Outlets In The Basement (All You Need to Know!)

The placement of outlets across your basement will also depend on its condition. Is the basement finished or unfinished? Does the basement have everything you need to turn it into a livable space?

The height of the outlets (including the number) will rely on utility-based regulations. Paying attention to the basement for the first time can be daunting, especially if you focus too much on maintenance.

With the installation of outlets, you can improve the functionality of your basement, but that requires strategic placement and planning.

How High are Outlets Should Be In A Basement?

As per the building code in the US that varies from state to state, you have to comply with the maximum and minimum outlet heights inside your home. Whether it’s the basement or the living room, the building code requires you to adhere to and follow set parameters when installing outlets.

You can also assume the same for a receptacle or GFCI outlet. The standard height of the outlets in the basement should be 15” as the National Electrical Code states. Some homeowners have varying ideas about how high the electrical outlets should be. By consensus, the ideal height is somewhere around 16” or even 18”.

As per homeowners, outlets at that height look good on walls and improve their functionality. It ensures that one doesn’t have to push their arm behind the couch to connect the charging shoe. On the other hand, an electrician might suggest going to an electrical outlet cover 18” from the receptacle box’s top.

No matter what height you choose for the electrical outlets in your basement, you will have to stick with the building code. Note that the baseboard heaters don’t fall under such compliance, and you don’t have to adhere to minimum outlet heights for them.

What Is Code For Outlets In Unfinished/Finished Basement?

The electrical and building code that affects the placement of outlets in finished/unfinished basements varies slightly from state to state. So, it’s best to seek professional help and use all the necessary tips to make the safest decisions.

As some electrical code tips go, you can’t keep a barrier underneath an outlet that spreads for more than 25”. That measurement is the maximum you can reach for an outlet, especially when you have a shelf or counter below it.

Also, the electrical code suggests you should wire the outlets to the ground screws properly. Grounding the outlet and the receptacle box is necessary. If you have a finished basement, consider flushing the outlet boxes to the wall.

You must prevent any unusual gaps between the receptacle/outlet boxes and the interior basement décor. Ensure you flush the outlet boxes to the walls carefully if you have insulation. Otherwise, it can be a nightmare.

Without proper flushing, the outlets might damage the insulation material, especially if it’s flammable. Besides, you may already know how quickly a fire can catch and spread to the rest of the house due to a faulty outlet if it’s not flushed and in contact with the insulation material.

While we’re discussing the need to flush the outlet boxes near insulation, make sure you check out the building codes and electrical installation guidelines for homes or commercial spaces in your region. Local building and electrical guidelines will make sure you make informed and safe decisions.

How Many Outlets Should Be in a Basement?

Your basement is ready, and you’re all set to have a studio, gaming studio, theater, or family home. Whether an unfinished or finished basement, if you have a 20 amp breaker in a single circuit, you can have nearly 13 outlets (max).

Similarly, if you have a 15 amp breaker in a single circuit, you can get no more than 10 outlets (max). Also, don’t leave over 6’ walls without any outlets. Any wall height of 24’ or higher requires an outlet.

You may already know that overloading a single outlet can be quite dangerous as it could catch fire and cause damage to electrical devices attached to it. For that main reason, some people think that rather than overloading a single outlet, they should install multiple in a space such as a basement.

For your information, it will be just as dangerous if you exceed the limit of installing electric outlet boxes in the basement. Instead, you should consider reducing your electricity use. Installing multiple outlets and going over the limits stated in the electrical code for building basements means incurring a penalty and damage.

How Far To Space Outlets in Basement?

It’s a common thought about how far each outlet should be? With the most intriguing stories about houses burning down due to a faulty outlet, homeowners tend to get every question answered before doing something slightly similar.

For your information, the building and electrical code doesn’t impose any restrictions on the distance between outlets. You can have a separate circuit for your basement and install multiple outlets near each other to power other appliances.

However, the code suggests keeping an ample distance of 12 feet between each outlet to ensure safety. While this isn’t strictly imposed, you should comply with it when necessary.

Do You Need GFCI Outlets in the Basement?

Now, we will talk about outlets in unfinished basements. Several homeowners struggle to figure out whether they require a GFCI outlet or not.

The answer to your query: you need a single GFCI outlet on one circuit at the minimum if your basement is unfinished. The unfinished spaces have more moisture and, therefore, remain wet for considerably longer. So, the use of GFCI outlets can prevent any dangerous incident from taking place by tripping the circuit right on time.

Concrete can also have a lot of water, and the GFCI can trigger the circuit breaker for safety. How does that happen?

The GCFI circuit can detect changes in the current movement that occur due to moisture content in the wall it’s attached to. That can save you not only money, time, and energy but also your life in an emergency.


You’re well aware of the best strategic placement of outlets inside the house. Of course, living in the modern technological age, you have to keep an electric outlet or two nearby.

Where do you plunge the charge when the battery’s about to die, and you’re working from home? In such cases or others, you need to use the electrical facilities.

At first, placing outlets around the house might appear simple, but when you get to it, it can be one of the most brain-puzzling jobs.

So, give a considerable amount of thought and time before choosing the ideal outlet locations in the basement.

Reference Links: