kitchen island electrical code garth stevens

Electrical Code Opens Up New Options for Receptacle Installations

By Garth Stevens, PE – Up through the 2017 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC), there were requirements for “at least one receptacle outlet” for any island or peninsular counter larger than the prescribed minimum sizes [2017 NEC Sec. 210.52(C)(2) and (3)]. In the 2020 NEC, however, this was significantly expanded. Both island and peninsular counters are combined in Sec. 210.52(C)(2), and additional receptacles are now required based on the square footage of the countertop work surface.

When a counter is located adjacent to the wall, receptacles are required so that “. . . no point along the wall line is more than 24 in. measured horizontally from a receptacle outlet in that space ” [Sec. 210.52(C)(1)]. But other than a receptacle outlet required within 2 feet of the outer end of the peninsular work surface, the location of the additional receptacles along the horizontal work surface is not specified. Therefore, depending on how the island is constructed, many of us are now wondering, “Where do we put all these receptacles?”

This article originally appeared in EC&M. Please click the link below to read the remainder of this article.

a countertop receptacle

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How have the changes to the 2020 NEC affected the installation of receptacles in kitchen islands and peninsular countertops? Garth Stevens explores the topic here.


Garth Stevens

Garth Stevens, PE, is a Senior Electrical Engineer with Morrison-Maierle in Montana. He has 33 years of experience designing electrical systems for buildings. Along with his design responsibilities, he writes technical specifications and performs quality control checking for many of his colleagues’ electrical plan sets. He can be reached at gstevens@m-m.net.