The people at American Mechanical expect homeowners to plug refrigerators into standard 120V outlets that accept three prongs unless the situation suggests otherwise. However, if you don’t have an outlet in the first place and you want to install one, how high should an outlet be for a refrigerator?
There is no standard refrigerator outlet height. The NEC has sections that regulate the distance between countertops and the nearest receptacle. Every point in a room to be a maximum of six feet away from the nearest outlet. You also have the Americans with Disabilities Act which doesn’t want outlets to be lower than 19 inches.
Average Outlet Height For Refrigerator
|Not Higher Than 66 Inches
|Not Lower Than 19 inches
This question is difficult to answer for many electricians because the law doesn’t have that much to say about the best fridge outlet height.
Some people live in places with building codes and local regulations that specify outlet height. But in most places, contractors don’t have a standard height to which they are expected to adhere
What Height Should A Refrigerator Outlet Be?
Professional electricians are expected to make an educated selection. They typically base their choice on factors such as the following:
1). Easy Accessibility
First of all, your contractor has to consider the other items in the room. They cannot place the outlet in a position where furniture, stoves, washing machines, and other obstructions can block it.
Sometimes, they can solve the issue of obstructions by placing the outlet in a new location. In other situations, they have to raise the outlet above the obstructions.
Accessibility matters as much to the electrician as it does to the homeowner. The outlet has to be positioned in a way that allows them to reach it for inspection, repair, and replacement purposes without damaging the structure around it.
If you have to climb a ladder to reach a socket, it is probably too high.
2). Cord Not Far Down Or High
More often than not, the location of the refrigerator’s power cord will determine the refrigerator outlet height. Some power cords are attached to the bottom of the appliance. Others are attached to the middle.
The height of the outlet has to accommodate the reach of the cord. If the outlet is so far down or so high up that the cord has to stretch to reach it, the outlet is in the wrong place.
3). Location Must Match NEC Guideline
Where do you want to place the refrigerator? The NEC has guidelines that determine the location of outlets in places like the kitchen, bathroom, and garage. As such, before you consider the height, you have to take into account factors such as the outlet’s distance from the countertop.
Refrigerator Receptacle Code Height
Most countries don’t have a standard refrigerator outlet height to which electricians are expected to adhere. However, as was also noted above, the NEC has a lot to say about the location of receptacles in certain rooms. Those regulations may indirectly affect the height of your refrigerator’s outlet, for instance:
1). American Disabilities Act
The ADA is designed to cater to the physical needs of disabled people. For that reason, it doesn’t want contractors to place outlets in places where disabled persons may struggle to reach them.
The act doesn’t specify a height for refrigerator outlets.
But it expects contractors to install receptacles (Electrical and Communications) at a minimum of 15 inches above the floor.
This doesn’t apply to outlets that the occupants of a building are unlikely to use.
The ADA doesn’t want electrical outlets to be lower than 19 inches. If you want your property to meet ADA standards, your refrigerator outlets should fall somewhere within the range stated above.
2). The NEC
According to Hunker, the NEC does not want the distance between any given point in a room and an outlet to exceed 6 feet. Based on the interpretation of some electricians, that regulation means that receptacles cannot be higher than 66 inches.
The NEC also expects all receptacles in a kitchen to be within 24 inches of the countertops in the vicinity. This matters to your refrigerator. If you want to place the outlet that will power the appliance above the countertop, the distance between the outlet and the counter cannot exceed 24 inches.
As you can see, the layperson requires a qualified electrician that can take all these factors into account before identifying the appropriate refrigerator outlet height.
Protocol Reviews has taken some of the complications out of this discussion. First of all, they believe that 48 inches (off the floor) are a great height for outlets.
The California Building Code agrees with them. It doesn’t want outlets to exceed 48 inches. Secondly, from what the people at Protocol Reviews have seen, you can save a lot of time by leaning a conventional 22-ounce framing hammer against the wall.
The length of the tool is equivalent to the appropriate distance between the floor and your refrigerator’s outlet. The outlet should sit just above the hammer.
Where Should Refrigerator Outlets Be Placed?
Technically speaking, the location doesn’t matter. Many people install them in the kitchen. But you can place the refrigerator in any room you see fit.
If you read the NEC and ADA, you will notice their guidance is concerned with the maximum and minimum height. But they haven’t set a standard height that all contractors are expected to use.
In that regard, you can leave this decision in the hands of your electrician. They will identify a height that is most suitable for you and your refrigerator’s power cord.