cluster of cables and receptacles

Illustrated Catastrophes: Cable Cluster

June 30, 2023
See the latest Code violations from NEC Consultant Russ LeBlanc.

All references are based on the 2023 edition of the NEC. 

Cable Cluster

While this installation appears to have been installed prior to the existence of the 2023 Code, it still provides us with an opportunity to show some examples of Code violations based on the newest edition of the Code. New Art. 722 provides requirements for cables installed for Class 2 and Class 3 power-limited circuits and Class 4 fault-managed power circuits. Section 722.24(B) informs us that these cables cannot be strapped or attached by any means to the exterior of any raceway, including the surface metal raceway shown in this photo. Neither of the exceptions for this rule is applicable to this installation. For communication circuits, Sec. 800.133(C) also prohibits cables from being attached by any means to the exterior of any raceway as a means of support. The exception for this rule is not applicable here. Securing the power supply cord to the exterior of the raceway is also a violation. Section 300.11(C)(1) allows cables, raceways, or other nonelectrical equipment to be supported by raceways, but only where the raceway or means of support is identified as a means of support. A surface metal raceway is not identified for this purpose.

A Not-So-Cool Installation

I’m assuming that this panelboard was installed before the HVAC installer ran the refrigerant lines for his air conditioning equipment. He should have found a better place to run those lines because he created a violation of the dedicated space requirements in Sec. 110.26(E)(1)(a) by installing them directly above the panelboard enclosure. The space directly above this panelboard (extending to 6 ft above the panelboard or to the structural ceiling if lower) is reserved for the electrical installation. No piping, leak protection equipment, ducts, or other equipment foreign to the electrical installation is permitted to be located in this zone. This dedicated space also extends down to the floor level. The electrician who installed the NM cables entering the top of this enclosure also made some mistakes. The NM cables are not properly supported and secured within 12 in. of the cabinet, as required by Sec. 334.30. There are also several low-voltage cables strewn about this area, and they are not installed as professionally and skillfully as they should have been as required by newly revised Sec. 110.12. In a bit of a twist, when installing Class 2 and Class 3 cables, Sec. 722.24(A) still uses the language “neat and workmanlike,” which was removed from Sec. 110.12 for 2023.

About the Author

Russ LeBlanc | Owner

Russ started in the electrical trade as an apprentice in 1985. He worked his way up to become a Journeyman Electrician and then eventually became a Master Electrician and Licensed Construction Supervisor. In 1999 Russ become an Electrical Instructor for The Peterson School of Engineering in Massachusetts where he developed his passion for teaching, and quickly became Department Head of Electrical Instruction. Russ has taught thousands of apprentices, electricians, engineers, inspectors, and other electrical professionals during his career as an instructor. He continues to provide electrical professionals with Electrical Code seminars, Arc-Flash Awareness training seminars and educational material through his LeBlanc Consulting Services in North Reading, MA whose specialty is educating electricians. He has been an active member of the NFPA Electrical Section and has authored hundreds of National Electrical Code proposals and comments which have become Code rules to improve the safety for the electrical industry. Russ is also an IAEI certified Electrical Inspector.

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