As usual, never consider the following commentary associated with these photos as a formal interpretation of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Without criticizing anyone or any product, the following scenarios present us with serious electrical safety questions.
Circuit Breakers and Tape Don't Mix
According to the Code, you may not use tape to “lock off” circuit breakers. This is an unsafe work practice that could result in a hefty fine. The rules covering this subject for a motor disconnecting means are noted in 430.102(B). When the equipment includes electric-discharge lighting systems of more than 1,000V, as in this installation, the rules of 410.81(A) and (B) also apply. Disconnection of luminaires and lamp installations must be controlled either singly, or in groups, by an externally operable switch or circuit breaker that opens all ungrounded primary conductors. Sec. 410.81(B) states, “The switch or circuit breaker shall be located within sight from the luminaires (fixtures) or lamps, or it shall be permitted elsewhere if it is provided with a means for locking in the open position.” See Art. 100 for the definition of “In Sight From (Within Sight From, Within Sight).”
Not Permitted in this Zone
Sec. 110.26(F)(1)(a), which covers the topic of dedicated electrical installation space, requires you to maintain a dedicated clear space around electrical equipment equal to the width and depth of the equipment. This clear space must also extend vertically from the floor to a height of 6 ft above the equipment, or to the structural ceiling — whichever is lower. You may not install piping, ducts, leak protection apparatus, or other equipment foreign to the electrical installation in this zone. Sec. 250.68(B) also requires you to effectively bond around insulated joints and any equipment likely to be disconnected for repairs or replacement. Without being too tight, this bonding jumper — missing in this installation — is supposed to be of sufficient length to permit removal of any equipment while maintaining the integrity of the bond.
Floating Liquidtight Flexible Metal Conduit
The branch-circuit conductors for this compressor were supplied through this liquidtight flexible metal conduit (LFMC), and the raceway shows no sign of any support. Sec. 350.30(A) requires you to securely fasten LFMC in place and support it by an approved means within 12 in. of each box, cabinet, conduit body, or other conduit termination. It must also be supported and secured at intervals not greater than 4½ ft. Supports are unnecessary when the raceway is fished or its length doesn't exceed 3 ft at terminals where flexibility is necessary. Supports are also not necessary when the raceway's length is no more than 6 ft from a luminaire (fixture) terminal connection used for tap conductors to luminaires, as permitted in 410.67(C).
Now you can send Code Violations Illustrated stories and photos directly to Joe Tedesco at:
350 North Street
Boston, MA 02113
or e-mail: [email protected]
If you mail pictures, please include the story, location, and some information about yourself — and please do not write on the front or back of your photo. Please send all digital images in JPEG format. You can send photos while visiting Joe's Web site at: www.joetedesco.com