All the IRC says is: E3901.7 Outdoor outlets. At least one receptacle outlet that is accessible while standing at grade level and located not more than 6 feet, 6 inches (1981 mm) above grade, shall be installed outdoors at the front and back of each dwelling unit having direct access to grade. Balconies, decks, and porches that are accessible from inside of the dwelling unit shall have at least one receptacle outlet installed within the perimeter of the balcony, deck, or porch. The receptacle shall be located not more than 6 feet, 6 inches (1981 mm) above the balcony, deck, or porch surface.
The same receptacle can meet both the grade and deck/balcony/porch requirement, but only if you can located somewhere that meets both requirements. (Deck builders have to be careful that a newly constructed deck does not limit access to a receptacle outlet the previously met the "above grade" requirement ).
Also, The NEC says 210.63 Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration Equipment Outlet A 125-volt, single-phase, 15- or 20-ampere-rated receptacle outlet shall be installed at an accessible location for the servicing of heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration equipment. The receptacle shall be located on the same level and with 7.5m (25 ft) of the heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration equipment. The receptacle outlet shall not be connected to the load side of the equipment disconnecting means.
Both of these requirements can be met by the same an appropriately located receptacle outlet (for example the outlet cannot be behind it obstructed by the air conditioner condenser).
IMO "the code of common sense" also dictates that exterior outlets should be above expected snow levels, should not be in locations where they are not readily accessible (for example on a wall on the near side of a wide window well), and the like.
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Last edited by Michael Thomas; 11-16-2011 at 09:36 AM.