It surprises me that codes have to be written to cover common sense things, like the question: should appliance receptacles be accessible?
Over the years I have seen book shelves built in offices that cover two of the receptacles in a room without any access to them. Well, (National Electric Code) NEC 314.29 says that all electrical junction boxes have to be "accessible without removing any part of the building."
A built-in book case would apply here. How about a long, completely-filled book case that is not attached but covers two receptacles? Why would anyone want to split that hair? What about common sense?
In this final walk through of new construction I had two such questions.
One was a dishwasher that was installed such that it must plug in to a receptacle.
That's fine, except the receptacle was on the floor and behind the dishwasher!
The dishwasher will be screwed into the counter top or cabinet. How can that receptacle be accessed? How would anyone know it is there? Isn't it vulnerable to water lying on the floor behind the unit? Ummmm....
Behind the range the large-amperage electric cable went through a panel screwed into the wall. What's back there? Is the range directly hard-wired? Is there a junction back there of wire nuts connecting the service cable to the range cable? Is there a receptacle back there?
But the code answers this. NEC 422.16 (B) addresses the wiring of appliances in various statements. It covers many appliances and states things like cable length, protecting the cable from damage, having a dedicated circuit, and so forth. But it also says that when an appliance is plugged into a receptacle, like kitchen ranges have been for decades, "the receptacle is accessible."
Now that is merely common sense!
This is a high-end range, in a very large kitchen, in a very expensive house.
AND THOSE FACTS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CODE!
The same codes that apply to this house apply to the most basic condo or townhouse or basement kitchenette. Electrical junctions, which would INCLUDE receptacles, and appliance receptacles themselves, are covered by the code.
Junctions and receptacles codes are also covered by common sense and by Mother Nature.
Mother Nature will enforce all codes whether we mere humans think to write the codes, apply the codes, or enforce the codes ourselves. Her code book is much bigger than ours!
AND SHE WILL ENFORCE CODES WITH IMPUNITY!
Impunity I tell you! Look at her! Do you want to test that? Be my guest.
My recommendation: don't bury your electrical connections, like junctions or receptacles. It isn't smart. It also isn't to code. I am not a code enforcer, but I do have a phone. I can git'r dun. And another piece of advice -- don't fool with Mother Nature.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560