Skip navigation

What's Wrong Here?

How well do you know the Code? Think you can spot violations the original installer either ignored or couldn’t identify? Here’s your chance to moonlight as an electrical inspector and second-guess someone else’s work from the safety of your living room or office.

Joe Tedesco, who has a knack for finding shoddy electrical work, did the dirty work and found this mess. Now it’s your turn to identify the violation.

Hint: Clothes closet lighting.

February Winners

Rebecca Ashley, an electrical engineer with Henderson Mill in Parshall, Colo., cited the following sections of the Code when reviewing the February photograph.

  • “110.3(A)(1) — This equipment is not listed for this application.
  • “110.3(A)(4) — Duct tape being used to insulate the conductors is not acceptable.
  • “110.3(A)(7) — This receptacle is not classified for this use.
  • “110.3(A)(8) — This application is not safe for persons coming in contact with this equipment.
  • “110.3(B) — This equipment is not listed and labeled for this use (UL 498).
  • “590.6(A) — A GFCI would be a lifesaver in this application, either tripping because of the moisture or when the user completed the circuit.
  • “406.4 — Receptacles shall be mounted in boxes or assemblies designed for the purpose.”

David Furi, a master electrician/foreman with Lakepointe Electric in Sterling Heights, Mich., added this to the mix. “It appears that someone has removed the receptacle end of an extension cord set and replaced it with a grounding type duplex receptacle and insulated it with duct tape. The violation is under the 2005 NEC Sec. 590.6(B)(2)(a). It is also an OSHA violation because this cord set should have been tagged and removed from service on the job site.”

Joel Van Ravenswaay, an electrician at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., injected some humor into his response. “It looks like the ground isn’t moist enough to efficiently grow outlets from seed! Or it could be violations of....

  • “406.8 — receptacles placed in damp or wet locations need a box that meets the environment.
  • “210.8 — need GFCI protection, assuming this is an outside installation.
  • “590.4 — Temporary installations.... This is most likely the culprit, a cutoff extension cord on a construction site for temp power.

“But it looks like there are remnants of duct tape in the dirt, so give them some credit. If you can’t do it right, duct tape it!”

‘Tell Them What They’ve Won...’

Correctly identify the Code violation(s) in this month’s photo — in 200 words or less — and you could win something to put in your tool­box. E-mail your response to Joe Tedesco at [email protected], and he’ll select three winners (excluding manufacturers and prior winners) at random from the correct submissions. Winners will receive a set of insulated hand tools from Ideal Industries, Inc. valued at more than $125.* The set includes 9.25-inch insulated side-cutting pliers, 10-inch insulated tongue-and-groove pliers, and a 0.25-inch  6-inch insulated screwdriver.

* Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery of tools.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.