How do I figure out how many outlets I need?


How do I determine how many outlets I need in my new house. My house was built in 1940 and never updated, so there are just too few outlets for my 21st century family, and I can see that for safety's sake I have to rewire the whole house to bring up to todays standards.

  8 answers
  • Maureen McAteer Vasily Maureen McAteer Vasily on Aug 11, 2018

    I updated a 100 year old house with new electricity a number of years ago. In bedrooms I put three outlets in each as well as lighting switches for closet and ceiling lights. In the living/family room I mentally placed my furniture around and made sure there was an outlet on each side of the 'imaginary couch' and one on each side of the fireplace, The dining room took three outlets (once again using that imaginary furniture). The kitchen was the biggest outlet needed area. You will need dedicated lines for the refrigerator and one for the stove. I have six to eight more outlets around the counters and such. I hope this has helped.

  • Maureen McAteer Vasily Maureen McAteer Vasily on Aug 11, 2018

    Oh, if you want to have window air conditioners, you might need dedicated lines for each one or at least an outlet to the side of each window.

    • Henrietta Henrietta on Aug 12, 2018

      I didn't even think of that - hmm, so do I want to bring my window air conditioners, or install a couple of those mini split air conditioners - which may need a special outlet of their own...

  • Kelli L. Milligan Kelli L. Milligan on Aug 11, 2018

    I try to pit at least 2 on each wall or every 6 o 8 ft. You'll need to hire or consult a pro regarding your areas building codes as to the min. Needed and what type of outlets needed.

    • Henrietta Henrietta on Aug 12, 2018

      Theres an idea an "electrical inspection" seems to be what its called, with a professional to whom I can tell what I need...

  • Good thinking! Take a clipboard with a notepad. Walk the house room by room. Make note of existing outlets. Think about what you intend to do in each room. Computers, printers, cell phones, gaming systems and probably stuff I don't even know about, all need electricity. You need outlets for lamps too if not enough over head lighting is available. Then, no matter what you think you need, add one more outlet per room, and in public rooms, add two more.

    Family rooms, great rooms, whatever you wish to call them will need lots of outlets. I have never had a party where several guests need to charge their phones or some other gizmo or gadget.

    Kitchens too need lots of outlets for all the necessary items. Food processor, stand mixer, hand mixer, coffee maker, toaster, microwave, multiple cockpot (s) when entertaining, can opener, the list can go on and on.

    Then find convenient spots to locate them. Walk your electrician through and make sure you have every outlet and switch plate mapped out so nothing gets overlooked.

  • Janice Janice on Aug 11, 2018

    Since you're doing the entire house, here's your chance to figure out where you want to have extra outlets. However, keep in mind that local codes/regulations will need to be adhered to and inspected. I believe there are now minimum numbers of outlets required (perhaps every 6-8 feet) in remodels. Check with your local/city building department for guidelines. You can add more, just not less than the minimum and they'll have guidelines as to how close the outlets can be to water supply. Big brother watching out for us. :) :( whichever way you look at it.

  • Lina Splichal Lina Splichal on Aug 11, 2018

    Hen332 We put 2-4 outlets on each wall of our kitchen because kitchens have a ton of small electrical appliances. In our other rooms we put outlets at the rate of 2 every 6 feet. If you think you may need more you can put 4 instead of 2. Think about how you use and expect to use the rooms before deciding on placements. You might want to put some near the floor, some at chair height (for desktops, charging stations, vacuuming, etc., and some high on the wall (for clocks, strip lights, etc. Good luck on your project.

  • Code will dictate how many to add. In my state (Maryland), it's every 4 feet.

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Dec 05, 2020

    I'd check with a licensed electrical contractor.