Counter (Countertop)

NFPA 70-2023 introduced a definition for a term used elsewhere in the document and help the user of the document understand the difference between this and a work surface. A countertop is a fixed or stationary surface which is typically intended for food preparation and serving, personal lavation, or laundering. It can also be a similar surface that presents a routine risk of spillage of larger quantities of liquids upon outlets mounted directly on or in the surface.

There are two informational notes. The first one points to UL 498, “Receptacles and Attachment Plugs“, and UL 943, “Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters” as these standards establish the performance criteria and construction criteria for the devices used in countertops.

The second information notes points to Sections 406.5(E), 406.5(G)(1), and 406.5(H) for information on receptacles for counters and countertops. This helps distinguish the difference between these and those receptacles for work surfaces.

The definition for counter (countertop) was added to help the user of the Code understand the difference between a countertop and a work surface where these two terms are used. The main difference between these two types of surfaces is primarily associated with the amount of spillage they may be exposed to. This new definition and informational note directs the user of the Code to the standards that aid in the proper application of receptacles in these locations.

UL 498

2.27 RECEPTACLE, POP-UP ASSEMBLY – An assembly consisting of a retractable flush mount receptacle, outlet box and flush device cover plate intended for fixed installation on a branch circuit. A popup receptacle assembly is suitable for installation in a kitchen or bathroom countertop. They are provided with one or more receptacle outlets. The outlets are retractable for storage below the counter surface.

149 Spill Test 

149.1 The same six representative devices subjected to Mechanical Endurance Testing shall be secured to a counter surface in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The pop-up receptacle assembly shall be fully extended. Any covers provided shall be opened to their most disadvantageous position. Covers that tend to close themselves shall be allowed to fall to their natural resting position. If more than one outlet is enclosed by such a self-closing cover, a single power supply cord shall be mated with one of the receptacle outlets and the cord shall exit from behind the cover

149.2 A container measuring 7-1/8 in. (181 mm) inner diameter by 9-7/8 in. (251 mm) tall shall be filled with 1/2 gallon (1.89 l) of saline solution, consisting of 8 grams (0.28 oz) of table salt per liter of distilled water. The container shall be placed on the counter surface with its base 12 in. (304.8 mm) from the representative device, and facing the receptacle. The container shall then tipped over all at once. An effort shall be made to direct the spill toward the most disadvantageous area of the assembly.

149.3 One minute after the container of water is tipped over, each representative device shall be subjected to the Dielectric Withstand Test of Section 65, with no humidity conditioning. 149.4 The test shall be repeated with the pop-up receptacle fully retracted in the closed latch position.[1]