How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

Does a kitchen island counter require a electrical outlet by code?

Sunday, December 26, 2021

“At least one receptacle shall be installed at each island countertop space with a long dimension of 600 mm (24 inches) or greater and a short dimension of 300 mm (12 inches) or greater,” per National Electrical Code [NEC 210.52 (C)(2)]. But an island counter that is not secured and readily moveable is furniture and does not require an outlet.

    So only one receptacle, no matter what the size of the island, was all that was required up until the 2020 edition of the NEC. Now one receptacle is required within the first 9 feet of length, and an additional receptacle for each additional 18 square feet, or fraction thereof, after that.

    Another code requirement specifes that the island receptacle "cannot be more than 300 mm (12 inches) below the countertop, and only where the countertop extends out 150 mm (6 inches) or less," per NEC 210.52 (C)(5)(Exception 2). 

    Also, if you want a receptacle on the counter surface, only listed pop-up receptacles can be installed (no face-up receptacles), per NEC 406.5 (G). To learn more about pop-up receptacles, see our blog post Can a receptacle outlet be mounted face-up (horizontally) on a countertop?


    And, of course, all receptacles serving a kitchen countertop must be GFCI-protected. 

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

  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?

Why are electrical outlets and plugs polarized? 

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 apart should kitchen counter receptacles be spaced?  

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.

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