Residential hot tub disconnect


We wired a spa/hot tub at a residential house. We put a 50A GFI protected breaker at the unit, and we put a 50A cord and plug for disconnect means. The inspector has said it is illegal and we must put in a pull-out disconnect 5 ft away. Is this correct or not?


You do not say where the spa/hot tub is located, so I cannot provide a single answer. Section 680.42(A)(2) permits a cord-and-plug connection if GFCI protection is provided for the connection. The cord is permitted to be up to 15 ft long. This rule is for outdoor installations only, but it does modify the requirements of Parts I and II of Article 680. Therefore, the 15-ft cord permits the connection to a receptacle outside the 5-ft area around the tub where receptacles are prohibited.

If the installation is indoors, Parts I and II still apply and the only permission to use a cord-and-plug connection is for “listed spa and hot tub packaged units rated 20 amperes or less.” This is found in 690.43, Exception, and modifies the requirements of Parts I and II. Otherwise, the requirements of 680.7 only permit cords of up to 3 ft in length. The cord and plug can be used to meet the disconnecting requirements of 680.12, but must comply with 680.22(A)(1). In order for this rule to work, the spa circulation equipment must be a few feet from the inside walls of the spa or hot tub, because the receptacle must be at least 5 ft from the “pool.”

In addition, the receptacle must be a single grounding type, GFCI protected, and of a locking configuration unless it is at least 10 ft from the inside walls of the spa.

Cord-and-plug connections are permitted for either indoor or outdoor spas and hot tubs, but the requirements are much easier to meet if the installation is outside. The rules may not work for inside self-contained spas because the cord will not be long enough to reach a receptacle that is properly located 5 ft or more from the spa.

The requirements for the emergency shut-off switch described in 680.41 do not apply to single-family dwellings.
Noel Williams

Receptacle flush cover plates


Can you tell me if there have been any changes to Article 410, Section 410-57(b)(2)? Specifically, are flush receptacle cover plates allowed to be used when receptacles are attended? I know there is a new article (Article 406) concerning receptacles added to the 2002 NE Code. Does the new Article still allow for flush cover plates to be used with receptacles?


The 2002 NE Code did indeed include some changes in the requirements for covers on receptacles in wet locations.

As you noted, some parts of Article 410 were used to develop new Article 406. Old Section 410-57(b) is now found in Section 406.8(B)(1) and (2). The 2002 NEC requires all 125V and 250V 15A and 20A receptacles located outdoors to remain weatherproof (domed cover) whether or not the attachment cap is inserted. Other outdoor receptacles only require a standard weatherproof cover.

Other wet-location receptacles, such as indoor areas subject to washdown, are covered by Section 406.8(B)(2). This section allows standard weatherproof covers for attended outlets and domed covers when cord caps are unattended.
Dann Strube

Send your NE Code news to CEE News at

PA sound systems


Are there any Code regulations as to 70V lines used for PA and sound systems in any applications? Although these 70V lines usually do not approach this 70V potential, they are still referred to as such. There are also 25V systems used principally in schools, installed supposedly to avoid the Code, but I do not know if there is any proof to back up this explanation.


Audio systems are covered by Article 640 and are usually required to be wired with Class 2 or Class 3 wiring methods as defined in Article 725. PA systems are clearly within the scope of Article 640 according to 640.1, which also references places of assembly (Article 518), and theaters and performance areas — both of which are usually part of schools. Neither the 70V or 25V systems are exempt from the NEC. If Article 640 does not cover them, Article 725 does, and usually both articles apply.
Noel Williams

AFCIs in bedrooms


I'm being told that the new NEC requires art-fault circuit interrupter breakers in bedrooms and possibly hallways. Is this true and where is it in the Code?


In the 2002 NEC the requirement for arc-fault circuit-interrupters is found in Section 210.12. The 2002 Code requires AFCI protection on all 125V 15A and 20A branch circuits in dwelling unit bedrooms. Since the entire branch circuit must be protected, the AFCI must be installed at the panelboard. No mention of hallways or other rooms is made in Section 210.12.

If the bedroom circuit supplies outlets in a hallway or other room, those outlets will be AFCI protected by the device in the bedroom circuit. The need to protect outlets outside the bedrooms will depend on how you lay out the circuits.

One common question with AFCI protection is, “What about the smoke detector in the bedroom?” In their substantiation for the AFCI requirement the Code panel made their position very clear. Code Panel 2 clearly indicated that it is intended that the smoke detector be on the AFCI circuit.
Dann Strube


Send your Code questions to:
Mike Harrington
Managing Editor

CEE News
Primedia Business
Magazines and Media
9800 Metcalf Ave.,
Overland Park, KS 66212