Like many people, I have a dishwasher and a disposer, which are plugged into an outlet in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Also like many, this is where I keep a whole host of cleaning products and other things that children should be kept away from. So, as part of general childproofing of my home, I am going to install a child-safe latch on the cabinet door.

The question is, does the outlet under the sink still need to be tamper-resistant by code if the cabinet itself is made inaccessible by some other means? Also, since it's a "wet" area, does it additionally need to be weather-resistant?

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    Is the outlet already there and functional? If so, it may be grandfathered in so it does not have to meet the latest code. It's probably still worth knowing what the code is, and what's the best practice, but just saying. – The Other Steven Apr 5 '12 at 18:13
  • I'd say it's not required to be tamper-proof, but is required to be GFCI protected. But I'd have to review the code to be sure. – Tester101 Apr 5 '12 at 18:58
  • Child safety latches on cabinet doors are great if you live in earthquake areas too. – lqlarry Apr 6 '12 at 2:08

In NEC 2008 Tamper Resistant receptacles are covered in section 406.11

406.11 Tamper-Resistant Receptacles in Dwelling Units. In all areas specified in 210.52, all 125-volt, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles shall be listed tamper resistant receptacles.

Since section 210.52 specifies receptacles located within cabinets or cupboards, even those receptacles in the cabinet used to supply disposals are required to be tamper resistant.

210.52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets. This section provides requirements for 125-volt, 15- and 20-ampere receptacle outlets. The receptacles required by this section shall be in addition to any receptacle that is:

(1) Part of a luminaire or appliance, or
(2) Controlled by a wall switch in accordance with 210.70(A)(1), Exception No. 1, or
(3) Located within cabinets or cupboards, or
(4) Located more than 1.7 m (51.2 ft) above the floor

NEC 2011 revised section 406.11 to 406.12 and added some exceptions.

406.12 Tamper Resistant Receptacles in Dwelling Units. All non-locking type 15A and 20A, 125V receptacles in a dwelling unit (210.52) must be Listed as Tamper Resistant, excluding the following locations:

• Receptacles located more than 5 ½ ft above the floor
• Receptacles that are part of a luminaire or appliance
• Receptacles located within dedicated space for an appliance that in normal use isn't easily moved
• Non-grounding receptacles used for replacements as permitted in 406.4(D)(2)(a)

However, none of these exceptions exclude under cabinet receptacles. If you're replacing the receptacle under the cabinet or installing a new receptacle under the cabinet, it must be tamper resistant. Having a lock on the cabinet door has no bearing on the code.


If your house is already built and you are doing the job then your answer is no. Even though it became NEC (National Electric Code) in 2008, this is only called by municipality or state, not nationwide. If you are doing this then you can change them as you want. If you hire an electrician to do it and it is local code, you might have to change more than you want. hat's because when an electrician, plumber or other professional tradesmen, they have to bring your house up to code. How much up to code I don't know. The prices are cheap and the the biggest cost would be paying the labor if you hire this job out. If you splash a lot where your sink is or if the prices are close, then I would use the weather-resistant GFCI's. Both @Steven and @Tester101 raise good valid points as well.

EDIT I ffound this here

Section 406.11 in the 2008 NEC reads, “406.11 Tamper-Resistant Receptacles in Dwelling Units. In areas specified in 210.52, all 125-volt, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles shall be listed tamper-resistant receptacles.” Based on the new text, tamper-resistant, 15- and 20-ampere, 125-volt receptacles must be installed for all specified areas in 210.52, covering such receptacles in kitchens, family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, sunrooms, bedrooms, recreation rooms, or similar rooms or areas of dwelling unit. The receptacles required for those areas specified in Section 210.52 must be tamper-resistant, and in addition, other receptacles not specifically listed in 210.52 now are required to be tamper-resistant.

In addition, based on Section 210.52(C)(5), “receptacle outlets rendered not readily accessible by appliances fastened in place, appliance garages, sinks, or range tops (as covered in 210.52(C)(1), Exception), or appliances occupying dedicated space,” such as a dishwasher with the receptacle installed behind the appliance shall not be considered as required outlets but are required to be tamper-resistant based on this new text.

It really depends on who's doing the calling and how they view the last part of the above quote.

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    An Electrician does not have to bring the whole house up to code, only the parts of the system they are actually working on. 406.11 calls for tamper resistant receptacles in new installs, this was revised in 2011 and changed to 406.12 to include all replaced receptacles as well. So if you are not installing a new receptacle or replacing an old receptacle, you do not have to update to tamper resistant receptacles. – Tester101 Apr 6 '12 at 13:18

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