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Thread: outlet height

  1. #1
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    outlet height

    I have plans that spec outlets at 48 and 42 inches high Is that to top of outlet or not

  2. #2
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    Typically, height specifications are to the center.
    Code references based on 2005 NEC
    Larry B. Fine
    Master Electrician
    Electrical Contractor
    Richmond, VA

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryFine View Post
    Typically, height specifications are to the center.
    If it doesn't say otherwise I agree - that should be center.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  4. #4
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    I agree with the above posters, typically specifications are x amount of inches to the center line of the box, above finished floor (AFF). Finished floor includes things like concrete pours, carpet padding, carpet, tile, etcetera.

    I have done some hotels were there is maybe a 6 inch gap in the wall above the desk backsplash to the bottom of the picture frame or mirror above it.
    The data boxes that were supposed to go in that area have to be mounted at a pretty precise location.

    Kitchens can also have very small ranges of acceptable receptacle height... Too low, and it's in the backsplash, too high, and it's in the cabinet.

    If in doubt at all, get an RFI.
    Electricians do it until it Hertz!

  5. #5
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    Here in CA we have different ADA requirements than the feds, so you might want to check, but in commercial / Industrial receptacle height is minimum 15" AFF measured to the bottom of the box and switches are maximum 48" AFF measured to the top of the box.
    I can build anything you want if you draw a picture of it on the back of a big enough check.

    There's no substitute for hard work....but that doesn't mean I'm going to give up trying to find one.

    John Childress
    Electrical Inspector
    IAEI / CEI / C10
    Certified Electrical Inspector

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowboyjwc View Post
    Here in CA we have different ADA requirements than the feds, so you might want to check, but in commercial / Industrial receptacle height is minimum 15" AFF measured to the bottom of the box and switches are maximum 48" AFF measured to the top of the box.
    Those things you mentioned are specifying something other then center of box. With no additional specification any height on a plan is generally considered to mean the center of the item in question.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    Those things you mentioned are specifying something other then center of box. With no additional specification any height on a plan is generally considered to mean the center of the item in question.
    I understand and the reason they changed it, was because the ADA used to say to the center of the operating handle, so if you put your switch box at 48" to center and then put in a stacked switch you were a 1/2" too high, or if you had a top control thermostat you would be too high also, so they just changed it to top and bottom of box and then what you install doesn't matter.
    I can build anything you want if you draw a picture of it on the back of a big enough check.

    There's no substitute for hard work....but that doesn't mean I'm going to give up trying to find one.

    John Childress
    Electrical Inspector
    IAEI / CEI / C10
    Certified Electrical Inspector

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowboyjwc View Post
    I understand and the reason they changed it, was because the ADA used to say to the center of the operating handle, so if you put your switch box at 48" to center and then put in a stacked switch you were a 1/2" too high, or if you had a top control thermostat you would be too high also, so they just changed it to top and bottom of box and then what you install doesn't matter.
    OK but as was mentioned if a plan doesn't state top or bottom - general rule is that it means center.

    Now if ADA will require it to be top or bottom and whoever made the plan didn't specify - then the plan is what is wrong by not stating so. because with no other indication it means center.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  9. #9
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    I would call and ask but normally I would install those heights to the bottom of the box. I install receptacles at 13", switches at 43" -- that is to the bottom.
    They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy
    She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    OK but as was mentioned if a plan doesn't state top or bottom - general rule is that it means center.

    Now if ADA will require it to be top or bottom and whoever made the plan didn't specify - then the plan is what is wrong by not stating so. because with no other indication it means center.
    The plans are wrong 90% of the time, because too many engineers use cut and paste and don't ever change their plans. When you have to raise a 100 or so outlets, because you did not check to see if they were right or not, you'll wish you had asked first.
    I can build anything you want if you draw a picture of it on the back of a big enough check.

    There's no substitute for hard work....but that doesn't mean I'm going to give up trying to find one.

    John Childress
    Electrical Inspector
    IAEI / CEI / C10
    Certified Electrical Inspector

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