May Wwh

What's Wrong Here? Hint: Janitor’s Closet Crisis

April 26, 2023
Can you spot the Code violation in this photo?

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. Can you identify the specific Code violation(s) in this photo? Note: Submitted comments must include specific references from the 2023 NEC. 

Hint: Janitor’s closet crisis

Tell Them What They've Won…

Using the 2023 NEC, correctly identify the Code violation(s) in this month's photo — in 200 words or less — and you could win an Arlington Industries 18-in. Slider Bar and plastic box for mounting between studs with non-standard spacing. E-mail your response, including your name and mailing address, to [email protected], and Russ will select three winners (excluding manufacturers and prior winners) at random from the correct submissions. Note that submissions without an address will not be eligible to win.

March Winners

Our winner this month was Michael Anders, an EC&M reader from Charlottesville, Va. He was able to correctly cite some Code concerns with this installation.

Securing NM cables to an electrical metallic tubing (EMT) raceway is generally going to be a violation of Sec. 300.11(C). Raceways can be used as a means of support for cables, where the raceway contains power supply conductors for electrically controlled equipment and is used to support Class 2 or Class 3 circuit cables that are solely for the purpose of connecting to the equipment control circuits.

Another concern I have is whether NM cables should be installed here at all. This is the entrance to a boiler room for an apartment building, and it seems to me that the NM cable is installed in a high-traffic area where the cable may be exposed to physical damage. This exposed installation violates requirements found in Sec. 334.15. One more concern is the use of NM cables in a building with walls and ceilings constructed of metal mesh and plaster. While not specifically a violation, the metal mesh often has jagged and sharp edges that could easily damage unprotected NM cables where cables penetrate those surfaces. I’ve seen this happen several times. 

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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