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.


Patrick Dacey, NACHI member, SouthWest Inspections, recently sent me these photos of this interesting arrangement that he took during a mobile home inspection in June. Both wiring arrangements are located within the crawl space of a doublewide mobile home. The outlet and box were found directly below the water heater and the “web of wires” was located below the two halves of the trailer.

These wiring arrangements violate the requirements of Chapter 3 and 550.3, which states, “Wherever the requirements of other articles of this Code and Article 550 differ, the requirements of Article 550 shall apply.”


Thomas Erfert, a Code enforcement specialist from Yuma, Ariz., has been investigating the theft of electricity for many years. He recently ran across this installation and decided to share the story with us.

A mobile home power-supply cord must be a listed type with four conductors, one of which is required to be identified by a continuous green color or a continuous green color with one or more yellow stripes for use as the equipment grounding conductor. This cord must be permanently attached to the distribution panelboard or to a junction box that's permanently connected to the distribution panelboard. A suitable clamp or the equivalent must also be provided at the distribution panelboard knockout to afford strain relief for the cord. This prevents strain from being transmitted to the terminals when the power-supply cord is handled in its intended manner. The free end is required to terminate in an attachment plug cap.

This installation seems to meet these requirements, but there's also evidence that someone is stealing electricity. The individual appears to be using the bare ends of a cord, which were cut to expose the wires that are positioned to receive energy from the once legally connected attachment plug cap. Any cords with adapters and pigtail ends, extension cords, and similar items can't be attached to, or shipped with, a mobile home. See the requirements of 550.10(B) for power-supply cords.


David Fredericks, electrical engineer, Chu and Gassman Consulting Engineers, Middlesex, N.J., found this in a storage room while surveying the service entrance equipment for a train station in New York. Fredericks noted that this disconnect switch serves as the main service disconnect for a small concession stand at the station.

As we've seen many times before, this is a violation of the requirements of 110.26(B), which states, “Working space required by this section shall not be used for storage. When normally enclosed live parts are exposed for inspection or servicing, the working space, if in a passageway or general open space, shall be suitably guarded.”

Found a Code violation? E-mail your photos to Joe Tedesco at