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What Is a Floor Socket?

By Maggie Worth
Updated May 16, 2024
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A floor socket is a plug receptor that is located in the floor. This type of socket can be made for a wide variety of plugs, but is most often used for electrical, telephone, or cable connectivity. Use of floor sockets is heavily regulated by construction codes in many areas.

In most cases, electrical and other types of sockets or outlets are located in walls or baseboards. In a standard residential or commercial room, such sockets are generally located a short distance above the floor and may be placed above counter tops in bathrooms and kitchens. In standard industrial construction, most such outlets are placed either in walls or on poles located near machinery. In some cases, however, a floor socket is desirable because it prevents the running of cords in places where they might pose a trip hazard.

For example, a residential living room might be shaped in such a way that couches can not be placed against walls without blocking entry into other rooms. If the homeowner wants to put a reading lamp at one end of the couch, she will have to run the cord across the floor to the nearest electrical wall outlet. This might be unattractive. It might also pose the risk that a pet or member of the family will trip on the cord, which can cause damage both to the tripper and to the lamp. Placement of a floor socket near the couch eliminates this problem.

The flip side of the coin is that plugs placed in improperly-placed floor sockets can actually become trip hazards themselves. This is particularly true in industrial and commercial buildings where liability is always a concern. Floor sockets are also thought by many to pose a greater fire risk than wall sockets.

Installing floor outlets during new construction can be tricky in some parts of the world. Many construction codes prohibit the installation of a floor socket entirely. Others mandate that they be installed only in hard flooring such as tile or wood and not in soft flooring such as carpeting. Others allow floor outlets in industrial construction but not in residential or commercial construction, while others dictate the exact opposite.

Wiring or installing a floor socket in an existing building may or may not be allowed by code. If it is, the code may require the work to be done by a licensed electrician. If local codes do allow installation of floor sockets, the building owner should remember that such installation may be expensive or impossible if the electrician cannot access the underside of the floor, such as in the case of concrete floors. If the floor is on a second level, part of the ceiling below might need to be removed in order to install the socket.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Sporkasia — On Jun 03, 2014

I think a few well placed floor sockets can be a great alternative to all wall sockets and unwanted cords. However, I would be concerned that the floor sockets because of their location would be even more attractive to small children and pets.

By Feryll — On Jun 03, 2014

The first time I saw floor sockets in the middle of a floor in a house was when I rented a house near the beach for the summer. The house was built in the 1960s, I think. Anyway, I had seen floor outlets in offices. They are common in spaces where cubicles are used because with a cubicle farm the floor outlets make more sense. You don't have to have cords running all over the place and crossing one another.

The outlets in the house were equipped with little rubber flip covers, so that when nothing was plugged into them they could be closed and protected from dust and anything else that might land in them. I thought they were convenient, especially when I had something I just wanted to plug into the outlet while I was seated near the sockets.

By mobilian33 — On Jun 02, 2014

I don't think the positives of floor sockets outweigh the negatives. First of all, the article says they are thought to be a greater fire hazard, and that alone is enough reason for me to not want one. Also, I would be worried about stuff falling into the openings all the time.

I have been known to spill a drink onto the floor. What if I spilled water into the floor plug sockets? Even if you don't spill liquid in the sockets, dust and dirt probably get into them more often than with a wall socket.

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