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.


A member of the engineering staff at Norris Public Power District, Beatrice, Neb., shared this photograph with fellow staff member Jerry Enns, electrical engineer, who in turn submitted it to EC&M. The image shows a 240V triplex overhead conductor that runs through the roof of a house in Filley, Neb. It seems the roofing contractor had no problem finishing his work by sealing up the roof right around the service conductor.

The specific rule that would prohibit this type of installation can be found in 230.6 of the 2005 NEC:

“Conductors shall be considered outside of a building or other structure under any of the following conditions:

“1. Where installed under not less than 50 mm (2 in.) of concrete beneath a building or other structure

“2. Where installed within a building or other structure in a raceway that is encased in concrete or brick not less than 50 mm (2 in.) thick

“3. Where installed in any vault that meets the construction requirements of Article 450, Part III

“4. Where installed in conduit and under not less than 450 mm (18 in.) of earth beneath a building or other structure.”

None of these requirements were applied in this installation.


Scott Cline, manager, McMurtrey Electric, Inc., Monterey Park, Calif., noticed this unique installation while staying at a hotel in Tucson, Ariz. “I can't vouch for the other rooms, but I suppose that this was their way of avoiding the theft of their hair dryers,” wrote Cline. “I don't know if there was a terminated grounding conductor in the dryer's cord, but at least it was connected on the downstream-side of the GFCI receptacle!”

He goes on to say “God knows what would happen to the cord, box, or wall if the terminal connection developed a high-resistance connection. The good fortune is that the device is only used when the person is standing right there to see the smoke.”

The supply cord is missing the immersion-detector circuit interrupter (IDCI). It was cut off and violates the requirement of 422.41 for cord-and-plug-connected appliances subject to immersion, which states, “Cord-and-plug-connected portable, freestanding hydromassage units and hand-held hair dryers shall be constructed to provide protection for personnel against electrocution when immersed while in the ‘on’ or ‘off’ position.”

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