When designing your own kitchen and planning out all the nitty-gritty details, one thing you should definitely give importance to is the electric system and how the outlets should be placed in your kitchen. Not having enough electric plugs can be a real annoyance when you are cooking and need to use various kitchen gadgets.
Moreover, using extension cords to reach the nearest outlet can be downright dangerous, and not to mention inconvenient as well.
Of course, no quantity of electrical outlets can help you if they all are mounted at the wrong height on the wall. Ensuring that the outlets are at the correct height is a major aspect you should consider when you are planning an electrical outlet placement for your home.
This article is here to help you in getting the electrical outlet height above the kitchen counter.
Electrical codes have made it a requirement to have more outlets per foot space in the kitchen than any other area of a home. According to the codes, there should be one outlet for every 4 feet of kitchen counter space and one for every 12 feet of wall space.
The reason for this many outlets is quite simple – in the kitchen, you may need to plug in several high power using small electric appliances at the same time.
Height of the Electrical Outlets
There is actually no specified height for outlet placement over a kitchen counter in the codes, but there are some limitations regarding the maximum height of the placement of outlets.
According to the National Electric Code, you can mount electric outlets anywhere, starting from just above the standard 4-inch kitchen countertop backsplash in the wall and up to 18 inches above the surface of the kitchen countertop.
If you mount the electric outlets at the maximum height allowed, the gap between each electric outlet may be reduced; therefore requiring you to install more electric outlets. Keep this in mind if you want to have more electric outlets in your kitchen.
The idea behind this rule is that a small electric kitchen appliance placed anywhere on the kitchen counter with a power cord of the standard 24-inch length should be able to reach an electric outlet without needing an extension cord.
Ground fault circuit interrupter, in short GFCI, is a circuit breaker that constantly monitors the difference between the incoming and outgoing electric power supply & automatically shuts off the power supply when it senses an imbalance between them. It is also known as Residual Current Device or RCD.
Nowadays, generally, all new homes come with GFCI outlets in the kitchens to prevent accidents, which may destroy electrical appliances and cause a fire. In accordance with the code, all new homes should come with GFCI outlets in the kitchen, so make sure yours are GFCI too. Some homes even have GFCI circuits.
More Details about Height above and below Countertops
To help you further with the installment of outlets, I am giving you in-depth detailed instructions in this section. The electric sockets you install should be of 125 voltage, with a current of 15 or 20 amps (generally 20 amps are used everywhere). You need to install outlets on walls above kitchen countertops that are 2 feet or higher in width.
The electric outlets should be placed strategically so that any point from a kitchen countertop should have an electric outlet available within 2 feet. They should not be mounted higher than 20 inches from the top of the kitchen counter.
Measured horizontally, no point along the wall line should be more than 24 inches from an electric outlet. The code also permits you to install electric outlets inside kitchen cabinets. If you are planning to install one inside a cabinet, make sure it is placed no more than 12 inches below the kitchen countertop.
Peninsular or Extended Counters
If there are peninsula or extended kitchen countertops in your kitchen, at least one electric outlet should be installed at each of the extended kitchen countertops; and they should have a long dimension of 24 inches or up and a short dimension of 12 inches or up.
There may or may not be a flat top across the entire surface of the peninsular countertop, or there may be some dividers, backsplashes, etcetera.
And if the peninsular countertop does have a flat top all across, the electric outlet should be placed no more than 12 inches below the counter, where the countertop itself extends no more than 6 inches from its support base.
In case of not having a flat top due to dividers, the electric outlet should be placed above the peninsular counter.
Sinks or range tops may be installed on peninsular counters. In that case, if the width behind the sink or range top is less than 12 inches, it shall be considered to have divided the peninsular counter into two and be treated as such when installing electric power outlets.
Other Additional Requirements
To supply electric power to the power outlets in the kitchen, at least 2 circuits should be used. These circuits should be dedicated for use by kitchen appliances only – no garbage disposal, light fixtures, range hoods, etcetera are allowed.
Fixed appliances such as the fridge and refrigerators should be powered by a circuit which has been calculated to handle the load of the fixed appliance. From the kitchen floor, the correct height of electric outlets should be about 43 inches.
While following the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) specifications when installing kitchen outlets is not a must-have requirement, it is still good to follow them in case you ever end up needing them for a disabled person in your family. These specifications ensure a disabled person can occupy the structure with ease.
Aside from these standard guidelines, don’t forget to check your local electric codes, too, because they are important as well, and you can never be too sure. Correcting the wrong electric work can get pretty expensive, and nobody wants that.
When you are budgeting a kitchen overhaul, keep in mind that some states necessitate that all-electrical work to be done by a licensed electrician.
There you have it – every rule and considerations you need to follow when installing electric outlets in your kitchen. We hope this article helped you, and thanks for reading!