Does a torn wire jacket violate California electric code?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by LCroft, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. LCroft

    LCroft New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    California
    And if it does can you link to the section of the code that it violates?

    I had a mini-split AC system installed in my house by a licensed contractor and they ran a 50ft AWG14 cable through the attic to connect the outdoor compressor to the indoor blower. This cable is double insulated and has 600 V insulation. They installed the system to its own 20 amp circuit in the panel as required. The power supply is 208/230 V, phase 1, 60 Hz.

    The installers left a 1.5 tear in the outer jacket that covers the inner insulated wires. This is in the attic bundled with the lineset. I have had many problems with this system leaking so i've had other contractors out to give repair bids on getting the system fixed and in that process was told about the tear. 1 of the contractors told me that the tear is a code violation and that the cable has to be replaced (not taped) to bring it up to code. Is he correct and can you give me the section of code he's basing this on?

    BTW, yes I know about the CSLB and I'm already on it. So I'm interested in being made whole at this point and getting what I paid for the first time and having equipment that wont violate code and will pass a sales inspection in the future.

    Thanks to anyone who can help with this question!
  2. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,332
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    On a 20 amp circuit the min # 12 awg wire.
    And must be 12/2 awg wg.
    Never have come across 208/230 in residental.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  3. drick

    drick In the Trades

    Messages:
    392
    12/3 is NOT needed for 240 volts.
  4. LCroft

    LCroft New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    California
    Thanks cwhyu2. The installation manual specifies only 14 AWG for the connection cable between the UNITS (this is what has a 1.5" tear in the outer jacket in the attic). There is small a junction/breaker box that was installed next to the outdoor unit. They probably ran a 12/2 awg POWER cable from this small junction box to the 20 amp circuit they wired in the main panel.
  5. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    As outlined in 240.4(G) Part III of 440 will be used to size the conductor and the overcurrent device for this Air Conditioner.
    Use the Minimum Circuit Ampacity to size the conductors and the Maximum Overcurrent Device to size the fuse or breaker.
    I have personally wired many AC units with 14/2 with ground Non-Metallic cable and protect the circuit with a 25 amp breaker per the nameplate on the unit.

    If the sheathing of the cable becomes damaged then replacement is the only cure for the problem unless a box in set and the damaged part is inside the box.
  6. LCroft

    LCroft New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    California
    Thanks jwelectric. But that still doesnt answer my question. I've got some contractors saying that all that's necessary is to wrap some electricians tape around this jacket since the inside wires are also insulated. I've got 1 contractor stating that this damage cannot be repaired with tape as it will not meet code. SO...which section of the electrical code states you cant repair outer jackets with tape when you have a double insulated cable?
  7. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    110.3(B) The conductors must be installed according to any listing and labeling and black tape is nowhere close to the sheathing on NM cable.

    No conductor can be installed in any manner except for in conduit or part of a cable.

    300.12 mandates that the sheathing be continuous from one box to the other.

    Ask the electrician if the manufacture of the cable will send you written permission to use tape to repair the sheathing.

    You do not have a double insulated conductor. The black and white conductor has insulation but the two and the equipment grounding conductor is incased in sheathing which has no insulating value at all.
  8. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,912
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    When you say; "The installers left a 1.5 tear in the outer jacket that covers the inner insulated wires. This is in the attic bundled with the lineset."

    Is the wire damaged, or is that where the wire connections are made ?

    It sounds like the connection was not put in a proper box, and is just laying in the attic.

    Can you post a picture ?


    DonL
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  9. LCroft

    LCroft New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    California
    DonL,

    The cable is a 50ft cable that runs alongside the insulated refrigerant linesets for the mini-split AC. The cable and the linesets connect to the indoor blower unit and then run all the way out of the attic to the condenser unit outside. This cable is double insulated with various wires inside. It relays power and signals from the indoor blower back and forth to the outdoor compressor. The torn section of outer jacket on the cable is about at the mid point of its length. This is inside the very hot attic. No copper is showing, just the second jacket that covers the individually jacketed wires inside.

    I need to hear from you if this is damaged beyond repair as that's what I'm trying to find out. I need to see what part of the electrical code that would say that you cant repair this tear with tape.

    I've attached a web image that will give you an idea what this cable looks like, but mine looks like it has another black jacket underneath the one that's torn.

    Attached Files:

  10. LCroft

    LCroft New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    California
    BTW the image I posted is just a manufacturer image of a new uninstalled cable. Thanks.
  11. LCroft

    LCroft New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    California
    THANK-YOU jwelectric!!! Sir/Madam you are a credit to the human race! I hope you've contributed to the gene pool :)
  12. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,912
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    "It relays power and signals from the indoor blower back and forth to the outdoor compressor. The torn section of outer jacket on the cable is about at the mid point of its length."

    If it is a 24v control wire, then I believe the rules change.

    You could just use heat shrink tubing, if that is the case.
  13. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,332
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    Thought you you were talking high voltage wiring,not control wiring.
  14. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    991
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    This is line voltage, not control wiring.


    While I definitely value JW's expertise, I disagree with him on this point. 300.12 dictates that sheathing must be continuous box to box. IMO it does NOT say that a small tear cannot be repaired with proper electrical tape. Even if it is repaired, it is STILL "continuous".

    Tape IS a legal and safe repair for a small tear in NM cable sheathing.
  15. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Since underwater splices are made with rubber splicing tape and then covered with scotch 33 it sure seems that would be safe on this wire.
  16. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    no no no no no
  17. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,912
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I agree it would be safe.

    It is safe now as is, because the cable sheathing is cut back when you terminate the connection, normally.
    And if the inner conductors are not nicked then the outer sheathing plays little role in safety.
    It just keeps the conductors together in one bundle.

    But Up to Code ? Depends on the inspector.


    DonL
  18. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Much ado about nothing.

    Considering how my rats strip many feet of ROMEX® BARE, I wonder why its allowed at all. It needs a aluminum shield.

    REAL ROMEX® once had lead shielding.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2011
  19. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I suggest you double check what we are talking about. The wire you showdoes not look line " house wiring ". It looks like low voltage wire, and all of the mini split A/C that I am familiar with do NOT send line voltage to the inside. Line voltage ( 120 or 240) feeds the outside unit, and low voltage control wires, including 34 VDC to run the inside fan, go in on 18 ga. thermostat wire.
  20. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,912
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    They use to put Arsenic in the wire insulation so that rodents would not eat it. We used it on runs across the desert.


    DonL
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2011
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