Code Requirements for Garage Electrical Outlets | My Perfect Garage (2023)

Code Requirements for Garage Electrical Outlets | My Perfect Garage (1)

Whether you are building a new house, a new garage or simply remodeling the current garage you have, there are certain electrical codes you will need to adhere to. The good news is there is a governing body in the United States, the National Electrical Code (NEC), which creates these codes. We have all the information you need to keep or get your garage up to code.

What is the code requirement for electrical outlets in yourgarage?

While your state may be different, most states employ the 2020 NEC requirement that you have one 120-volt, 20-ampere branch outlet for each vehicle bay that is placed at least 5.5 feet above the floor.

What is the National Electrical Code?

Every three years, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) collaborates with industry experts to update the NEC based on new standards in electrical safety and advances in electrical design and technology. These efforts reduce hazards such as shock, arc flash, and arc blast. In a nutshell, buildings and people are safer because of the NEC. The most recent update was in 2020.

During this meeting, they discuss all electrical issues, but in regards to garages, there are two main codes that were discussed, Section 210.11(C)(4) and Section 210.52(G).

Code Change Summary for Section 210.11(C)(4)

There were 11 public inputs during the 2020 code cycle requesting clarification of Section 210.11(C)(4). Many code experts felt that this section required any 120-volt receptacle installed in a dwelling unit garage to be supplied by a 20-amp branch circuit and that a 120-volt, 15-amp branch circuit supplying receptacles in a garage was not allowed.

In the 2020 NEC, it has been made clear that as long as at least one receptacle outlet is installed in each vehicle bay to satisfy Section 210.52(G)(1) below, and supplied from a 120-volt, 20-ampere branch circuit, any other receptacles installed in the garage could be supplied by other than a 120-volt, 20-amp branch circuit.

The 120volt power outlet is the standard electrical outlet in use in homes in North America. These outlets have been in use in their present form since the early 1950s.

20amp receptacles have a horizontal slot branching off one of the vertical slots. Appliances, such as microwaves, often have 20amp plugs and must be plugged into a 20amp outlet. … A 20amp circuit, protected by a 20amp breaker or fuse, must be served by 12-gauge or 10-gauge wire.

Receptacle is a contact device installed at the outlet for the connection of an attachment plug.

210.52(G)(1) Garages. In each attached garage and in each detached garage with electric power, at least one receptacle outlet shall be installed in each vehicle bay and not more than 1.7 m (5 ½ ft) above the floor.

Exception: Garage spaces not attached to an individual dwelling unit of a multifamily dwelling shall not require a receptacle outlet in each vehicle bay.

Section 210.11(C)(4) Old Code (2017 NEC) vs New Code (2020 NEC)

2017 Code Language:

210.11(C) Dwelling Units.

210.11(C)(4) Garage Branch Circuits. In addition to the number of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, at least one 120-volt, 20-ampere branch circuit shall be installed to supply receptacle outlets in attached garages and in detached garages with electric power. This circuit shall have no other outlets.

Exception: This circuit shall be permitted to supply readily accessible outdoor receptacle outlets.

2020 Code Language:

210.11(C) Dwelling Units.

210.11(C)(4) Garage Branch Circuits. In addition to the number of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, at least one 120-volt, 20-ampere branch circuit shall be installed to supply receptacle outlets required by 210.52(G)(1) for attached garages and in detached garages with electric power. This circuit shall have no other outlets.

Exception: This circuit shall be permitted to supply readily accessible outdoor receptacle outlets.

What is the code for multi-family dwellings?

Section 210.52(G) now applies to multifamily dwellings. Previously the rules were only for basements, garages, and accessory buildings associated with one- and two-family dwellings.

This section now requires at least one receptacle outlet to be installed in each basement, garage, and accessory building for one- and two-family dwellings, and multifamily dwellings.

A new exception makes it clear that garage spaces that are not attached to an individual dwelling unit of a multifamily dwelling are not required to have a receptacle outlet in each vehicle bay.

Section 210.52(G) Old Code (2017 NEC) vs New Code (2020 NEC)

2017 Code Language:

210.52(G) Basements, Garages, and Accessory Buildings. For one and two- family dwellings, at least one receptacle outlet shall be installed in the areas specified in 210.52(G)(1) through (3).

These receptacles shall be in addition to receptacles required for specific equipment.

(1) Garages. In each attached garage and in each detached garage with electric power, at least one receptacle outlet shall be installed in each vehicle bay and not more than 1.7 m (5 ½ ft) above the floor.

(2) Accessory Buildings. In each accessory building with electric power.

(3) Basements. In each separate unfinished portion of a basement.

2020 Code Language:

210.52(G) Basements, Garages, and Accessory Buildings. For one- and two-family dwellings, and multifamily dwellings, at least one receptacle outlet shall be installed in the areas specified in 210.52(G)(1) through (G)(3). These receptacles shall be in addition to receptacles required for specific equipment.

210.52(G)(1) Garages. In each attached garage and in each detached garage with electric power, at least one receptacle outlet shall be installed in each vehicle bay and not more than 1.7 m (5 ½ ft) above the floor.

Exception: Garage spaces not attached to an individual dwelling unit of a multifamily dwelling shall not require a receptacle outlet in each vehicle bay.

210.52(G)(2) Accessory Buildings. In each accessory building with electric power.

210.52(G)(3) Basements. In each separate unfinished portion of a basement.

Different NEC Versions

There are currently four different versions of the NEC being utilized in the United States. The 2008, 2014, 2017 and 2020 versions of the NEC are used in the United States.

Which Version Applies to My State?

As of April 1, 2021, the 2020 NEC is in effect in eleven states, the 2017 NEC is in effect in twenty-five, the 2014 NEC is in effect in eight states and the 2008 NEC is in effect in two states.

2020 NEC- (11) Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming

2017 NEC- (25) Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin

2014 NEC- (8) Alabama, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia

2008 NEC- (2) Indiana, Kansas

County/Municipality NEC regulation- (4) Arizona, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri

What States are Updating their NEC?

Connecticut (no effective date established)

Idaho (effective 7/21/21)

Maine (no effective date established)

Nebraska (no effective date established)

New Hampshire (no effective date established)

New Mexico (no effective date established)

North Carolina (no effective date established)

Ohio (no effective date established)

Rhode Island (no effective date established)

Utah (effective 7/21/21)

Vermont (no effective date established)

Table: State by State Guide to NEC Version

StateCurrent Edition Of The NEC In Effect (Effective Date)2020 NEC UPDATE Status (Effective Date)Other Editions Of NEC Update Status (Effective Date)
Alabama2014 (July 1, 2016), (Alabama Division of Construction Management)
Alaska2017 (5/9/2018)
ArizonaLocal adoption only
Arkansas2017 with AR amendments (1/1/2018)
California2017 with CA amendments (1/1/2020)
Colorado2020 (7/1/2020)
Connecticut2017 (10/1/2018)Update process underway(Effective date not established)
Delaware2014 (3/11/2016)Update process (2017) underway(Effective date not established)
Florida2017 (12/31/2020)
Georgia2020 (1/1/2021)
Hawaii2017 (8/21/2018)
Idaho2017 (7/1/2017)Update process underway(7/1/2021)
Illinois2008 (7/1/11 – commercial occupancies for areas outside of local jurisdictions that have adoption authority)
Indiana2008Update process (2017) underway(Effective date not established)
Iowa2020 with IA amendments (4/1/2021)
Kansas2008 (2/4/11 – State Fire Marshal)
Kentucky2017 (1/1/2019)
Louisiana2014 (2/1/2018)
Maine2017 with Maine amendments (11/6/2017)Update process underway(Effective date not established)
Maryland2014 (1/1/2015)
Massachusetts2020 w/MA amendments (12/27/2019)
Michigan2017 Commercial (1/4/2019)
One- and two-family dwellings (2/8/2016)
Minnesota2020 (7/1/2020)
MississippiLocal adoption only
MissouriLocal adoption only
Montana2014 (10/23/2014)Update process (2017) underway (effective date not established)
Nebraska2017 (8/1/17)Update process underway(Effective date not established)
Nevada2011 (7/1/13 – Nevada State Public Works Division)
New Hampshire2017 with NH amendments (1/1/2018)Update process underway(Effective date not established)
New Jersey2017 (9/3/19 with 6 month grace period for new permits)
New Mexico2017 (2/1/2018)Update process underway(Effective date not established)
New York2017 (5/12/2020)
North Carolina2017 (6/12/2018)Update process underway(Effective date not established)
North Dakota2020 (1/1/2021)
Ohio2017 Commercial (11/1/2017) 2017, with Ohio amendments
One-, two- and three-family dwellings (7/1/2019)
Update process underway(Effective date not established)
Oklahoma2014 Commercial (11/1/2015) Residential 2015 IRC ElectricalChapters (11/1/2016)Update process (2017) underway (effective date not established)
Oregon2020 with OR amendments (4/1/2021)
Pennsylvania2014Update (2017) process underway (Effective date not established)
Rhode Island2017 (8/1/2019)Update process underway (Effective date not established)
South Carolina2017 with SC amendments (1/1/2020)
South Dakota2020 (7/1/2020)
Tennessee2017 (10/1/2018)
Texas2020 (11/1/2020)
Utah2017Commercial (7/1/2018)2014
One- and two-family dwellings (7/1/2016)
Update process underway(7/1/2021)
Vermont2017 with Vermont amendments (10/1/2017)Update process underway (Effective date not established)
Virginia2014
Washington2020 (10/29/2020)
West Virginia2017 (3/24/2020)
Wisconsin2017 Commercial (8/1/2018)One- and two-family dwellings (1/1/2020)
Wyoming2020 (7/1/2020)
Chicago2017 with Chicago amendments (3/1/2018)
New York City2008 w/NYC amendments (7/1/2011)2014 (effective date not established
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