code, New Orleans, La ,for receptacle height

richard_schmidtApril 10, 2013

I have a two story home that has a basement, not subterranean , and would like to know height requirements for receptacles?

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There are no requirements in the NEC (they may be mounted flush with the floor or ceiling), but there may be some standards for spaces used by handicapped persons. The lowest may be 15" from the floor in that case.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 3:42PM
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For a required wall receptacle the maximum height is 5-1/2'. Other than that you can have them anywhere you like.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 3:50PM
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Geez, I'd want my outlets higher than 5 1/2 in a raised basement almost everywhere in Orleans Parish. Tell the inspector that someone with osteoarthritis with considerable back involvement will be occupying the space.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 12:33PM
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Thank all you, Y'all, for the positive input.

Very much appreciated.
From New Orleans, La.

P.S. My house has a sea level elevation of 1' +, but a 30' wave of water surge came in from The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet* please go to Wikipedia,2005 Hurricane Katrina, and caused severe damage to all of us -80% New Orleans. Yes, we also have the highest crime rate in the USA and even with a new mayor( circa 2010, and chief of police 2010), we still have more and more problems. For example, my house is located across the street from a city street light that has been out for over a year. When I dial 311, the emergency phone number for " the city to take action"the operator says, call Public Works Department and when I do that, the lady at that department says hold on---and then,an automated voice message says call 311. Ring- around -the -rosey. I had a security light installed,300 wts. and that keeps the front of my house bright -that cost me $14.00 per month for electricity..

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 1:34PM
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Geez, I'd want my outlets higher than 5 1/2 ...

You do realize that petey said 5.5 FEET not inches, right?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 3:01PM
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I missd that. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 5:37PM
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The 5 1/2 feet is the height limit for receptacles to be considered as meeting requirements for horizontal spacing and the like in residences. Receptacles can be at greater heights-- for garage door operators, seasonal lighting, etc.-- but those cannot be included as satisfying the minimum number of receptacles.
I have a receptacle in the ceiling of my porch controlled by a wall switch inside that is used for temporary lighting as desired.

This post was edited by bus_driver on Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 9:40

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:04AM
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I put my boxes at 48 feet to center of the box in the basements when I do residential work. It is a great height to plug things in easy. Now here is your problem if your basement is not finished you are required by code to use GFCI protection. If you have a sump pump it is not required. But you must use a single outlet on the yoke in other words only one plug in dedicated to that circuit.If your basement is finish I put my boxes 12 inches to center. You may want to bring them up some if your fear a flooding issue. Look up the uniform building code It states 15 inches to a max of 54 inches.If in doubt check the building codes in your area good luck.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:08PM
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48 feet should be good for minor flooding.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 6:19PM
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"If you have a sump pump it is not required. But you must use a single outlet on the yoke in other words only one plug in dedicated to that circuit."

Not any more my friend. All 120v receptacles in un finished basements are required to be GFCI protected. The only exception is if it feeds power to a permanently installed burglar alarm.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 10:10PM
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Weird distinction. If I paint the walls and put curtains on the walls, is that a "finished basement"?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 12:25AM
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Ron Natalie

Of course, unless you want to call your finished basement a giant closet, you'll probably have to put a lot more outlets in than just a single GFCI receptacle.

"finished" isn't defined in the electrical code, so you will have to figure out what definition your local jurisdiction will apply there.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 9:26AM
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That what I guessed. I might call it anything that would convince the inspector leave the GFI off of the sump pump outlet.

My father may have to deal with this issue with some changes so this is a related question. If part of the subterranean basement is not finished, can that sump pump have be left sans GFI? He is contemplating installing a genet. There are multiple pumps in the basement, two in finished areas and two in unfinished areas.

Lastly, are you great, code-knowlegable guys sure that a raised (not under grade) basement needs GFI if finished? This is really like a first-floor slab. Lots of homes in the area, possibly including Richard's, may have been built raise up to a height that can be walked under, but the crawl space is enclosed and it is called a "raised basement".

As pumping was improved, they no longer flooded with heavy rains and some people built them out. A lot of them that were not flooded in a lifetime got flooded after Katrina.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 11:34PM
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Ron Natalie

I don't think it's advisable to not GFCI the basement sump pump receptacle. It's certainly not permitted under the NEC. If you're concerned about not detecting the tripping, I suspect there are other issues as well. I would recommend a battery operated level alarm. Believe me I just went through this. I had a pump motor suddenly start drawing 55A (it was only a 1/2 HP motor) and tripped the breaker. Not only did it mean the sump wasn't pumped, but it also took out the redundant pump and associated level alarm at the same time (whoops...bad design, all on the same breaker).

Again "basement" is NOT defined by the electrical code, so you'll have to fight that with the local AHJ. However, the requirement for GFCI also covers crawl spaces at or below grade.

I've got perhaps a similar situation to yours. I have an ON GRADE space that while in the original plans was a crawl space, in fact has enough headroom to stand in. Visiting the site I looked at the foundation walls and wanted to know where this "door" went and then I found the whole thing was standing a bit higher upon grade that the thing appeared in the plans. Is this a crawl space or just a on grade utility room. In fact we had some discussion with the (non-electrical) guys. Since I put the interior parts of the heat pump (as well as the pumps for the radiant floor heat, the water conditioners and the fire tank/pumps, they deemed it to just be interior space. All the vents to the outside were sealed up. Oddly, I'm pretty sure the receptacle in there isn't a GFCI though the inspector may have just missed that.

There's only an exception for alarms from GFCI, not for sump pumps. Your only way around this is to either hard wire it or put it on a non 15/20A 120V circuit.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 8:01AM
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Ron Natalie

By the way, the whole sump pump issue is pretty much beat to death over on the MikeHolt forum. That's where all the real "code lawyers" hang out.

Earlier versions of the code allowed an escape for GFCI on sump pumps. Even here in NC we had for a while an amendment for sump pumps being exempt, but that has gone. The only one remaining is for sewage lift pumps (talk about being in deep s--t if that one fails).

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 8:09AM
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I realize this thread is a year old.

I do wish to ask a question as a homeowner with a mid-century home with a cinderblock wall furnace room (water heater/ac/water and gas water heater, two 200 amp electrical panels) in it and two sub grade crawls off to the sides of it for newer additions. I would describe the furnace room as finished: stairs led down to it, painted, electrified, concrete floor, regularly maintained and worked in.

Our sump is on a single non GFCI circuit double receptacle outlet box. The sump and a back up battery are each plugged into the receptacle. It's always been like that and was like that when we bought the house.

Do I need to change this out? What goes wrong on these sumps/backups that requires GFCI? I'm a bit of a safety nut, so will do that if need be. I've heard there are problems with GFCI circuits and battery back ups, that the circuit is tripped nullifying any chance of the back up kicking in. We get some nasty storms in the summer months and frequently loose electricity.

Thanks for any input on this.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:41PM
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In your case, it looks as if the installation was before the latest code revisions. If that is the way you plead your case, just leave it as is.
Less well known is that workplaces with employees must, under OSHA rules, upgrade their electrical every time there is an applicable NEC revision. No grandfathering.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 10:01PM
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Thanks for answering bus_driver. I'm satisfied with the way it is: worked like a charm for years. Will keep my ears open for a non-trigger happy GFCI.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:02PM
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