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Thread: Is This Up To Code?

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member Briandl's Avatar
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    Default Is This Up To Code?

    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:


  2. #2

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    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. #3
    In the Trades brownizs's Avatar
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    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. #4
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    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. #5

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    They should be laying stapled along the joists,
    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. #6
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    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 (4 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 (4 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 by jwelectric; 08-25-2008 at 10:46 AM.

  7. #7
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alectrician View Post
    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???
    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. #8

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    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 by Alectrician; 08-25-2008 at 12:48 PM.

  9. #9
    In the Trades maintenanceguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alectrician View Post
    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' ?
    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. #10

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    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. #11
    In the Trades Master Plumber 101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    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 (4 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 (4 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.


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

  12. #12

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    what is alectrician or what ever his name is thinking.
    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. #13

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    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. #14
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    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. #15

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    Just because everybody is doing it does not make it right

    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.

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