floor outlet receptacle

The cover on a floor outlet receptacle - does it have to be flush with floor? Or just ‘should be’ to not be trip hazard?
Couldn’t find in IRC.

The ones I have seen are always flush with the floor.

It is raised about 1/4", plastic.

It does not “have” to be flush. You are correct, the only issue is a trip hazard.
Typically in a home they are under furniture. MANY I have seen and installed were not flush.

Plastic would not be an approved floor outlet. Most are brass with metal covers when the outlet is not in use.

There are several brands of approved plastic floorbox covers. They are about 1/4" high with rounded edges. They will protrude when installed on a non carpeted floor.


Floor receptacles without approved covers are a fire issue.

Picture the four year old with a cup of juice and it falls out of his/her hand and onto the floor and the juice seeps right into the receptacle. Sparks everywhere.

I recommend (to my clients) that all horizontal floor receptacles be terminated and capped. When I do find these, there’s only one or two in the house.

  1. Where was it stated that we were talking about boxes without approved covers???
    Did I miss something?

  2. I did not know juice could make “sparks”.
    Sorry, this will NOT happen.

  3. What is a “horizontal” floor box???

That is profoundly untrue. The Carlon B121BFBRW and B121BFBR are two such examples of listed floor receptacles with nonmetallic covers (UL File #E42728 ). Cover plates for floor boxes are investigated under ANSI/UL 514C, which clearly permits floor box covers to be metallic or nonmetallic.

FYI…Just got this last week…

  1. Lamson & Sessions Recalls Floor Electrical Outlets Due to Shock or
    Electrocution Hazards

I stand corrected about plastic. But I have never seen one (until now online).

Plastic suddenly becomes more desireable when the customer sees how much the brass ones cost.

That’s right. I know my cost on the brass floor receptacle cover alone is 40 bucks, wholesale.

I’m assuming the juice is water based. If the hot and neutral contacts of the floor outlet were flooded with the juice, could not arcing and or a short occur?

I’ve seen the cleaning lady short out a floor outlet while mopping.

You are correct this "issue’ is not addressed in the IRC.

So it does not “have to be flush”.

Also while some covers are “flat” and fit flush into the floor, others are beveled and “rise” a little above the floor but the edges fit “into” the floor covering.
If this is the case this would be a non-issue.

Just curious, where is it located, Hallway, Bedroom, etc. are there other electrical outlets within 6 feet?

Is the floor hardwood, vinyl, ceramic tile or carpeted?

If the unfinished *edges *of the receptacle are slightly raised above the floor then there MIGHT BE the *potential *to “stub a toe or cut your feet.”
If that is the case then I would report it as a “potential” safety hazard.

But from your post I do not believe that any of the unfinished edges are exposed so once again this would be a non-issue.

There are two separate floor outlets in family room, ceramic tile floor. Walls are further than 6’ from outlets.

The covers are slightly ‘domed’, overall height is appx. 1/4". The covers sit on top of floor, not ‘into’ floor surface.

Can’t see the height in pic,


There are two separate floor outlets in family room, ceramic tile floor. Walls are further than 6’ from outlets.
Hi Linda,
I don’t know the size of this room but that is probably why you have receptacles in the floor
I have seen this type of floor “mounted” receptacle many, many times. It is not unusual and they only “problem” here is that the covering is ugly and does not match the ceramic tile.
The covers are slightly ‘domed’, overall height is appx. 1/4". The covers sit on top of floor, not ‘into’ floor surface.
Since the edges are rounded and not "sharp "this covers the “tripping issue”. Once again the coverings are ugly but do not pose a tripping hazard.
Can’t see the height in pic,

Here is the information from the IRC covering this issue. I have also looked into the IBC, and The ICC electrical codes. None of them address the “height issue”.

2006 international residential code for one and two family dwellings
**E3801.2.1 Spacing. **
Receptacles shall be installed so that no point measured horizontally along the floor line in any wall space is more than 6 feet (1829 mm), from a receptacle outlet.
E3801.2.2 Wall space.
As used in this section, a wall space shall include the following:

  1. Any space that is 2 feet (610 mm) or more in width, (including space measured around corners), and that is unbroken along the floor line by doorways, fireplaces, and similar openings.
  2. The space occupied by fixed panels in exterior walls, excluding sliding panels.
  3. The space created by fixed room dividers such as railings and freestanding bar-type counters
    **E3801.2.3 Floor receptacles. **
    Receptacle outlets in floors shall not be counted as part of the required number of receptacle outlets except where located within 18 inches (457 mm) of the wall.

Do yourself a favor. Pour a liquid of your choice into one of these receptacles and simply observe.

Where did I state “horizontal floor box”? I’ve never heard of one.

It says “Horizontal floor receptacle”

If the receptacle is not protected in any way, I write it up. This is one of many protective covers that I’d like to see.


Sorry David, wrong word. Floor receptacle. SEMANTICS in this case.

I still ask, what is a horizontal floor receptacle? And if it has a legal floor cover why would your write it up?

Of course you should write it up if not a proper floor receptacle box/cover. No one ever disputed this.

I HAVE seen liquid in a receptacle, and it never “sparked”. Water IS NOT a good conductor. Especially not enough to create a bolted fault.

If a floor receptacle is located more than 18" from a wall it cannot be counted towards the “required” receptacles in a room. Once it goes beyond this 18" it hold NO bearing on the other receptacles in the room and is simply a convenience receptacle.

The fact that it is within 6’ from another receptacle is meaningless. For one thing, to be counted as a required receptacle it can be 12’ away, not 6’.