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Thread: Does a torn wire jacket violate California electric code?

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member LCroft's Avatar
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    Default Does a torn wire jacket violate California electric code?

    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. #2
    Consultant cwhyu2's Avatar
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    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 by cwhyu2; 06-17-2011 at 03:24 PM. Reason: typo

  3. #3

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    12/3 is NOT needed for 240 volts.

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    DIY Junior Member LCroft's Avatar
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    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.

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    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.

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    DIY Junior Member LCroft's Avatar
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    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. #7
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    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.

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    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    LCroft,

    It does look like the wire that they used, may not fit the installation, If it is not a control wire.

    I am not sure why the manufacture would spec a wire that would not meet code.

    That unit is UL listed and the code to my understanding states "Must be installed per manufacture instructions"

    It gets rather confusing when looking at the NEC rules. But the Manufacture would not go against code.

    The cable number indicates that it should be a 600V PVC cased wire, but it says 300 Volts.

    It is rated for Temporary and not for permanent installations under the NEC, so I guess it depends what "Temporary" Means.

    It would be best to replace it, if you are worried about code.

    Like I said before, It depends on the inspector. Around here inspectors don't like to go into the hot attic, If it works it passes.


    Enjoy Your day.


    DonL


    P.S. What is the model number of your unit ? I still think that it may be a control wire, or the manufacture would be out of business.
    Last edited by DonL; 06-21-2011 at 10:54 AM. Reason: P.S.
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    Engineer Furd's Avatar
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    The lower-cost Chinese made mini-splits DO include a length of type SJ cord to interconnect the outside and inside units. Generally the power is to the outside unit and from there to the inside unit. The four-conductor interconnect may be at full line voltage or some lower voltage.

    Bottom line, this is without a doubt contrary to the NEC but it may be (barely) acceptable because it IS in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. I personally do not think it is a big hazard and would just tape the outer jacket. However, if the insulation on any of the individual conductors has been compromised then either replacement of the cable/cord or a proper splice in an approved and accessible box is required.

  10. #10
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Thank You for your input Furd.

    That makes sense.

    DonL
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