In our previous issue, we said the NEC requirements for receptacle count is often inadequate for actual user needs. The requirements exist primarily to eliminate “permanent” extension cords. Unfortunately, the requirements assume we still live in the 1970s.
The residential requirements of 210.52 state that no point measured horizontally along the floor line of any wall space can be more than 6 ft from a receptacle outlet.
This requirement came into being when people didn’t have cell phones, MP3 players, GPS devices, electronic translators, and other little gadgets. How many mobile gadgets do you have? If you carry a cell phone and GPS from your car into your home upon arriving, where do you plug these in? What about others living in your home?
Today, many people have a home office. It may be in the basement, a spare bedroom, or a section of the living room. There, you’re likely to find a desktop computer, laptop computer, printer, scanner, task lamp, powered speakers, wireless router, phone base station, external backup drives, cable or phone modem, and other gizmos that all plug into AC receptacles. The room might have two or three duplex receptacles.
Many people also have a point of use UPS with multiple receptacles. But to get enough outlets, people plug surge strips or other forms of extension into these.
This same 1970s perspective afflicts commercial and industrial, too. Possible retrofit opportunities?