I have exterior outlets by each door on the house (front and back) and one by my AC Unit. Do I have to also have one outside by my back garage door? This is a person entry door but it is also probably about 20' away from the back door of the house. I was told each door going out needs an outlet just recently which I can not find in the code. All I have seen is one located on the front and back of house and at least one within 20 or 25 feet of AC unit.

2 Answers 2


That's because that is not in the code. Entrances (except vehicle doors) are supposed to have a lighting outlet not a receptacle. Someone is confused.

Here are the relevent code snippets:

210.52(E) Outdoor Outlets. Outdoor receptacle outlets shall be installed in accordance with 210.2(E)(1) through (E)(3).[I have left out 2 and 3 for brevity]

Informational Note: See 210.8(A)(3).

(1) One-Family and Two-Family Dwellings. For a one- family dwelling and each unit of a two-family dwelling that is at grade level, at least one receptacle outlet readily ac- cessible from grade and not more than 2.0 m (6 1/2 ft) above grade level shall be installed at the front and back of the dwelling.


210.63 Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration Equipment Outlet. A 125-volt, single-phase, 15- or 20-ampere-rated receptacle outlet shall be installed at an accessible location for the servicing of heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration equipment. The receptacle shall be located on the same level and within 7.5 m (25 ft) of the heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration equip- ment. The receptacle outlet shall not be connected to the load side of the equipment disconnecting means.

The lighting language is here:

210.70(A)(2)(b) For dwelling units, attached garages, and detached garages with electric power, at least one wall switch-controlled lighting outlet shall be installed to provide illumination on the exterior side of outdoor entrances or exits with grade level access. A vehicle door in a garage shall not be considered as an outdoor entrance or exit.

Your receptacle setup is just fine by the Code.

  • 2
    Great, thanks for the information. I will pass this on. I don't want to cut siding to put a receptacle in an area that is not needed nor required by code.
    – CCCBuilder
    Oct 4, 2017 at 17:26

Common confusion. In code language, "Outlet" and "receptacle" are two very different things.

A receptacle is a socket or the usual pair of sockets on a single yoke.

An outlet is any delivery point of electrical power - it includes receptacles but also includes lights, water heaters, doorbell transformers, including hardwired loads. It is an outlet from the wiring system to an appliance or socket.

  • 2
    Good to know, I've always called receptacles outlets because 99% of people you talk to say "Plug that into an outlet" or "which outlet cover did you get" "Is that a grounded outlet?" etc. when always referring to...a pair of receptacles...
    – CCCBuilder
    Oct 4, 2017 at 17:30
  • 3
    @nic yup, me too and probably most of us.... On the other hand I don't go around calling neutral a grounded conductor, nor call anything that runs on electricity "utilization equipment"... NEC has a language all its own... Oct 4, 2017 at 19:01

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