What is the code requirement for receptacle outlets in a closet?

Friday, February 15, 2019

  • Closets are not included in the list of rooms that are required to have receptacle outlets in the International Residential Code (IRC) and the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC E3901.2).

    An identical list of rooms requiring general purpose receptacle outlets is at 210.52(A) in the National Electrical Code (NEC), which also does not include a closet. Although it might be argued that a closet falls under the category of “or other similar room,” the NEC defines a clothes closet as “a non-habitable room or space intended primarily for storage of garments or apparel;” so a closet is not similar to the other rooms listed because it is non-habitable.

    Other citations in the codes address requirements for the garage, bathroom, hallway, foyer, and exterior of a home, but no mention of a closet—except that if one is installed, it must be AFCI-protected [NEC 210.12(B)]. 

    So a receptacle outlet is not required, but we sometimes see one in a larger walk-in closet at a master bedroom as a convenience for things like a clothes steamer, iron, alarm system, or dehumidifier. Also, a very large walk-in closet designed to be used as a dressing room would be a habitable room and likely require receptacle(s) to serve the habitable area.

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

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

What is the code requirement for receptacle outlets in a foyer?

Is a house required to have outdoor electric receptacle outlets? 

How far apart should electric receptacle outlets be placed in a garage?

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

How far apart should the electrical receptacles be placed? 

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

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

 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? 

 When should I replace electric receptacle outlets? 

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

How far apart should kitchen counter receptacles be spaced?  

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

 Does a washing machine receptacle outlet require GFCI protection?

 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?

 Does a home inspector remove receptacle outlet cover plates?

 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 I can tell if a receptacle outlet is tamper resistant?

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

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

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

 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? 

 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.

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