improper electrical installation neat roof of residential building

What's Wrong Here? Hint: Too Close for Comfort

Aug. 31, 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: Too close for comfort

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.

July Winners

Unfortunately, there were no winning submissions this month citing problems with the way the equipment grounding conductors (EGCs) are identified in this panel.

The two 12 AWG red wires covered in green tape are connected to the equipment ground bar and are being used as EGCs. There is also a 4 AWG black wire that is wrapped in green tape being used as an EGC connected to that same ground bar. The black 4 AWG wire wrapped in green tape is perfectly fine, but the two red wires are a completely different story. Section 250.119(A) requires individually covered or insulated EGCs to have a continuous outer finish of either green or green with one or more yellow stripes. Reidentifying with green tape is not a Code-compliant solution for 12 AWG conductors installed in raceways. Section 250.119(B) permits 4 AWG and larger EGCs to be reidentified with green tape or green labels. For multiconductor cables, Sec. 250.119(C) also allows insulated conductors to be reidentified as an EGC using green tape.

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.

Please visit for more information.

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