You probably have already seen a plugmold, but you don’t know it. It is something that can make your work with electric kitchen appliances safer. So, in this article, I’ll discuss plugmold under cabinet – pros, cons, and tips.
A plugmold is a strip of electrical outlets installed under upper cabinets, usually in the kitchen. That makes it unnecessary to install electrical outlets on the backsplash, which is dangerous because of the danger of short circuits. At times, at least one plugmold is installed because of the need to use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets.
The 2020 National Electrification Code (NEC) regulation says there should be at least one electrical outlet on a kitchen countertop or island. The receptacle should be within nine square feet of an island countertop. In other words, you can say that plugmold is required by law.
Read on to learn more about plugmolds under cabinets, why you need them, their pros and cons, and tips on the best plugmolds you can use.
Plugmold Under Cabinet
Strip of Convenience Outlets Under the Upper Kitchen Cabinets
A plugmold is a strip of convenience outlets usually mounted on the upper kitchen cabinets. This setup makes the installation of electrical outlets in the countertop backsplash unnecessary.
No Risk of Short Circuit
It also makes it safer since there is no risk of short-circuiting the electrical outlets since water and moisture are always present in a kitchen.
An under-cabinet plugmold is far away from the countertop and the kitchen faucet. There are times when at least one plugmold is installed because of the need to use GFCI outlets.
NEC Requires At Least One Electrical Outlet on a Kitchen Countertop
This allows homeowners to follow a regulation set out by the 2020 NEC, which prescribes that there should at least be one electrical outlet on a kitchen countertop or island.
The outlets should be within nine square feet of a kitchen countertop or island. Any additional receptacle should be every 18 square feet or a fraction thereof.
By using plugmolds under the upper kitchen cabinets, homeowners can follow this NEC regulation and still ensure their safety while using electrical kitchen appliances on their countertops and islands.
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The Nature of Plugmolds
If this is your first time hearing the word ‘plugmold,’ you’ll be at a loss for what it is. You’re not the only one, though, because many people also do not know what a plugmold is. But if you’re a DIYer or a weekend electrician, you might know what it is.
Wiremold Company Designs and Manufactures Wire and Cable Management Systems
In reality, plugmold is a product of the Wiremold Company. This company designs and manufactures wire and cable management systems and solutions. But plugmold is just a strip of electrical or convenience outlets for electricians and handymen.
Most Homeowners Equate Plugmold with Outlets
You may have plugmolds installed in your home without you knowing it. That’s how incognito this piece of the electrical device is. Most homeowners call them outlets because that is just what they are.
However, they are not ordinary outlets, and they are not just installed anywhere you want them mounted. Plugmolds have their specific uses, and they have their advantages and disadvantages as well.
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Where Are Plugmolds Ordinarily Found?
Plugmolds Are Usually in the Kitchen and Bathroom
Plugmolds have residential and commercial uses. You will usually find them in the kitchen and the bathroom in homes. Instead of ordinary electrical outlets, plugmolds are used in these house sections for safety reasons.
You may have already guessed why. Kitchens and bathrooms are always wet, and their moisture content is very high. That’s only natural since water and steam are used in these parts of the house.
Electricity and water do not go together well, as you know. If they mix, you will either have a short circuit or a possibility of blackout in your home. You may also get a terrible electric shock orelectrocuted if you touch a water/moisture-laden electrical socket.
Usually Mounted Under the Cabinets
Plugmolds in the kitchen are usually mounted under the cabinets. They are conveniently placed there, hidden and out of sight. This makes the mounting of outlets on the backsplash unnecessary. Additionally, mounting plugmolds on the backsplash is also unsafe for the above reasons.
Also Found in Laboratories, Schools, Among Others
You can also find plugmolds in laboratories, schools, and certain commercial establishments since they offer a convenient way to plug electrical devices.
People cannot use electrical extension cords since they sometimes get in the way. Plus, plugmolds are safer and more convenient to use.
For instance, schools with computer rooms with several computers can benefit from replacing conventional electrical outlets with several plugmolds mounted strategically in the room.
If an under cabinet plugmold with ten outlets can accommodate ten computers at a time, that will be a great convenience to the school. Instead of laying down electrical wires for ten outlets, they can just lay down the wire of a single plugmold with ten outlets. That saves time, effort, and money.
Do You Need A Permit to Install Plugmolds?
No Need to Secure an Electrical Permit from the Government
No, you don’t need to secure an electrical permit from the government to install and use plugmolds. However, while you do not need a permit, you still have to follow the regulations set out by the NEC.
Check NEC Regulation Regarding the Use of Multioutlet Assemblies
You still need to check what NEC says about these multioutlet assemblies. There are limitations to the use of these multioutlets. The NEC sets the maximum number of devices you can connect to a particular plugmold.
Better to Consult a Professional Electrician Before Buying a Plugmold
You need to understand that the number of devices connected to a plugmold is affected by the voltage and ampere rating of the devices and the size of the wire used in the plugmold itself.
So, before buying and installing a plugmold in your home, office, or school, it is better to consult a professional electrician first. You can also refer to the installation guide on the box of the plugmold that you want to buy.
Again, what is a plugmold? A plugmold is a strip of outlets commonly installed under the upper cabinets. Note that sometimes you have to install at least one outlet to have GFCI outlets.
Where Can You Use Plugmolds?
As I’ve said, there are residential and commercial applications for plugmolds. In the home, there are many areas where plugmolds can provide convenience more than what regular convenience outlets offer.
Here are the places in your home where you can use plugmolds:
- Family room – Plug for your home theater, TV, game console, and other entertainment devices.
- Kitchen – Plug for your food processor, toaster, coffee makers, electric pot, microwave oven, and other smaller kitchen appliances.
- Bathroom – Plug for your hairdryer and other small bathroom gadgets.
- Computer schools – for plugging in computers, laptops, copiers, and printers.
- Laboratories – for plugging in small electrical testing instruments and measuring devices and similar electrical tools.
- Repair shops and workshops – for plugging in power tools and testing instruments used by appliance repair shops, computer repair shops, car service centers, etc.
Pros and Cons of Plugmolds
If you think about the pros and cons of using plugmolds, you will see if it will make your life easier. So, here are the pros and cons of these multioutlet strips:
1. Safer to Use
With multi outlets out of sight and out of the way, you can do your usual work in the kitchen without worrying about getting electric shocks now and then.
2. No More Unsightly Extension Cords
Using plugmolds will avoid the unsightly presence of electric cords running here and there. Electric wires can trip you, while plugmolds safely tucked away under the cabinet give you no worry.
3. Only One Wire to Lay Down
You only need to lay down a single wire if you use a plugmold. That will give you several outlets, some up to ten outlets to plug your devices on. In contrast, you will have to lay down several wires if you need several outlets in a room.
4. You Can Power an Appliance at Close Range
With the plugmold under the kitchen cabinet, you can power your juicer, coffee maker, and other smaller appliances nearby.
5. Out of Reach by Children
Since the plugmold is mounted under the kitchen cabinet, there is no danger of children toying with the outlet and endangering themselves.
1. Plugmold Wire Runs Outside the Walls
Since a plugmold is a separate unit, it is usually mounted outside walls. So, the primary wire of the plugmold is also on the wall. This is unsightly to some people. Mounting the wire under the cabinet is the best way to hide it.
2. Dangling Electric Cords
You can see the dangling electric cords, while on the plugmold. If a person accidentally swipe the cord, it may fall and cut off the power from whatever electrical device it is being used.
3. Taller People Might Find It Hard to Use Them
Taller people will have difficulty using them. They have to duck to see where they can plug in their device.
How to Install Plugmolds
Installing a plugmold is relatively easy if you have decent handyman skills. You have to select the best spot to mount that multioutlet. And then run its wire to the nearest convenience outlet on the wall.
Take a cue from professional electricians. They usually install plugmolds at the bottom of the kitchen cabinet. It should be a spot where the countertop and the backsplash meet in a kitchen. So, you cannot see the dangling cords while using the plugmold.
You can also follow the same under the cabinet concept in rooms other than a kitchen. The point is to keep the multioutlet close to the users while making them inconspicuous and hidden away.
Wiring Outlets In Series Vs Parallel
The Best Plugmolds in the Market
Now that you know the value of using plugmolds, you may wonder which plugmold to buy. Here are some plugmolds available in the market today. Some people consider them as the best multioutlets that you can buy:
1. Legrand – Wiremold V20GB306
This plugmold is a 3-feet power strip that has six outlets. It has a GB-Series wiring configuration, with one hot, one neutral, and one ground. This unit also has an insulated grounding conductor.
2. X1 30-inch Hardwired Outlet Strip
This plugmold has eight white vertical NEMA 5-15R receptacles. Its plug format is B-US style with ground plug. It features an easy on/off back cover and wires that you can easily strip for a faster connection.
3. Tripp Lite 8 Outlet Bench & Cabinet Power Strip
This is a 120-volt multioutlet AC strip with eight standard NEMA 5-15R outlets. The cord of this plugmold is 15 feet long. One package includes 24-inch vertical and horizontal mounting hardware. This plugmold also comes with rugged housing.
Conclusion: Plugmold Under Cabinet
A plugmold under a cabinet is a strip of convenience outlets usually installed under the upper cabinets in the kitchen. The design of plugmolds makes it unnecessary to install electrical outlets on the backsplash.
Having electrical outlets on the backsplash is dangerous because of the risk of them being splashed with water from the faucet or the sink. If you touch them, that will cause an electrical short circuit or an electric shock.
This is just one of the advantages of using plugmolds instead of the usual standard electrical outlet.
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