The National Electrical Code is a benchmark for the design and installation of electrical installations. It outlines what you are supposed to do and the materials you are supposed to use in your electrical wiring and installations. Many of them are things that concern your electrician, but there are others that you should know about, especially if you are planning to dabble in electrical DIY works. Here are a few examples of things you should know as a homeowner:
Replacing a Damaged Electrical Outlet
This being a common DIY affair with most homeowners, you need to know that you should only replace a receptacle once you are familiar with the NEC requirements. What is more, these guidelines are constantly changing as new safety issues and measures are discovered. Therefore, you need to consult the NEC manual and ensure that you have the latest information.
For example, the 2014 NEC guidelines require the use of tamper-resistant receptacles beyond the traditional dwelling units that are deemed to have children such as childcare facilities and motels. These are outlets that do not endanger the lives of curious children that may poke them.
Installing a Junction Box
The junction box is a box that houses wire connections and cable splices. Such wires must be boxed to prevent electrical interference that may result in electrical shock or short-circuit. The NEC has a guideline for the installation of a junction box, as well as the type and size of box suitable for every purpose. For example:
- The junction box must not be hidden behind a permanent wall such as a drywall. This ensures that it is always within reach for inspection and upgrade.
- Ceiling boxes, for example, those used in ceiling fans, must support the weight of the relevant electrical appliance.
- Power distribution boxes must be spacious—specifically at least 100 cubic inches
Receptacles in Laundry Areas
Another example is the use of receptacles in laundry areas. Previously, you were only required to install outlets with ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in a laundry area in laundry areas with the receptacles were located near water sources such as water. In the updated requirements, you are supposed to use GFCIs in all outlets in laundry areas whether or not they are near water sources such as sinks.
As you can see, navigating the NEC can be a complicated affair. What is more, violation of the code can land you in trouble not only with the housing authorities but also with your insurer. Therefore, if you aren't sure of something, leave it up to a professional electrical technician (such as Genesis Electrical Service Inc.).