Electric Code Changes Coming Sept. 1

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Article by Dave Yelovich

You can’t do this anymore! Say what? Why? Here’s why…

They say there are two certainties in life – death and taxes. Well, I’d like to add a third to the list. CHANGE! Change keeps us on our toes. And when building houses in Texas, you can rest assured that “change” is something you can count on. We are in the season of change with several new legislative updates taking place on September 1, 2023. On that same date, the Great State of Texas has a new code taking effect that will bring about a few major changes statewide.


Every three years, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) adopts the latest published National Electric Code (NEC). So, on September 1, the 2023 NEC will be the electric code statewide. In cities, this code can be amended – as long as the amendment is not less restrictive than the base code. Out in the counties, the code as written will be the book to follow. So, if you start a house after September 1, there are some electrical changes to be aware of. Here are just a few highlights.

Most of the major changes involve your kitchen. For instance, if you have an island or peninsula in your kitchen, you are not required to have any electrical outlets in those areas. Yes, you read that correctly – no receptacles will be required at islands or peninsulas. However, if you have an island or peninsula, you must provide something that allows future outlets to be installed. (I envision some sort of junction box in an island if you choose not to include outlets).

Now then, if you do decide to have outlets at your island or peninsula there are more changes you need to be aware of. The biggest change is you cannot have an outlet on the side of a kitchen cabinet anymore (Like in the picture at the very top). Outlets must be installed on, or above (not more than 20” above), the island or peninsula countertop. To accomplish this, I see a lot more popup style receptacles being installed.

Finally, another major change in the 2023 NEC requires all appliances in a kitchen to be protected by a GFCI circuit or receptacle. Dishwashers, disposals, refrigerators, ovens, cooktops, and more need that GFCI. No longer is there a requirement about being so far from a sink – they all get a GFCI.

The changes I have noted here will be adding costs to every home you build after September 1. Start talking with your electrician today to get a grip on the costs and how these changes will be implemented in the field. If you are in a city, you may want to discuss the 2023 NEC changes with your local building department to see how they will be implementing this new code.

For more information on these code changes, visit the @HomesBuiltRight YouTube channel.