Q. Hallway Outlets

I know that in living spaces — such as bedrooms or dining rooms — the NEC requires an outlet in every wall that is longer than 2 feet, and that the outlets can’t be greater than 12 feet apart. But what about hallways? Do the same rules apply? And for the purpose of locating electrical outlets, when is a hallway not a hallway?

A.Harlan Madsen, an electrical contractor in Bloomington, Minn., responds: Hallways are a gray area in the NEC. While Article 210.52(H) requires at least one receptacle in hallways that are 10 feet (or more) in length, the NEC doesn’t clearly define what a hallway is. Our rule of thumb is that if it looks like a hallway, it is, regardless of whether there are wider areas where a desk or a chair could be located. When in doubt, we always check with the GC to clarify the plans, and add outlets as needed to satisfy the client.