How well do you know the Code? Think you can spot violations the original installer either ignored or couldn’t identify? Here’s your chance to moonlight as an electrical inspector and second-guess someone else’s work from the safety of your living room or office. Can you identify the Code violation(s) in this photo? Note: Submitted comments must include specific references from the 2011 NEC.

Hint: A close shave

'Tell Them What They've Won...'

What's Wrong Here - NEC - October 2013

Using the 2011 NEC, correctly identify the Code violation(s) in this month’s photo — in 200 words or less — and you could win a $50 gift check. E-mail your response, including your name and mailing address, to, and Russ will select three winners (excluding manufacturers and prior winners) at random from the correct submissions. Note that submissions without an address will not be eligible to win.

August Winners

Our three winners this month were: Michael R. Devens, a facilities electrician with NSTAR in Southborough/Worcester, Mass; Ken Hrabovecky, a manager with KM Transfer and Services, Inc., Hampton, N.J.; and Bill Williamson, a project manager with Power Engineers, Inc., Norcross, Ga. All three of them were able to correctly identify the Code violations at this receptacle location.

What's Wrong Here - NEC - October 2013

Shoving two wires under a screw terminal designed for only one wire is a great way to make a lousy connection. In fact, it creates a Code violation. The very last sentence in 110.14(A) tells us in a straightforward way that specially identified terminals are required for terminating more than one conductor. Nonetheless, when I pulled this receptacle out of the box, I discovered two white wires and two black wires mistakenly landed on terminals designed for only one wire. This would also be a violation of 110.3(B) since the installer ignored the instructions in the listing and labeling of this device. A better way to do this installation would have been to make a 3-wire splice for each circuit conductor and then connect the “pigtail” wire from each splice to the correct terminal on the receptacle. Ironically, this was how the equipment ground wire was correctly terminated for this device.