Kitchen counter receptacles

Recently, we have seen a rising trend in kitchen design toward windows or pass-through openings that travel from counter to ceiling with no backsplash. These kitchen designs mean that electrical contractors need to find new ways to satisfy Rule 26-712(d) (iii), which outlines the number of receptacles needed and provides a method to determine location.

When planning out kitchen receptacle placement, it is important to remember that the rule talks about counter work surfaces, not wall spaces. Although sinks and built-in equipment are excluded as counter work surfaces, counters that are in front of windows are still considered as work surfaces that require receptacles.

New products are continuously coming onto the market and can often be used to satisfy challenging design concepts. “Pop-up”, “pop-down”, or other types of “hidden” receptacles have been around for many years, but were historically only approved as power taps and not approved for use as permanent receptacles.  Recently, some manufacturers have come out with products that are approved for permanent use, and we are seeing these used as an innovative solution that allows electrical contractors to install receptacles in counter work surfaces where there is no available wall space behind the counter.  When planning out kitchen counter receptacles, it is important that you consider other Code rules and ensure that the product is approved for the specific application.

Note that Rule 26-712 requires receptacle types 5-15R or 5-20R; this rule also requires these receptacles to be tamper-resistant (TP).  Care must also be taken to ensure that receptacles are not placed in locations where water or other liquids may drip or flow into the receptacle or outlet box.  Products that provide an effective seal against ingress of liquids are available for those applications where liquids are a potential problem.

Rule 26-700(11) requires GFCI protection for receptacles having CSA configuration 5-15R and 5-20R installed within 1.5 m of sinks.  Spit receptacles don’t work well in this application due to increased costs, and most electrical contractors prefer to install 20A circuits and use type 5-20R receptacles, for GFCI protection of receptacles near sinks.  Ensure that the product you are selecting will be able to satisfy Code requirements as well as accommodate your needs.

Check with your local supplier and product manufacturer to ensure that the products you are installing are approved for the intended application, and always check each product for an acceptable certification mark.  For more information on certification marks, please see our Information Bulletin on Approved Certification Marks for Electrical Products.

These are just a few of the rules be considered when planning kitchen layout and installation.  Always make sure that your final installation meets BC Electrical Code requirements.  This may not always be easy in the face of new design concepts and customer demands.  However, as an electrical professional and as the permit holder, it is your responsibility to ensure that all of your work is compliant and safe.  If in doubt, contact BCSA or your local municipal authority before starting work.  This could help you and your clients avoid costly and potentially hazardous mistakes.

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