I understand that you must have an electrical receptacle 6 feet from any obstruction or break in the wall, such as a doorway, and no more than 12 feet from the previous electrical receptacle.

Does this require that the receptacle be accessible? In other words, can the receptacle be inside a home theater stage (for subwoofer)?

Can the receptacle be a light switch?

Lastly, does there have to be a receptacle 6 feet from a door on BOTH sides?

  • 2
    Imagine you have a lamp with a 6' cord. Wherever you place that lamp along the wall, you should be able to plug it in. If you can't plug it in, you need another receptacle. Height doesn't really matter, as long as the receptacle is below 6' (I think, I can't remember the height off the top of my head), it meets the requirements. So imagine it's a floating lamp, and it will float up and down the wall to reach the receptacle.
    – Tester101
    Jan 22, 2016 at 21:23
  • Keep in mind "accessible" is a term defined by NEC; are you using it in that regard? NEC requires all receptacles be accessible.
    – GManNickG
    Jan 22, 2016 at 21:24
  • There would be a "hatch" to get access to the outlet where the subwoofer will be.
    – Programmer
    Jan 22, 2016 at 21:25
  • 1
    If the "hatch" is operable without the use of tools, and not a component of the supporting structure, then this is permissible. Jan 22, 2016 at 22:58
  • Do you mean that the receptacle is on a switched circuit, is integral with a switch, or is replaced by a switch? Jan 23, 2016 at 1:34

3 Answers 3


From the 2014 NEC:

210.52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets. This section provides requirements for 125-volt, 15- and 20-ampere re-ceptacle 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 (5 1⁄2 ft) above the floor

The reference in #2 is a switched receptacle for lighting in a room. If you had a receptacle installed next to the switch and is less than 5 ½ feet above the floor it could be considered serving the floor line. However, practically speaking it would be of limited use to cord connected equipment at the floor line.

So, #3 means you can't use receptacles inside cabinetry to satisfy floor line receptacle spacing. The receptacle inside the home theater stage doesn't count as a floor line receptacle. There is no exception for accessibility within a cabinet through a "hatch", the code just says they can't be used to satisfy the required outlets, period.

210.52(A) General Provisions. In every kitchen, family room, dining room, living room, parlor, library, den, sunroom, bedroom, recreation room, or similar room or area of dwelling units, receptacle outlets shall be installed in accordance with the general provisions specified in 210.52(A)(1) through (A)(3).

(1) Spacing. Receptacles shall be installed such that no point measured horizontally along the floor line of any wall space is more than 1.8 m (6 ft) from a receptacle outlet.

(2) Wall Space. As used in this section, a wall space shall include the following:

(1) Any space 600 mm (2 ft) or more in width (including space measured around corners) and unbroken along the floor line by doorways and similar openings, fire-places, and fixed cabinets

(2) The space occupied by fixed panels in exterior walls, excluding sliding panels

(3) The space afforded by fixed room dividers, such as freestanding bar-type counters or railings

(3) Floor Receptacles. Receptacle outlets in floors shall not be counted as part of the required number of receptacle outlets unless located within 450 mm (18 in.) of the wall.

Finally, receptacles are required within 6 feet of a door on both sides to prevent people from running extension cords across the doorway. Hopefully, you can see that would be a unsafe practice.

Good luck on your project!


Yes, both sides of a door in habitable rooms for any wall space 24" or greater, except closets. Hallways only require one no matter how many doors, or wall breaks. 66" max height if memory serves correct for it to count as part of the wall outlets. Fixed cabinets do not count as wall space so not an issue if the outlet is accessible or not if inside a cabinet.


While cabinets don't count as wallspace -- the intent of that Code requirement is to make it so there are sufficient outlets available so you don't have to string extension cords all over the place.

Also, no, a light switch doesn't count, as a) you can't plug things into one and b) switch loops didn't have a neutral until extremely recently.

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