Article 100 Definitions. Receptacle.

Plug and play ceiling fan. Push up and twist lock it in place.
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Plug and play ceiling fan. Push up and twist lock it in place.

Code Change Summary: The definition of a “Receptacle” has changed.

A receptacle is always an outlet but an outlet is not only a receptacle. Ceiling fans, luminaires and other hard wired connections are all connected to outlets. An outlet is defined as “A point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment”.

A receptacle however has always been something that an attachment plug is connected to. With the introduction of new products comes the need to revise certain code definitions.

Now, the 2017 NEC definition of a receptacle includes “devices for the direct connection of electrical utilization equipment designed to mate with the corresponding contact device”. This makes it clear that other products, like in the image, are considered to be receptacles even if a plug cap is not used.

Below is a preview of Article 100. See the actual NEC text at NFPA.ORG for the complete code section. Once there, click on their link to free access to the 2017 NEC edition of NFPA 70.

2014 Code Language:

Receptacle. A receptacle is a contact device installed at the outlet for the connection of an attachment plug. A single receptacle is a single contact device with no other contact device on the same yoke. A multiple receptacle is two or more contact devices on the same yoke.

2017 Code Language:

Receptacle. A contact device installed at the outlet for the connection of an attachment plug, or for the direct connection of electrical utilization equipment designed to mate with the corresponding contact device. A single receptacle is a single contact device with no other contact device on the same yoke. A multiple receptacle is two or more contact devices on the same yoke. (CMP-18)


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Article 100 Definitions. Receptacle.

Below is a Real Question from our Electrical Continuing Education Courses for Electrical License Renewal:

Which of the following is a receptacle?

A: A hard wired connection for a waste disposer.
B: A contact device that is designed for the direct connection of utilization equipment and designed to mate with the corresponding contact device.
C: A switch mounted on a freestanding 4x4 post.
D: All contact devices are receptacles.
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