Are you thinking of putting an outlet under a window? Well, then you might be wondering if it breaks any residential codes.
You might also want to know if an outlet under a window can cause any fire or electrical accidents. Let’s get to know everything about putting an outlet under a window.
Can you put an outlet under a window?
Outlets cannot be installed in spaces that are broken by doorways, moving wall panels, and fireplaces. Regular windows are not considered broken spaces. So, you can put an outlet under a window. You should use GFCI protected outlets that stop the power due to a ground fault to avert fire accidents.
You can put an outlet below a window as long as the window is not a ceiling-to-floor unit. If the window is of normal size, that means if the size is 24×36 inches, you can install an electrical outlet without any issues.
However, if the window goes up to the floor from the ceiling, it will be counted as a broken space. And according to the residential code, no outlet can be installed in a broken space.
As a result, you can install an electrical or receptacle outlet under a window unless it is a ceiling-to-floor window.
Let’s take a look in detail at if you can put an electrical outlet and receptacle outlet below a window.
You can put an electrical outlet under a window without breaching any residential code. You can use the electrical outlet under the window for any purpose.
According to most residential codes, you can’t put an electrical outlet in broken spaces like doorways, moving wall panels, and fireplaces. However, regular-sized windows are not considered broken spaces as they have enough space underneath.
In fact, any space that has a minimum height of two feet can have an outlet. So, you can add an outlet below the regular-sized windows.
That being said, no outlets can be added above baseboard heaters if you have baseboard heating below your window. You must maintain proper space away from the baseboard heaters while installing the electrical outlet.
A receptacle outlet is basically a combination of one or more outlets engineered into a single outlet box. It functions the same way as an electrical outlet in terms of providing electric power to the appliances.
You can plug in multiple appliances together in a receptacle outlet. You can connect any appliance that fits beside or below your window into the receptacle outlet under the window.
However, make sure that the appliances don’t draw more load than the capacity of the outlets’ capacitor. If you connect two heavy appliances together into the outlet, you might risk tripping the circuit breaker.
Is it safe to install an outlet under a window?
A window that doesn’t go to the floor is treated similarly to other walls of your house. So, it is definitely safe to install an outlet under a window.
In fact, there is no residential code that stops residents from installing outlets under windows due to safety issues.
However, you need to make sure that water doesn’t leak through the window before placing an outlet below it. If water comes in through the window, it can cause a major electrical accident as water and electricity don’t go well together.
How close can an outlet be to a window? How much clearance do you need for an outlet?
An outlet needs to be 15 to 48 inches above the floor and it should be at least 5 inches below the window. You can place one electrical or receptacle outlet under one window. You will basically need 6 feet of clearance for an outlet.
You will need to ensure that the outlet is not very close to the window. This is due to the fact that a small amount of water can come in through the windows during rain if you keep the window open.
The water can create a fire accident in no time. So, you should not install an outlet very close to the window.
An outlet should be placed 6 feet apart from each other. This is because the electric wiring under the wall can get shorted if the outlets are too close to each other.
3 reasons why you can install an outlet below the window
There are plenty of reasons for which you can install an outlet below the window. It can be anything from plugging in heavy appliances to connecting decorative lights.
Have a look at 3 reasons why you can install an outlet under the window.
Plugging in large appliance:
You can install an outlet under a window for plugging in large appliances like refrigerators, heaters, freezers, washing machines, and more. Large appliances need a lot of electric power and current.
So, proper grounding is necessary for the outlet you are going to connect those large appliances to so that electricity doesn’t leak through them. And proper grounding is possible in the lower outlets such as the one below a window.
For decorative lights:
You might use decorative lights in your windows to enhance the aesthetics of your room and make the room eye-catching. To connect the decorative lights you will need an outlet.
If you plug in the decorative lights on some other outlet, you will have messy wiring all around the room.
It will be best if you can connect the lights very close to the windows as the wires will mostly remain hidden. So, you can install an outlet under a window for decorative lights.
You can also put an outlet under a window to build a charging station for your mobile, laptop, and other accessories. By putting a charging station under your window, you can easily access all your devices.
Can an outlet be added anywhere?
An outlet can be added anywhere as long as there is enough space at least 15 inches above the floor for installing it. An outlet can be added to any wall which doesn’t have a broken space like a doorway, ceiling-to-floor window, and fireplaces.
In fact, according to Section 210.52 of the US National Electrical Code, the kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, living room, and the family room should have an outlet. They must be installed every twelve feet along the floor line at the very least.
Before adding the outlet anywhere in your house, look for studs using an electric stud finder. You can install an electrical outlet anywhere between those two studs that you detect.
How do I install an outlet below the window?
Installing an outlet below the window won’t be that complicated if you follow the installation process properly.
You will need a bit of effort and time to perfectly add an outlet below the window. You will also need to follow proper safety measures so that you don’t get electrocuted during the process.
Let’s have a look at how you should install an outlet under the window.
Select a window:
Choose a window in which you want to install the outlet. You should choose a spot that will serve the purpose for which you are installing the output.
Switch off the main power:
You will need a nearby old outlet to feed power to the new one under the window. You can use a voltage meter to determine which wire is hot and which is neutral on the old outlet.
To avoid being shocked, turn off the power once you’ve finished checking. You should turn the power totally during the whole installation process to avoid getting shocked.
Find space between the studs:
Then, you should find a space between the studs. You can use an automatic stud finder to detect a particular space between a couple of studs.
Cut a hole and feed the power cabl:
To fit the outlet box, you should cut a hole into the drywall. Then, cut a hole in the outlet box with a drill. Be very careful while drilling to avoid accidentally cutting the existing wires.
Install the new outlet box:
After having the cables in place, you should install the new outlet box below the window. Put the outlet plate on after connecting the wires to the newly installed outlet.
You can put an outlet under all normal-sized windows and there is no building code that can stop you from doing that. However, if the window goes to the ground from the ceiling, you cannot install an out under that window. This is because outlets need to be at least 15 inches above the ground.