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Can You Put an Outlet in the Ceiling? (Read This First!)

Electrical outlets in residential and commercial buildings are crucial as they allow us to power various electrical devices. Sometimes, we run out of electrical outlets to power our electrical appliances. 

Therefore, you should install a sufficient number of electrical outlets installed at convenient places.

Can you put an outlet in the ceiling?

The National Electrical Code (NEC) allows the installation of electrical outlets in the roofs. However, you should check your building codes to see if you can install an additional outlet on the roof. Since the NEC allows the installations of outlets in the top, it is allowable.

Nowadays, we use devices that require a direct electrical connection. To power these electrical devices, we have electrical outlets. Having an adequate number of electrical outlets can be beneficial and convenient.

There are certain rooms in homes where having multiple electrical outlets are required. The kitchen is a great example where you need a lot of outlets to power the various kitchen appliances and the refrigerator. Another example is the garage or shed.

Some garages have electric garage doors. By flipping a switch, you can close or open the garage door. To power a garage door, an electrical outlet is required.

In a ceiling box:

When an electrical outlet is to be installed in the ceiling, a ceiling box is installed to house the electrical outlet. You can find ceiling boxes in garages, sheds, and workshops. Ceiling boxes hold the electrical outlets that power hanging lights, garage doors, etc.

Ceiling electrical outlet boxes are installed before the wiring is done. This technique ensures that the wiring is continuous between the electrical outlets in the ceiling box and the electrical panel. 

There are different types of ceiling boxes available, and depending on the completion status of the ceiling, the category of the ceiling box is chosen.

In a drop ceiling:

Sometimes, electrical outlets have to be installed in drop ceilings. For example,  projectors are used in a classroom or conference room. To power the projector, an electrical outlet is installed on the roof.

Installing electrical outlets in a drop ceiling is allowed by the National Electrical Code (NEC). The NEC, however, mentions that it will be a violation of code if the flexible cord is exposed. 

You can install an electrical outlet above the drop ceiling or in the drop ceiling, but you will have to cover the wires.

Why would you put an outlet on the ceiling?

You may wonder why you may want to put an outlet on the ceiling. Below are some reasons:

Garage doors:

Nowadays, most homes come with electrical garage doors. With the flip of a switch, the garage door opens automatically. Previously, garage doors had to be opened manually, which was exhausting. To power a garage door, it needs a power outlet. 

So, if you have an electrical outlet on the ceiling, you can use that to provide the garage door with electricity.

Smoke detectors:

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors require electricity to work. Since these are installed on the ceilings in different rooms, electrical outlets need to be installed to power these devices.


Projectors are widely used. However, when power outlets are not installed on the ceiling, extension cords have to be used to power the projector. Lack of an electrical outlet causes the hassle of carrying wires. 

Having an electrical outlet on the ceiling removes the need for an extension cord.

Workshop machines:

In the workshop, there are different machines. Some are heavy-duty machines, and some are light machines. Heavy types of machinery that require electricity, such as an electrical saw, draw power from power outlets located on the ceilings. 

Connecting these devices to electrical outlets on the roof helps avoid a mess of wires.

These reasons are why you should install an electrical outlet on the ceiling.

What is the code for installing electrical outlets?

NEC 210-52 is the code for installing electrical outlets. This code explains where and how they should be installed. It also defines the space between two outlets.

The NEC code 210-52 states, “Generally, receptacle outlets in habitable rooms shall be installed so that no point along the floor line (measured horizontally) in any wall space is more than 6 feet from an outlet in that space. An outlet shall be installed in each wall space 2 feet or more in width.”

The code means that an electrical outlet should be within 6 feet from any point along the floor line. Moreover, you must install an outlet in a wall space of 2 feet or more in thickness.

How to put an outlet in the ceiling?

Installing an outlet in the ceiling is simple. Follow the steps below:

Turn off the circuit breaker:

Turn off the circuit breaker since you will be working with electrical components. Stopping the flow of electricity will prevent injuries and electrocution.

Make a hole in the roof:

You will need to make a hole in the ceiling to run the electrical wire. Drill where you want to install the electrical outlet.

Connect the wire to the closest electrical outlet:

The wire you have put through the hole will supply the new power outlet with power. So, take the wire and connect it to another electrical outlet closest to the new one.

Install the after-works electrical container:

Place the after-works electrical box on the ceiling and create a rough outline with a pencil. Use a drywall saw to cut the wall and place the holder. The after-works electrical box will hold the electrical outlet.


Before installing the electrical outlet, you have to connect the wires first. Connect the live wire to the gold terminal. Then, join the neutral to the silver terminal and the ground to the green terminal.

Secure the screws of the terminal and install the electrical outlet in the outlet box. Screw the outlet to the container to secure it.

Finishing up:

After you are done installing the new electrical outlet on the ceiling, install the outlet cover to give it a professional and clean look.

Can you put an outlet above a drop ceiling?

The National Electrical Code (NEC) does not prohibit the installation of an electrical outlet above a drop ceiling. Therefore, you can install an outlet above a drop ceiling.

However, you cannot install a power outlet above a drop ceiling if the flexible cord is exposed. The existence of the exposed cable is a violation of the NEC. You can install an outlet facing down on the drop ceiling.

Can I mount a garage door outlet in the ceiling?

Installing a garage door means that you will have to have an electrical outlet to power it. You can install an electrical outlet for the garage door in the garage ceiling.

If you have a garage door outlet on the ceiling, it will be easier for you to power the garage door. You can install a power outlet for the garage door with basic knowledge. Although simple, it is recommended that you call for an electrician to do the task.

What boxes are used to install ceiling outlets?

Depending on the completion status of the building, the type of box for ceiling outlets is chosen. If the wiring is complete, after-works gang boxes are used. If the ceiling is incomplete, ordinary electrical outlet boxes are used.

Usually, 2-gang, 3-gang, or 4-gang boxes are used to hold ceiling outlets. These boxes come in different shapes and can contain a variety of electrical outlets.

How much does it cost to install an outlet in a ceiling?

It usually takes about $351 to install an outlet in a ceiling. The typical range of getting an outlet installed on the roof is $351-$424. The price depends on the quality of work and the type of electrical outlet.

Installing an electrical outlet on the ceiling is simple. With basic knowledge, you can install it yourself and save significant money. Since the work deals with electrical components, it is suggested to ask an electrician to do the task for you.

Final Thoughts

Since the National Electrical Code does not prohibit the installation of a power outlet in the ceiling, you can put an outlet in the roof. Although the task is simple and you can do it yourself, you should hire an electrician to do the job as it deals with electrical components.