site

"Should I Buy A..."

Stairs

Termites, Wood Rot & Pests

Structure and Rooms

Wells

Water Heaters

Water Heater Age

Septic Tank Systems

Plumbing Pipes

Sinkholes

When It First Became Code

Park Model Homes

Shingle Roofs

Stucco

Wind Mitigation Form

"Does A Home

Inspector...?"

"What Is The Difference Between..."

Brick

Concrete and Concrete Block

Foundations

4-Point Inspections

Rain Gutters

Condominiums

Crawl Spaces

Building Permits

Clay Soil

Floors

Toilets

Generators

HUD-Code for Mobile Homes

Flat Roofs

Sprinkler Systems

4-Point Inspections

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Building Codes

Inspector Licensing

& Standards