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What's Wrong Here?

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.

Find the Answer

Think you know how this installation violates the NEC?

Jeffrey M. Walenciak, P.E., a lead electrical engineer with DSA Architects in Berkley, Mich., said he’s seen NEC violations in the field before, but never as surprising as this mess. “At a renovation project, the electrician reported sizzling sounds (think bacon) from an existing distribution panel after installing a new fusible switch,” said Walenciak. “This distribution panel is located on an exterior foundation wall within a basement, and its feeder traverses outside the building to tie into the main switchboard. After some further investigation, the electrician discovered somebody’s ill-advised attempt to re-route water from within the existing feeder conduits, which are likely breached at some point underground. I thought the after-market access hole for the drip pan insertion on the left side of the pull box was creative thinking, to say the least.”

Here’s a list of NEC violations for this particular installation.

Rule No. 1: 110.11 Deteriorating Agents

“Unless identified for use in the operating environment, no conductors or equipment shall be located in damp or wet locations; where exposed to gases, fumes, vapors, liquids, or other agents that have a deteriorating effect on the conductors or equipment; or where exposed to excessive temperatures.

“FPN No. 1: See 300.6 for protection against corrosion.

“FPN No. 2: Some cleaning and lubricating compounds can cause severe deterioration of many plastic materials used for insulating and structural applications in equipment.

“Equipment identified only as ‘dry locations,’ ‘Type 1,’ or ‘indoor use only' shall be protected against permanent damage from the weather during building construction.”

Rule No. 2: 225.22 Raceways on Exterior Surfaces of Buildings or Other Structures

“Raceways on exteriors of buildings or other structures shall be arranged to drain and shall be raintight in wet locations.”

Rule No. 3: 230.53 Raceways to Drain

“Where exposed to the weather, raceways enclosing service-entrance conductors shall be raintight and arranged to drain. Where embedded in masonry, raceways shall be arranged to drain.”

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