Is This Up To Code?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by PM5K, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. PM5K

    PM5K New Member

    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    I happened to be looking at a neighbors attic space while he was doing some work on his bathroom and I got a look at his electrical wiring.

    It seems the romex (I think that's what the smart guys call it) runs from the breaker box up to the attic space and then the wires just sit on top of the insulation, then running down the inside of the walls to each outlet/switch/etc respectively.

    I'm no expert, but what I have learned when doing electrical work is that code is very strict, so I'd be surprised (but not shocked) if wiring can be run in this manner.

    Here is a picture incase my explanation wasn't clear:

    [​IMG]
  2. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    That's how it's done.


    The cable is fine. All junctions/splices must be in covered, accessible j boxes like the ones in the wall behind your switches and receptacles.
  3. brownizs

    brownizs In the Trades

    Messages:
    196
    Location:
    Springfield, IL
    They should be laying stapled along the joists, but in situations like this, as long as you watch where you step or place stuff, it does not matter. Personally, I would hate to see what a mouse or rat could do to the Romex. This is one of many reasons ACFI's where introduced.
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I can't quote the code to you.

    In "better" jobs, I see all cable which runs above the joist to be on a stringer, possibly to protect it if someone decides to put down some subflooring in the attic for storage.
  5. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    No...sorry. That's just dumb. The cable needs to be supported and it is, by the joists (or the insulation in this case :)). Staples do absolutely nothing positive in this case.


    This "attic" is more of a crawl space. It looks to be about 20" high at the peak. No one is storing anything up there. If there is a ceiling access hole somewhere the wiring does have to be protected within....a couple feet???
  6. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,561
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I can't help but wonder just how many here giving advice to the unknowing, know a damn thing their selves.

    334.30 Securing and Supporting.
    Nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall be supported and secured by staples, cable ties, straps, hangers, or similar fittings designed and installed so as not to damage the cable, at intervals not exceeding 1.4 m (4½ ft) and within 300 mm (12 in.) of every outlet box, junction box, cabinet, or fitting. Flat cables shall not be stapled on edge.
    Sections of cable protected from physical damage by raceway shall not be required to be secured within the raceway.

    (B) Unsupported Cables. Nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall be permitted to be unsupported where the cable:
    (1) Is fished between access points through concealed spaces in finished buildings or structures and supporting is impracticable.
    (2) Is not more than 1.4 m (4½ ft) from the last point of cable support to the point of connection to a luminaire or other piece of electrical equipment and the cable and point of connection are within an accessible ceiling.

    NO this installation does not comply with the minimum safety standards outlined in the NEC.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    In places like Southern California, where there are no basements for storage, MOST people ending up tossing the christmas tree ornaments and all the vacation luggage up into just such a space as is shown in this picture!
  8. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    I have wired hundreds of homes and I have seen wiring in thousands of homes.

    The cable is ALWAYS layed across the truss joists and only stapled down the studs or close to ceiling JB's or anywhere it needs to be for a clean, safe installation.

    I'll take you on an attic tour and show you MILLIONS of installations.....if you have the time.

    That's the way it's done and that's the way it's always been done.



    Even in the worst case scenario, what could POSSIBLY happen that would be prevented by stapling every 4' ?
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  9. maintenanceguy

    maintenanceguy In the Trades

    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Where are you from Alectrican? Around here (North East) this would never pass inspection. But I agree, I've seen it a lot too, usually when home owners do their own work without inspections.
  10. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    I am in the wild west (AZ) and it's been done that way FOREVER here.

    We don't have many true attics like they seem to in the East. Their only purpose is to contain mechanical components and to insulate the house.

    We also run our cables into the back of our surface mounted panels thru a single KO with a snap in bushing or chase nipple instead of a connector.

    Like the cable laying on the joists, it's against code (for some reason) but poses absolutly no danger.
  11. Master Plumber 101

    Master Plumber 101 In the Trades

    Messages:
    268
    Location:
    Wisconsin


    I'm a plumber and can see that's not correct, what is alectrician or what ever his name is thinking.
  12. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    I am not thinking I am just telling it like it is.

    Want me to take some pics of new construction and post them?
  13. BigLou

    BigLou New Member

    Messages:
    138
    Alelectrician
    Just because everybody is doing it does not make it right. I know with most things building there is the "test" answer and the "real world answer". I however don't think its prudent to be giving DIY's anything but the most code compliant answer. They will often times misapply information to different situations then the one you responded to.

    Lou
  14. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,561
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I don't like talking about things that I am not too sure of, but didn't everyone with Jim Jones do just alike?
  15. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689

    It certainly make a case though, wouldn't you agree? Just because it's illegal doen't make it wrong. Maybe, just MAYBE the law is wrong??? Hell, oral sex was illegal in Virginia until the early 2001. Selling vibrators is STILL illegal in a few states.

    Google a map view of Phoenix and you will see.....a million? houses that have been constructed and inspect since the 40's. You won't find a single one of them with the cables stapled to the joists every 4'.

    You also won't find one that has cable connectors where they enter the surface mountes exterior panels. They all enter thru a single KO, protected by a snap in or chase nipple.

    While both of these items are against code, it is by no means unsafe or uncommon.

    To answer the OP correctly, it is apparently against code to run cable in a crawl space without securing them every 4'. Maybe there is another section in the NEC which permits it. Maybe there is are local amendments which permits it...I don't know. Is it unusual or unsafe in any way? Absolutely not. That's the way it's done.

    The only thing that staples would do in these pics is squish the insulation down.

    It is one of the handful of code sections that make no sense but no one has bothered to change it. Maybe when I retire I'll make it my hobby and I won't rest until it is changed.
  16. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,561
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Try telling the judge that next time you are in court
  17. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    Don't drink the kool ade!!!:D
  18. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689

    Heh heh....I don't spend a lot of time in court. I DID recently win a case against the City of Phoenix on a permit issue. It only saved me $700 but the principle was worth it. The city said I did something wrong and I disagreed. It's not the same as we are talking about here so I won't bore you with the details....but I was rather proud of myself for not rolling over.



    Here is the hole in your theory. Lets take it to the extreme.



    In third world countries they stone people to death for adultery. It's the law.

    There are Islamic laws that prosecute women who have been raped.



    Fact: Law doesn't = right.

    There are always judgements to be made. Your Jim Jones reference seems ironic to me because YOU are the one that touts following the law without question.

    Extremists are always easy to debate. When they feel "this is the way it is, there is no other way" they close all other thoughts. You can of course never convince them of anything but you can easily cut their ideas to shreds.
  19. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Funny thing about codes...
    The rules in every code are usually written in response to either a bad thing that happened, or someone with foresight believing that it could happen and convincing enough people on the board preciding over the code that the likelyhood of it happening was very high. Their response was to then write a rule that eliminated the possibility of it happening.

    Quite often you hear debate over code items usually a bunch of the guys commenting on why something is done a certain way not understanding why. Usually someone comes up with a comment that ends any debate we they say it is done this way so ???? doesn't happen. The light turns on and everybody sees that there is indeed a reason.

    My point is do you want to second guess the code process?
    You could find yourself out on a limb...:eek:
  20. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    I guess the Web sort-of agrees with you.

    Definition of right on the Web:
    in conformance with justice or law or morality

    Definition of law on the Web:
    the collection of rules imposed by authority

    Today I have learned something.
    :)
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