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It’s not often that you see an outlet inside a closet. If you’re wondering whether it’s legal, there typically aren’t any laws or code violations related to putting outlets in closets.
You don’t see them that often because most builders and homeowners question the convenience of having closet outlets.
They can be hard to reach if you’re trying to plug in a vacuum or some other small appliance and people don’t typically have lamps or other lights in closets.
Also, if you’re plugging something into a closet outlet, won’t the cord stop the door from closing all of the way or look bad if you need it always plugged in?
You probably aren’t going to want a cord running from inside a closet out to a floor lamp or anything.
But these days, closet outlets are becoming more popular because people are ditching corded options for cordless, and there are a lot of sensors and other devices that require power but don’t need to be seen to work well.
Here’s some information on whether you can install an outlet in a closet and what you need to know.
Nothing in the NEC states that outlets aren’t allowed in closets. However, there may be some local regulations that say they aren’t allowed. You’re going to need to check on your local code guidelines and see whether it’s an option for you.
Thankfully, many places are updating their codes to permit outlets in closets because they understand that they are a lot more useful and applicable than they were in the past.
There are a lot of reasons to install closet outlets these days. Here are five good reasons if you’re having trouble thinking of why you might need one.
Charging station for batteries
Whether you need to charge AA batteries for your kids’ Xbox controllers or their lasertag guns, having a charger inside of the closet hides them away so you don’t have to look at them all day.
It gives your kids a dedicated space for batteries as well so they know where to go when they need to grab a couple or to charge some up again.
For Smart Devices
If you’re using an Amazon Echo to play music, or to help you turn off the lights, then a closet outlet offers a convenient spot to put it.
Smart homes are becoming more common, and most of them are voice-controlled. Having devices in closets lets you customize your home and frees up other outlets you need to use for lamps, TVs, and other devices.
A Place to Put the Roomba
Roombas and other automated vacuums do the housework while you’re away at work.
They do need to charge, though, so a closet outlet does the trick well.
If you like to be prepared for a large storm or whenever else you may lose power, then closet outlets are a great place to stick your emergency flashlights that need plugs to stay charged.
A lot of hotels put flashlights in closets for this reason.
Your security system, whether a sound alarm or cameras, will likely need power.
You can keep your hallways looking clean by sticking them in a closet with an outlet.
Step 1 – Choose the spot – You’re going to want to select the position of your outlet to make it convenient for use.
Step 2 – Turn off the main power – On the old outlet you’re using to feed power to the new one, you can use a voltage meter to find which wire is hot and which is neutral. Once you do, turn off the power so you don’t get shocked.
Anytime you’re doing electrical work, you’re going to want the power completely off to reduce shock risk.
Step 3 – Find space between the studs – Use a stud finder to locate studs on both sides of where you want to put the outlet.
Step 4 – Tap off of another outlet – Of course, you’re going to need to find a power source to draw power to the new outlet. Find another outlet that’s close, or you can use the wiring for a closet light that you can feed down into the outlet.
Step 5 – Cut the hole – Cut a hole in the drywall that will fit your outlet box.
Step 6 – Feed the power cables from the existing outlet – Use a drill to cut a hole into the outlet box. Stay away from the existing wires so you don’t cut them accidentally.
Keep pushing the wire until you get in the general vicinity of the new outlet box where you dug the hole. Reach in and grab the wires.
Step 7 – Install the new outlet box and outlet – Once you have the cable in place, you can install the outlet box, attach the wires to the outlet, and then put the outlet plate on.
Depending on how much cutting you did, you may have to repair some drywall and do some painting.
If this sounds like it’s too much for your DIY level, then you can call a certified electrician to make quick work of installing a closet outlet.
It’s totally reasonable to be hesitant to take on electrical projects while you’re still getting your feet wet with home projects.
An experienced electrician can come to take a look at your current setup and let you know whether installing a closet outlet is a good idea. If you’re worried about code requirements, they’ll also be able to let you know whether installing one is legal.
If you get an electrician to install the outlet, then all you have to do is the drywall repair and painting, and then you’ll have the outlet to use for that vacuum, smart device, or whatever else you need in there.