The NEC minimum requirements for receptacles seldom meet the real needs of occupants. As noted in 90.1, the NEC is not a design manual. So let’s look at how to expand on those requirements and do the job right—giving you a competitive advantage.
One way to develop a functionally satisfactory design is to start with a drawing that meets the NEC minimums for receptacles and add to it. But this means rework, because the drawing already has receptacles six feet apart and now you’re going to move those to add more.
A more efficient approach is to develop your own requirements for specific types of uses or occupancies. For example, if it’s a residential kitchen then your requirements mandate a receptacle strip running the full length of a countertop rather than three individual receptacles installed at fairly useless locations six feet apart.
To develop the best requirements, examine existing installations for:
- Where people actually plug things in.
- Where things are inconveniently placed, just to be near a receptacle.
- Loaded-up surge strips.
- Stretched-out appliance cords.
- Extension cords.
When expanding on the NEC minimum receptacle count, remember that it’s in addition to receptacles that are:
- Part of a luminaire or appliance.
- Controlled by a wall switch per 270(A)(1), Exception No. 1.
- Inside a cabinet or cupboard.
- More than 5.5 ft above the floor.