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What’s Wrong Here? February 2011

What’s Wrong Here? February 2011

Can you identify the Code violation(s) in this photo?


Can you identify the Code violation(s) in this photo?

Hint:Wrong end up = dangerous ashtray.

Find the Answer

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 Code violation(s) in this photo?

‘Tell Them What They’ve Won...’

Using the 2008 NEC, 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 [email protected], and we’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-in. insulated side-cutting pliers, 10-in. insulated tongue-and-groove pliers, and a 0.25-in. 3 6-in. insulated screwdriver. (* Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery of tools.)


Our three winners this month include: Mike Good, a senior project manager with Stanley Consultants in Centennial, Colo.; Massimo Lemma, an electrical inspector with Middle Department Inspection Agency in Clayton, Del.; and Phoenix Pham, P.E., an electrical engineer with Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County in Whittier, Calif. These guys all pointed out numerous violations with this so-called weather head installation.

The most obvious problem with this service drop installation is the missing service head on the service mast. This is a clear violation of 230.54(A). The missing service head allows water to enter the raceway, which also creates a violation of 230.54(G). One can also assume that, because the service drop conductors continue up the wall above this point, there’s a good chance the overhead service attachment point isn’t positioned within 2 ft of the missing service head, as noted in the Exception of 230.54(C).

In addition, it appears the conductors mounted on the wall are individual insulated service drop conductors. These are not approved for mounting in direct contact with a building wall. They must be mounted on insulating supports that provide a clearance of at least 2 in. from the wall surface [230.51(B)]. A metal conduit strap clearly does not meet these requirements.

One other item to note is the improper phase identification marking on the conductors. It appears that two of the three cables have white tape wrapping on them. The rules for marking grounded conductors can be found in 200.7.

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