I have a customer who wants to put a peninsular counter(7 1/2') in his kitchen between the living room and the kitchen. There is no wall there now. I know I need at least one gfci receptacle for the counter, but what about the living room side of the counter? Is that now considered a wall space in the living room, and need receptacles spaced properly? If it does need receptacles on the living room side, do they need to be no lower that 12" from the top of the counter? Thanks Ron
You bring up a good issue, and I supose it comes down to a judgement call, influenced by such details as whether the "living room" side doubles as a bar, or if there are lights in the ceiling around or above it.
Kitchen islands and penninsulas present unique challenges to the electrician, and the code doesn't (in my opinion) address them very well. I believe that the counter-top receptacle requirement is predicated on the assumption that some sort of appliance will be used atop the counter. Where some feature of the design precludes the use of appliances- such as a sink or cooktop- I don't think a receptacle is needed.
Likewise, the "six foot rule" for placing receptacles on the wall.....no point along the floor line being more than six feet from a receptacle.....seems to assume a floor or table lamp with a six foot cord. With that in mind, a penninsula almost seems to be a traffic area, much like a hall or a doorway, and I don't thing a receptacle would be needed.
If you are placing a receptacle for this reason, then you are not "using" it to serve the counter, and it would not have to be within 12" of the top. Likewise, a receptacle more than 12" below the top would not qualify as a required receptacle for the top.
My father's house (built 1999) has a kitchen island that has a similar issue. One side faces the kitchen, separating it from the primary entertainment area, with both sharing a common high ceiling. The island actually has 2 levels of counter space with the upper level being more outward to the living area, and extends outward in a fashion apparently expected to be a bar area for high stools. The vertical space between these 2 levels has just enough room for 2 duplex receptacles oriented horizontally on the 2 counter top GFCI circuits.
There were no receptacles installed on the living area facing side. The bar isn't being used as a bar, and the lack of receptacles there is actually an annoyance, despite the counter top overhanging this part by about 14 inches.
I can't tell you if the code would require this or not. I don't know if it should or not. But I can say that I am considering installing a couple of receptacles there for him. I just don't know if they would need to be GFCI or not (they could, in theory, get used for appliances on the island counter for some reason). My father wants to plug in a vaccum cleaner there. There are no convenient outlets anywhere else within perhaps 15 feet or more.
My recommendation is at least treat it as living area wall if it faces a living area.