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Thread: Where in the NEC does it say "This is really dumb"?

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Default Where in the NEC does it say "This is really dumb"?

    Spoke with a friend at work today and he talked about his yard and garage getting flooded over the weekend: not surprising considering all the rain except for his having paid big bucks to have an elaborate french drain and sump installed.

    The sump is deep, at least 6 feet, and it seems the installer placed the weather-tight outlet [I]inside the sump[I] as in below the level of the rim. My friend believes a brief power interruption may have caused the sump to fill. The installer having failed to install an "underwater outlet" the circuit tripped and the yard/garage flooded.

    I looked briefly in the 2005 NEC and couldn't find the relevant prohibition, but I'm sure the outlet wasn't listed for underwater operation so I need some help finding the "don't do anything obviously dumb" paragraph.

    Can anyone lend me a hand?

    Rick

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Weather tight outlets are often weather tight ONLY when closed, and not at all when something is plugged in. Other weather proof outlets have a cover to protect a plugged-in outlet. NEITHER of these types is WATER PROOF. They are condsidered rain resistant, but by no means rated for UNDER WATER!!!!

  3. #3
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    I generally try to do the same installation as described in the PDF file...

    http://www.libertypumps.com/data/tbP...s/65_jb120.pdf

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    DIY Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Just kidding about the underwater. The way my friend described the outlet it was in an outdoor box with a weatherproof cover. I guess the answer to my original question concerns the listing of the cover. An outlet installed in a sump is likely to get submerged. This is not a listed application and is therefore prohibited. Make sense?

    Rick

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    DIY Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Chris,
    Thanks for the link. I'll provide it to my friend.

    Rick

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    If the pump does its job why would the receptacle get wet?

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    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    According to the OP, brief power interruption allowed the sump to fill enough to flood the recptacle.

    BTW, good to see you; I was wondering where you'd been.
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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchie View Post
    According to the OP, brief power interruption allowed the sump to fill enough to flood the recptacle.

    BTW, good to see you; I was wondering where you'd been.
    When doing an electrical installation the installer will make the installation so that it will comply with the adopted codes and not start wondering what might happen “if”

    There is a saying that I use a lot in the classroom about frogs, a .38 cal. Pistol and snakes. It starts off “IF” a frog had a .38 then snakes wouldn’t …………..

    The installation of a cord and plug connect sump pump is not required to be installed to suffer the results of an atomic explosion or we are not installing the pump thinking, “WHAT IF” we go to war and a bomb goes off and knocks out the pump.

    For the benefit of those out there that has ever seen the movie Forrest Gump there is a scene in that movie where a man looking for a new expression to put on a tee shirt makes millions by leaving the “r” out of shirt and adding the word “happens” to it.

    I have been stopping by from time to time watching what is going on in this forum just not posting.

  9. #9
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    A "damp" location is described in NEC 100 as an area "subject to moderate degrees of moisture". Examples include interior locations such as some basements and some barns.

    A "wet" location is described as "under ground or in slabs or masonry in direct contact with the earth; in locations subject to saturation with water or other liquids; . . "

    A sump pit, which would be exposed for long periods to 100% humidity, would be properly classed as a "wet" location. It would be what is called a "condensing atmosphere" since temperature variations would cause condensation. Condensation is "wet" by anyone's definition.

    Therefore, a receptacle to be installed in such a location should be rated for a "wet" location when a cord is connected to it.

    Furthermore, it could be reasonably held that a sump pit is intended to contain water anywhere up to the top of the floor. Therefore, any outlet installed in the pit should be listed for use when submerged.

  10. #10
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob NH View Post
    A "damp" location is described in NEC 100 as an area "subject to moderate degrees of moisture". Examples include interior locations such as some basements and some barns.

    A "wet" location is described as "under ground or in slabs or masonry in direct contact with the earth; in locations subject to saturation with water or other liquids; . . "

    A sump pit, which would be exposed for long periods to 100% humidity, would be properly classed as a "wet" location. It would be what is called a "condensing atmosphere" since temperature variations would cause condensation. Condensation is "wet" by anyone's definition.

    Therefore, a receptacle to be installed in such a location should be rated for a "wet" location when a cord is connected to it.

    Furthermore, it could be reasonably held that a sump pit is intended to contain water anywhere up to the top of the floor. Therefore, any outlet installed in the pit should be listed for use when submerged.
    I disagree with this most of this statement except the “damp location” definition.

    Location, Damp. Locations protected from weather and not subject to saturation with water or other liquids but subject to moderate degrees of moisture. Examples of such locations include partially protected locations under canopies, marquees, roofed open porches, and like locations, and interior locations subject to moderate degrees of moisture, such as some basements, some barns, and some cold-storage warehouses.

    Location, Dry. A location not normally subject to dampness or wetness. A location classified as dry may be temporarily subject to dampness or wetness, as in the case of a building under construction.

    Location, Wet. Installations under ground or in concrete slabs or masonry in direct contact with the earth; in locations subject to saturation with water or other liquids, such as vehicle washing areas; and in unprotected locations exposed to weather.
    Most sump pumps come with a cord and plug installed from the factory. They also have a high water float.
    The pump is designed to have a maximum water level at which point the pump starts pumping,
    If the pump installed in a well was required to have a submergible connection the manufacture of the pump would include a submergible plug. This would be part of the UL Standard by which the pump was built.

    This would be like saying that any basement that is totally under ground “could” hold water so anything installed therein would be required to be submergible. Who has seen a basement where there was steps leading to the outside? Did this basement have submergible devices installed?

  11. #11
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    My candid view: in a vessel designed to hold water, you should not put an electrical outlet. A basement normally isn't designed to be a swimming pool, and if it came to that, 'normal' installation wouldn't be held responsible for problems, but in a well designed to hold water, placing electrical stuff not designed to get wet is kind of dumb.
    Jim DeBruycker
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  12. #12
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    but in a well designed to hold water, placing electrical stuff not designed to get wet is kind of dumb.

    Take a minute and tell us what is the purpose of the pump being installed?

    If you say to get rid of the water then you are saying that the purpose of the well is not to hold water either. This would make it a dry well and the installation of the receptacle would be just fine wouldn't you think?

  13. #13
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I know a lot of sumps that were installed, but never had a pump installed because they just never got wet. Who's to say you HAVE to put a pump in that sump? Putting an outlet that is likely to get submerged through a power failure, pump failure, or just that cataclysmic event when it is much more likely to be useful above the pit makes sense to me. Even when the house is being built, before everything is installed, the sump could fill up. Just like you wouldn't put an outlet in the shower since it is likely to get wet, I think putting one in a sump is dumb. You also wouldn't put an outlet in the wall of a swimming pool...yes, normally it wouldn't be filled to the brim, but it is not inconceivable that it could over say the winter or during a major storm. While they don't happen too often, 5-10 inches of rain does happen.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  14. #14
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Was it a submersible pump?

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    When doing an electrical installation the installer will make the installation so that it will comply with the adopted codes and not start wondering what might happen “if”
    I sure would not that guy doing any work for me!

    Code compliance does not make common sense dispensible.

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