As usual, never consider the following commentary associated with these photos as a formal interpretation of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Without criticizing anyone or any product, the following scenarios present us with serious safety questions.


It's not hard to tell that the loose and improper power supply connection to this severely corroded water pump at an Alabama hotel violates Art. 250 rules on grounding. However, the real problem lies with the lack of proper maintenance.

This equipment was once submerged in river water during a major flood and was never repaired or replaced. See 90.1(B) Adequacy, which states “This Code contains provisions that are considered necessary for safety. Compliance therewith and proper maintenance will result in an installation that is essentially free from hazard but not necessarily efficient, convenient, or adequate for good service or future expansion of electrical use.”


John Lemire, design engineer, Southeastern Consulting Engineers, Charlotte, N.C., ran across this installation while traveling through the mountains of North Carolina. The evidence of someone's patchwork that employed a product designed to repair vehicle dents showed up at this gas station after several rain and wind storms had passed through the area. The underground conduits exiting this wireway typically house the branch circuits that supply gasoline-dispensing pumps. Explosionproof seals are required as shown. However, it's apparent that an unqualified person performed this work.

The rainwater and debris that collects inside of this wireway will surely lead to problems, including corrosion of system components. Where wireways are installed in wet locations, they must be listed for the purpose [376.10(3)].


A reader in Pennsylvania found this installation when he arrived at a jobsite to check out a circuit breaker that kept tripping. The breaker was originally used to feed the outside lights around the building. Someone got the bright idea to temporarily hook up Christmas lights by tapping into the circuit in a few different places. The circuit wasn't even protected by a GFCI.

Neither the open box that encloses these energized conductors nor the way in which the connection was made meets any rule or requirement found in the NEC. The supply to the receptacle was picked up from a circuit in an underground street lighting box, and the way in which the cord runs into the box isn't an approved method of installation by the NEC — not to mention the fact that the connector isn't the proper type. Per 110.2, “The conductors and equipment required or permitted by this Code shall be acceptable only if approved. FPN: See 90.7, Examination of Equipment for Safety, and 110.3, Examination, Identification, Installation, and Use of Equipment. See definitions of Approved, Identified, Labeled, and Listed.”


These two improperly sealed fittings are located in a California paint factory. The one on the left enclosed a damaged grounding electrode conductor used for the service. Seals in conduit and cable systems shall comply with 501.5(A) through (F). Seals are provided in conduit and cable systems to minimize the passage of gases and vapors and prevent the passage of flames from one portion of the electrical installation to another through the conduit.

Found a Code violation? Send your photos to Joe Tedesco at PO Box 130408, Boston, MA 02113 or