Required receptacle for a deck


Old 05-03-19, 06:13 PM
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Required receptacle for a deck

2014 NEC in effect. 210.52(E)(3) requires a receptacle accessible from the deck. I have three semi-related questions, trying to get a feel for the scope of the electrical work associated with a deck build. Any work required will be done by an electrician, but the amount of electrical work will influence how much budget can go to the deck itself.

Is there a general consensus on what "accessible" is? If I can reach an existing receptacle from the deck, it's accessible, but if I have to get off the deck, it's not? (I have an existing exterior receptacle about 2 feet from the deck location, no problem to run a cord to it through the railing, but I'd have to get off the deck to do it.)

Does the required receptacle have to be on its own circuit?

Can conduit (or an alternative like SE cable) be run from the existing outdoor receptacle, and onto the deck structure? For example, if I wanted a receptacle surface mounted on a railing post?

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Old 05-03-19, 07:38 PM
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(3) Balconies, Decks, and Porches. Balconies, decks, and porches that are attached to
the dwelling unit and are accessible from inside the dwelling unit shall have at least one
receptacle outlet accessible from the balcony, deck, or porch. The receptacle outlet shall
not be located more than 2.0 m (61∕2 ft) above the balcony, deck, or porch walking

On the wall next to the deck would not be accessible from the deck.
It does not need to be on its own circuit. It does need to be GFI protected.
An extension cord to the deck would not be acceptable.
Using UF or conduit to run to a receptacle should be ok.
Old 05-03-19, 08:18 PM
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In Canada it does need to be on its own circuit.
Old 05-04-19, 05:57 AM
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I would be surprised that a city would require you to install a receptacle just because you build a deck. If the deck is being installed with the interior being finished, I would suspect the existing electrical would be grandfathered in.

Of course, updating to the newest code is always a good thing as having a receptacle on a new deck is handy.
Old 05-04-19, 07:42 AM
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We tend to suffer here more than most from the whims of the inspector. People have asked an inspector "is this OK?," been told yes, and then been failed when a different inspector handled the final inspection.

Theoretically, since IRC doesn't make any mention of a receptacle, the building inspector shouldn't have grounds to fail the deck for not having one, and if no electrical work is done at all, it doesn't get an electrical permit, or an electrical inspection. But that's in theory.

Since the update from 2011 to 2014 NEC changed the requirement from "within the perimeter" of the deck to "accessible from" the deck, it seems like it's now along the lines of the age-old "where subject to damage" discussion. It sounds like it doesn't have to be within the perimeter, but where does it have to be? I was hoping maybe the NEC Handbook had some more guidance on it. Shoot, I have a friend, who, if the required receptacle is 6 1/2 feet above the deck, wouldn't be accessible for her without a step stool.

North Carolina issued an opinion stating: "The language in section 210.52(E)(1) of the 2014 NC Electrical Code has been altered from the 2011 edition mandating the required front and back outdoor receptacles from being 'accessible while standing at grade level' to being 'readily accessible from grade.' The new language allows for a receptacle to be located in the middle of the wall line of a deck that cannot be reach through the pickets so long as you can walkup the steps and access the receptacle without infringing on the 'readily' accessibility."

That's basically the reverse of what I'd need to do -- walk down the steps and use the 210.52(E)(1) receptacle to meet the deck receptacle requirement. Theoretically, if A=B, then B=A. But unfortunately that's North Carolina, not Maryland.
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