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People are always looking for ways to conceal outlets, so they don’t interrupt wall designs or kitchen tile backsplashes.
However, kitchens need a lot of outlets. They’re one of the most power-hungry areas of the house. You have refrigerators, blenders, toasters, microwaves, and other appliances all around.
Installing the outlets in a cabinet might seem like an easy solution to the problem. Can outlets be inside cabinets?
In many cases, putting an outlet in a cabinet is just fine. However, safety and building codes typically state that outlets must be spaced appropriately.
If putting them in cabinets means they’re too close to another outlet, then you’re not going to be able to install them there.
People use outlets in their cabinets for appliances that are fixed in place. Something like a mounted microwave or a fixed coffee machine are good examples.
When an appliance is always in the same place and needs to plug in, cabinet outlets are a great solution.
Let’s explore when outlets can be inside cabinets and when you should check whether placing an outlet meets local codes.
Table of Contents
Learning About the Electrical Code
Local municipalities set codes designed to standardize building practices and keep people safe.
While some people don’t love the idea of a governing body regulating how and when they can build, most folks are glad codes exist because they reduce the chances of discovering major problems after buying a house.
Codes outline how things should be fixed in place and how far apart they need to be. Outlet requirements are different for garages, bedrooms, kitchens, etc.
For example, in the kitchen, most codes state they can’t be more than four feet from the next outlet.
Why four feet? That’s how long the typical small kitchen appliance cord is, so outlet distance is designed to make it easier for people to plug things in and avoid having to use extension cords.
Sometimes the code will specify what type of outlet must be used. For example, a lot of places mandate the use of GFCI outlets in kitchens, bathrooms, and anywhere else with greater shock risks.
If you have questions about whether you can put outlets in cabinets where you live, give a reputable local electrician a call.
Tell them what you have in mind and ask them if there will be any issues. Most electricians will be happy to discuss the project with you and give you a free estimate of the work.
Where Cabinet Outlets Should Go?
It’s rare to see outlets inside cabinets in older homes, but new construction and remodels often opt to place at least some of their kitchen and bathroom outlets in cabinets.
They do this because they want smooth, uninterrupted walls.
Electricians sometimes install receptacles inside drawers for things like handheld mixers, tablets for reading recipes, and a place to plug in cell phones.
New kitchens attempt to combine efficient design with high usability.
Having outlets in cabinets isn’t always ideal. It can be frustrating always searching for where the nearest outlet is. If you have guests, they’ll struggle to know where they should plug things in.
As a solution, outlets on the outset of cabinets are increasingly common. There are also other options like pop-up outlets that sit on the countertops.
Outlet placement also matters if you have children. For example, having outlets in lower cabinets, whether inside or on the side, can become an issue if they’re easy for young children to reach.
Typically, codes require tamper-resistant outlets for anything placed lower than 66 inches from the floor.
When to Use GFCI Outlets?
GFCI stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter. This type of outlet lowers the risk of electrocution during ground faults.
Usually, GFCI outlets are required in kitchens, bathrooms, unfinished basements, laundry rooms, garages, and other areas with intensive energy use.
Homeowners may want to choose GFCI outlets whenever they install new outlets or remodel areas of the home.
These safety outlets make the house safer and protect users when and if things go wrong.
As codes progress and local governments place more emphasis on safety, GFCI outlets are increasingly becoming the standard for homes.
Working with a Licensed Electrician
Above all, homeowners should always work with a licensed electrician whenever they want to move outlets or install new outlets inside cabinets.
Your electrician will know whether your new outlets will meet code requirements and any other issues related to putting them inside cabinets in a kitchen, garage, bedroom, or anywhere else.
Working with a licensed contractor is always worth it because it will keep you safe and better guarantee that your home retains its value.
Unfortunately, unlicensed work usually comes back to haunt homeowners.
When you go to sell your home, the inspector will spot any issues, and you’ll likely have to pay to fix them before any sale becomes final.
Outlets can go inside a cabinet and may be a great fix if you don’t want them to interrupt your décor.
The key to having them hidden is to know where and how to place them. Hiring a local licensed electrician is the best way to get the job done well and right.