I am replacing bathroom cabinetry in a 20 year-old house. This bathroom has 2 sinks on the ends of a long countertop, with some knee-space in between the two sink bases. On the back wall behind the countertop are two outlets on a GFCI circuit, one at each end of the counter. The 2 outlets are on the same circuit. (Neither one is the "primary" outlet with the RESET/TEST buttons.)

I would like to relocate one of those GFCI outlets to be on that same wall but under the countertop, in the knee-space between those 2 sinks. I would like to know if electrical code in the USA would permit this. This question came up in my head, since in its new position the outlet would be below the level of spilling water, if one of the sinks were to overflow. (But to reach the outlet in its new position, the overflowing water would have to make its way past the silicone caulk sealing the 4-inch backsplash to the countertop. So I don't think it's likely.)

1 Answer 1


No can do

Your receptacle relocation proposal violates NEC 210.52(D) since it'd be set too far back to serve as a countertop receptacle:

(D) Bathrooms. At least one receptacle outlet shall be installed in bathrooms within 900 mm (3 ft) of the outside edge of each basin. The receptacle outlet shall be located on a wall or partition that is adjacent to the basin or basin countertop, located on the countertop, or installed on the side or face of the basin cabinet. In no case shall the receptacle be located more than 300 mm (12 in.) below the top of the basin or basin countertop. Receptacle outlet assemblies listed for use in countertops shall be permitted to be installed in the countertop.

However, you instead could have a receptacle mounted undercounter at the front edge of the vanity countertop though, or could simply extend the circuit to add an additional receptacle if you need it to be back behind the sinks for some reason.

  • I'm not sure I follow your "set too far back" conclusion, based on the (D) you quoted. However, I like the idea of "installed on the side ... of the basin cabinet." But that would require that I run romex inside the basin cabinet, coming from out of the back wall. (My kitchen island is like that, but coming up from the slab foundation.) I guess I should use some kind of conduit to protect that part of the romex? Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 6:14
  • 1
    @RyanV.Bissell using a conduit length to provide a damage shield for the NM when it's inside the cabinet is not at all unreasonable Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 11:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.