210.52(H) Hallways

Article 210 covers branch circuits except for those supplying only motor loads. Motor-load requirements are covered in Article 430. Receptacle-placement provisions are stipulated in 210.52(A) through (H). These provisions apply to one-, two-, and multifamily dwellings (inside and outside.) While some of these provisions are general and apply throughout the dwelling, others are more specific and applicable only in certain rooms or areas. Parts I through IX covered all but one of the rooms and areas in dwellings. While basements and garages were the topic of discussion last month, this month’s In Focus begins with hallways, the last area in 210.52.

Hallways are not subject to the general receptacle-placement provisions in 210.52(A). Installing receptacles so that no point is more than six feet (1.8 m) from a receptacle outlet is not required in hallways. In dwelling units, hallways measuring 10 feet (3 m) or more in length must have at least one receptacle outlet. A receptacle is not required if the hallway’s length is less than 10 feet. For example, a hallway in a dwelling unit measures 9 feet 11 inches. Since the length is less than 10 feet, no receptacle is required. Just because a receptacle is not required does not mean that one cannot be installed. Since hallway receptacles are not usually blocked by furniture, they can be convenient for night lights, vacuum cleaners, etc.

Where the hallway is straight, measuring the distance does not pose a problem. For example, a straight dwelling-unit hallway measures exactly 10 feet in length. Whether measured from the left side or the right, the length is still 10 feet. Because of the hallway’s length in this example, at least one receptacle is required. The required receptacle can be installed on either side of the hall, but not more than five-and-a-half feet (1.7 m) above the floor.

In other subsections of 210.52 distances are measured horizontally along the wall line. This subsection provides a different method for measuring the hallway’s length, which shall be considered the length along the centerline of the hall without passing through a doorway. This method works whether the hall is straight or not. For example, one hallway in a dwelling has a right-angle and a left-angle turn. Measuring from the centerline, the hallway’s length is 11 feet. Since a receptacle is required in hallways 10 feet (3.0 m) or more in length, at least one receptacle outlet must be installed.

This subsection does not stipulate that a receptacle is required for every 10 feet of hall. Regardless of the hallway’s length past 10 feet (3.0 m), only one receptacle is required. For example, a single-family dwelling contains one hall measuring 21 feet in length. Even though this is more than twice the required length, only one receptacle is required.

210.60 Guest Rooms

Some of the receptacle placement provisions pertaining to dwelling units are also applicable in hotel (and motel) guest rooms. Guest rooms in hotels, motels and similar occupancies must have receptacle outlets installed in accordance with 210.52(A) and (D). [210.60(A)] Unless the guest room meets the definition of a dwelling unit, as defined in Article 100, only two of the eight subsections apply. While 210.52(A) covers general provisions for receptacle placement, 210.52(D) specifies requirements for receptacles in bathrooms.

Where a guest room meets the definition of a dwelling unit, the receptacle outlets must be installed in accordance with all applicable requirements in 210.52. A dwelling unit is one or more rooms that will be used by one or more persons as a housekeeping unit. A dwelling unit must include space for eating, living and sleeping, and permanent provisions for cooking and sanitation. Unless a guest room contains permanent provisions for cooking, it does not meet the definition of a dwelling unit. While most hotel/motel guest rooms are not equipped with kitchen facilities, some are. When a guest room contains permanent provisions for cooking, the requirements in 210.52(B) and (C) are applicable. At least two small-appliance branch circuits must be installed, and receptacles must be installed in accordance with the countertop provisions. A portable microwave oven does not qualify as a permanent cooking provision. Therefore, small-appliance branch circuits and countertop receptacles are not required.

210.60(B) Receptacle Placement

Since receptacles must be installed in accordance with the general receptacle provisions, they must be installed so that no point along the floor line in any wall space is more than six feet (1.8 m) from a receptacle outlet. In dwelling units the maximum distance to a receptacle cannot be increased because of furniture layout. In hotel and motel guest rooms, the maximum distance to a receptacle can be increased because of furniture layout. Receptacle outlets can be located conveniently for permanent furniture layout. [210.60(B)] Although the distance between receptacles can be increased, the number of receptacles for that space must not be less than the minimum number required. In applying the provisions of 210.52(A), the total number of receptacle outlets must not be less than the minimum number that would comply with the provisions of that section. For example, without considering furniture, the minimum number of required receptacles in a 131/2-foot-by-171/2 -foot guest room is five.

In the last example, no consideration was given to furniture layout. In the next example, the furniture plan is shown. If the receptacles were laid out as shown in Figure 5, one receptacle would be located behind a bed. Because of a provision in 210.60(B) for permanent furniture, that receptacle can be relocated from behind the bed. While the distance to one receptacle will be less than required, the distance to the other will be more. This is permissible as long as the total number of receptacles is not less than the minimum number that would normally be required by 210.52(A).

Although it is permissible to relocate a receptacle that would end up behind a bed, it is not mandatory. Where a receptacle is installed behind a bed, one of two provisions must be met: the receptacle must be positioned so the bed does not contact any attachment plug that may be installed, or the receptacle must be provided with a suitable guard. This eliminates the possibility of breaking the receptacle or attachment plug.

If not for one specification in 210.60(B), finding an accessible receptacle in some guest rooms could be difficult. At least two receptacle outlets must be readily accessible. As defined in Article 100, “readily accessible” means capable of being reached quickly without having to climb over or remove obstacles, or resort to portable ladders. While it is not required to relocate receptacles from behind permanent furniture, it is required to have at least two of them readily accessible.

Receptacle outlets in bathrooms of guest rooms must be installed in accordance with 210.52(D). Therefore, at least one receptacle must be installed within three feet (900 mm) of the outside edge of each basin (sink or lavatory). The required receptacle must be installed on a wall or partition adjacent to the basin or basin countertop.

Next month’s In Focus, resuming with 210.62, will continue discussion of required receptacle outlets. EC

MILLER, owner of Lighthouse Educational Services, teaches classes and seminars on the electrical industry. He is the author of “Illustrated Guide to the National Electrical Code” and NFPA’s “Electrical Reference.” He can be reached at 615.333-3336, charles@charlesRmiller.com or www.charlesRmiller.com.