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Old 04-19-2011, 09:01 PM   #1
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Covering an electric outlet with cabinets


I am installing a closet system in a customers home. I have a hutch (Cabinet with shelves and drawers below) that the customer wants to have installed in front of an electric outlet. The outlet will only be accessible by removing the drawers as the hutch is secured to the wall and flush with the wall. The drawers are 2 inches shallower then the supporting hutch. The customer wants to run an extension cord to the outlet and pull it out of a grommet hole we would install in the shelf above the bank of drawers and place a power strip on the shelf.
I assume this a NEC violation according to rule 370-29 Conduit Bodies, Junction, Pull and Outlet Boxes to Be Accessible. (Is this the correct code that supports not blocking outlet boxes)

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George

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Old 04-19-2011, 09:48 PM   #2
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Covering an electric outlet with cabinets


hmmmmm - I'll let the pros weigh in but my gut tells me that it's probably ok. It's no less accessible that one behind the door in a crowded cupboard. PROS?

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Old 04-19-2011, 09:59 PM   #3
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Covering an electric outlet with cabinets


Where I'm from (Canada), that's a no no. If the cabinet is permanent (fixed), then it's like a covered junction box - verboten.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:22 PM   #4
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Covering an electric outlet with cabinets


Power strips get plugged into outlets all the time. Whether it is code to plug one into an outlet you can no longer access once the shelving is in place is another matter. Inspectors here would make me move the outlet.

As a practical matter, what if that receptacle goes bad? Or the power strip fails? How is your client going to reach it if you do not move it now?

Last edited by user1007; 04-19-2011 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:37 PM   #5
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Covering an electric outlet with cabinets


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Power strips get plugged into outlets all the time. Whether it is code to plug one into an outlet you can no longer access once the shelving is in place is another matter. Inspectors here would make me move the outlet.

As a practical matter, what if that receptacle goes bad? Or the power strip fails? How is your client going to reach it if you do not move it now?
They would have to remove the drawers to get to the outlet.

I am looking to quote a NEC code that would state this is a no no.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:41 PM   #6
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Covering an electric outlet with cabinets


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Originally Posted by Georgejc View Post
They would have to remove the drawers to get to the outlet.
Sorry forgot that. If the socks are not on fire from an arc or something.
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:02 PM   #7
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Covering an electric outlet with cabinets


its no no because the code says that flexible cords are not to be used in place of wiring. It would also violate the plug spacing rule as this is fixed in place furniture. The right thin to do would be to install a plug on both sides
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Old 04-20-2011, 02:52 AM   #8
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Covering an electric outlet with cabinets


I see no reason it would violate the NEC. It is considered accessible if it can be used and/or repaired without deconstructing part of the building. Assuming the drawers are removable without destruction, that's OK. It's no different than installing a receptacle behind an access panel, or under a hot tub where you have to remove part of the skirt. Receptacles are installed in cabinets all the time to supply specific devices (like cabinet lighting transformers, microwaves, battery chargers, etc.). The extension cord is allowable in this installation because it is not permanent (it can be unplugged any time) and isn't actually substituting for permanent wiring, it's just the most convenient way to use the receptacle.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:08 AM   #9
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Covering an electric outlet with cabinets


Installing the open back cabinet over the receptacle is not a problem. The receptacle is still accessible if the drawer is removed. No different than a receptacle behind a fridge or dishwasher.

Drilling the hole and running the power bar doesn't sound wrong but I'm not 100% sure on that.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:22 AM   #10
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Covering an electric outlet with cabinets


An inspector may or may not approve of this, depending upon how his conversation with his wife went that morning over coffee.
Hard to call that one.

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Old 04-20-2011, 12:30 PM   #11
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Covering an electric outlet with cabinets


Had a sort of similar issue with a hotel that had wall-mounted headboards that were essentially permanent, but technically removable since they hung on cleats. They had lamps built into them, and they intended to plug them into receptacles behind the headboard. The total prick of an electrical inspector (he was notorious) attempted to fail this installation, claiming that the receptacles would not be accessible and the cord and plug were substituting for permanent wiring. We appealed and won.
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:39 PM   #12
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Covering an electric outlet with cabinets


Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturday Cowboy View Post
its no no because the code says that flexible cords are not to be used in place of wiring. It would also violate the plug spacing rule as this is fixed in place furniture. The right thin to do would be to install a plug on both sides
Receptacle spacing does not apply to closet spaces.
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:46 PM   #13
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i was under the impression that this was not in a closet. I still think it is a violation. But I don't have code book at hand
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:11 PM   #14
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Covering an electric outlet with cabinets


Quote:
Originally Posted by brric View Post
Receptacle spacing does not apply to closet spaces.
In most case they genrally don't count the closet area even with huge walkin we will put in at least one or so receptales there so it kinda common to do that but to readers keep in your mind some inspectors may frown on that so run by them first before you do that route.

I Know in France we can do that but it have to be shuttered powerpoints { TR recetpatle }

Saturday Cowboy ., If the cabents or hutches are not covering up the receptale and it should not have issue but the issue is the repectale inside the cabent or huntches that is a iffy depending on what they will plan to do with it.

But to run extendison cord to the recpetale is genrally not the best idea anyway.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:40 PM   #15
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Covering an electric outlet with cabinets


This is a large walk in closet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturday Cowboy View Post
i was under the impression that this was not in a closet. I still think it is a violation. But I don't have code book at hand

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