All Strung Out

NEC Code Violations Illustrated 1013

This photo was submitted by Ronald M. Stevens, who found this series of 10 receptacles strung along the trees while he was on vacation passing through a city park in a small town in South Central Colorado. Section 225.26 prohibits vegetation from supporting overhead spans of branch circuit wiring. However, if this was a temporary installation, the Exception in 590.4(J) permits using trees to support overhead branch circuit cables when strain relief devices are used — and the wiring is installed for holiday lighting for a period of no more than 90 days. In either case, these boxes, receptacles, and covers are certainly not the correct type.

Section 406.9(B) requires these receptacles to be weather-resistant installed in weatherproof enclosures. There was a failed attempt by the installer to weatherproof these boxes by squirting silicone sealant into the openings. The boxes are also not properly supported since they are just dangling from the cables. Section 314.23(H)(1) requires the conductors to be protected by the use of strain-relief connectors threaded into boxes with hubs. Because these 15A, 125V receptacles are installed outdoors, 210.8(B)(4) requires readily accessible GFCI protection to be provided. The broken cover plate creates another shock hazard and violates the requirements of 110.12(B).


Never-Ending List of Violations

This photo was sent in by Gary Colleran, an electrician from Massachusetts. He found this disastrous mess while working in a residential property in the Boston area. The lack of covers on these enclosures is a dangerous shock hazard and violates the rules of 110.27(A). The missing knockout seals for the unused openings is another hazard, which violates the requirements of 110.12(A).

NEC Code Violations Illustrated 1013

Unused openings must be closed to provide protection equivalent to the wall of the enclosure. The lack of cable connectors for the NM cable is also a violation of 312.5(C). Cables must be secured to the cabinet. The use of EMT connectors for the NM cable is a violation of 300.15, which requires connectors to be used only with the “wiring methods for which they are designed and listed.” The improperly terminated equipment ground wires violate 408.40, which requires an equipment grounding terminal bar to be secured to and bonded to the cabinet — and shall be used to terminate the equipment grounding conductors. The use of the single red conductors between cabinets violates the requirements of 300.3 because they are not installed in a Chapter 3 wiring method. Last, but not least, the use of red insulation for the neutral is a violation of 200.6, which, in general, requires white or gray insulation, tape, or stripes as a means to identify the grounded conductor.