Archive for category: Code change of the week

225.27 RACEWAY SEALS When conduits enter an enclosure from outside of a building.

Categories: Code change of the week

This weeks change number eight in this series, has to do with underground conduits entering/leaving a building or structure.  This is for outside branch circuits and feeders, just like we have been doing for services in 230.8 we now seal off branch circuit and feeder conduits. Conduits shall be sealed when entering/leaving a building using duct seal or some other material that is identified for the purpose.





Till next week

Work safe be safe


210.52 (A) (2) (1) WALL SPACE

Categories: Code change of the week

The seventh in the top ten is for outlet spacing.  A change to the wall spacing requirements has been made to address fixed cabinets, and the wall spacing requirements have been clarified.

(2) Wall Space. As used in this section, a wall space shall
include the following:
(1) Any space 600 mm (2 ft) or more in width (including
space measured around corners) and unbroken along
the floor line by doorways and similar openings, fireplaces,
and fixed cabinets
(2) The space occupied by fixed panels in exterior walls,
excluding sliding panels
(3) The space afforded by fixed room dividers, such as
freestanding bar-type counters or railings

This change gives us relief from placing outlets at the bottom of cabinets and book cases in the kick plate so that we can meet the outlet placement spacing. For years when I did plan reviews and inspections I had always turned down drawings and or the job that had no outlets along a built-in cabinet or bookcase, this makes it easier on the design professional and the inspector/plan reviewer.




Work safe


Receptacle Replacement 406.4 (D) Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter

Categories: Code change of the week

This is the fifth in our series of the top ten Code changes for 20111.  This new requirement makes it mandatory to use Arc Fault Protection when replacing, yes replacing, a receptacle outlet.  I have poled a few cities and counties in the state and found that not all are enforcing this new requirement.  If you have comments on this one please send me an email at






Till Next week work safe and be safe.


Question?  Email them to me.


404.2 Switch Connections. Neutral’s at a switch? NEW TO CODE

Categories: Code change of the week

This weeks section is the fourth of the top ten series, and is being overlooked on almost every job.  It has made my job harder to do since I have to look at almost every box installed for a switch on each job to see if the neutral has been installed.  In 404.2 Switch connections,  this new requirement makes us supply a grounded conductor at switch points for the control of lighting on jobs, both commercial and residential.  The GROUNDED CONDUCTOR is the Neutral Conductor the white, the gray or the wire with three white stripes on other than green insulation.  Yes install a neutral wire at all switch points, and like most sections there are exceptions!  In order to meet the exceptions you have to comply with one or the other, you will “not” have to install the Neutral only if you meet one of the two exceptions. 

The first exception has to do with having a “raceway” to the switch box.  A raceway is a conduit of some type such as EMT, ENT, FLEX, PVC, RIGID and so fourth.  If you do not have a raceway you can not use Exception #1.  The raceway has to be installed and has to provide enough room for the future wire, the neutral to be installed if needed.

The second exception is when you are able to access the switch box when cables are used such as MC, AC, and NM cable systems from above or below or from behind the box.  So if you have drywall walls and ceilings and there is no way to get to the box from above or below,  then you can not use this exception.  There has to be a way to fish down the wall to the box to add the neutral conductor, or if the back side of the wall is open.

These two exceptions appear to be straight forward, so if you can not meet either Exception 1 or 2 then you have to install a Neutral Conductor in the Box.  If you have guys out there working who have not been to a 2011 NEC Code Change class or seminar how do you expect them to know what NEW sections are going to be enforced.  Please pass these weekly observations and changes on to all your help so that they will pass their inspections and not hold up the job progress.  When I cited a job for this reason the General Contractor was surprised, and upset that his Sub-contractor (the Electrical Contractor) did not know the changes that have been in effect for the last 5 months.  See the CODE section below.

What has been taking place out in the field is that the neutral of these switches has been attached to the equipment grounding conductor which adds objectionable currents into the grounding system of the building or residence.  So no more dead ends of two wires for a single pole switch or three wires for a three way switch, a neutral is required, whether you need one or not.

Till the next time be safe work safe



PS.  Any questions please email them to me at




210.7 Code Change, 240.15(B)(1) Added clarification.

Categories: Code change of the week

This is in the top ten Code changes for 2011.  I hear the stories about being ZAPPED off the neutral on a multi-wire branch circuit, being zapped is lucky!  It is the ones that have been electrocuted that were not so lucky to be just ZAPPED.  So after years of hearing these stories it has become a Code requirement.  This used to be a requirement when we had two circuit attached to one device such as a receptacle or equipment so in 240.15(B)(1) it permits the use of single pole breakers with identified handle ties to be used in lieu of a two pole or three pole breaker.

210.7  was formerly divided into two sections parts A and B.  Section 240.15(B)(1) also requires that when used, single pole circuit breakers with handle ties (identified) SHALL BE permitted to be used to protect a multi-wire branch circuit.  So one question that comes to mind can two Arc Fault breakers be used in this manner?  I have had some who said that the AHJ did not allow this practice because it was not listed!  Does this section give us some relief when using this practice.  A certain manufacturer has an informational manual that shows using two single pole Arc
Faults in this manner for a multi-wire branch circuit..  That paper can be found in one of my other weekly columns, on this web site.

When working in the field and you pull a common neutral for a couple (multiple) of branch circuits you have to be able to disconnect the circuits at that same time (simultaneous).  This would require a two pole or three pole circuit breaker to be able to accomplish this feat.  You may use identified handle ties on single pole circuit breaker to make this happen.  The intent of this section has been around for a long time, but in my daily inspections I still have to issue a correction notice for this practice.  I find it more often in housing and it is usually easier to find when the contractor runs a 3 wire branch circuit(black white and red wire).  Any time you run a 3 wire branch circuit in a residence it requires a common trip circuit breaker at the point at which the branch circuit originates, the panel. There are no exceptions! 

210.7 Multiple Branch Circuits. Where two or more branch circuits supply devices or equipment on the same yoke, a means to simultaneously disconnect the ungrounded conductors supplying those devices shall be provided at the point at which the branch circuits originate.



So as you can see I find it all the time, there are several circuits tied together in this manner in this one panel.  The ones with the wire through them may trip one circuit but it may not trip them all.  So when you wire residences remember that all multi-wire circuit need to be on a common trip breaker even Arc Faults.


Till next week be safe



Track Lighting loads 220.43(B) EXP.

Categories: Code change of the week

This weeks Code change is based on load calculations from article 220.   220.43(B) requires that a load of 150 va be included for each 2’ of track lighting.  This can add up to be a substantial load when not necessarily needed.  There is an exception to this section that will allow us to include the loads for our calculation to be based on a device that can limit the current to the track.  This device has a current limiting feature that will as it states “limit the current” whether it is 10’ long or 100’ long section of track.

Click on the link or cut and paste it to see the brochure for a couple of manufacturers track limiters.  The ones that I have seen out in the field have been from 1 ampere thru 13 amperes.  So using these devices will help reduce the loads calculated for track lighting loads.  This may not seem like a major factor but if you are sizing the lighting load for a furniture store or an art gallery these limiters will help in calculating the service load.  Another type of limiter that I have seen is a panel that has these limiters built into to it using 1 to 13 amperes as circuit limits.



TL 220.43(B) EXP.  

Till next week work safe be safe


The NEW 310.15(B)(16) ampacity table

Categories: Code change of the week

In the 2011 NEC they changed the numbering to the Ampacity Table 310.16,  Also moved  is the ampacity correction factors to its own table.




Available Fault Current

Categories: Code change of the week

In the 2011 NEC article 110.24 has a few changes that need to be be addressed.  Under 110.24(A) Field Marking, service equipment in other than a dwelling unit shall be field marked with the maximum available fault current.  This is something you will have to get with the utility or the engineer for the project to be able to calculate.  The field markings will have to be able to with stand the elements when a attached to a disconnect or panelboard out in the field.   Section 110.24(B) Modifications will make you as the installer responsible to attach newly calculated fault current information to the equipment based on modification made to the circuits.  All information provided will have to with stand the elements in which they are installed so a Sharpie or Magic Marker is not going to meet the requirements of this new change because they don’t last out in the weather.   Till next time work safe…



Panelboard identification 408.4(B)

Categories: Code change of the week

For the 2011 edition of the NEC on page 275 of the softbound Code book, they have added the requirement for field identification of all switchboards and panelboards, to indicate where the power to that equipment originates.  It will be easier to mark these panel and switch boards when they are installed.  Trying to find the source 5 or 10 years down the road has always been a time consuming project that only takes minutes when first installed.  A great addition to the code, will make life as an electrician easier in the future.  Till next time work safe and be safe.



So you can see it 2011 GFCI new requirements

Categories: Code change of the week

Additional GFCI for 2011