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  1. #1
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    Default painted receptacles

    Is there any code language regarding prohibition of painted over receptacles?

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    Default Re: painted receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    Is there any code language regarding prohibition of painted over receptacles?

    Not as long as they are not paint *in*, as in 'in the slots.

    Decorative paint the face, but do not paint into the slots far enough to affect contact. Of course, on the new tamper-resistant receptacles, that will not be a problem ... as long as the paint does not affect the operation of the tamper-resistant mechanism.

    Also don't gob the paint on so thick, or so many coats, that the prongs do not go all the way in, either.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: painted receptacles

    It is a Code violation here. The City elec insp write it up regularly. I'll see if I can find the violation.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: painted receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by fritzkelly View Post
    That's a pet peeve of mine. I would mention it just on general principle.
    I have not seen a code reference prohibiting this (see attached), nor does it raise any concerns to me.

    I'll see what Marcus posts on it for his area.

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    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: painted receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by fritzkelly View Post
    Those look alot nicer than what I usually run into.
    You mean like this?

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: painted receptacles

    How about this one?

    Also, what to the receptacle manufacturers say about painting over them? Hmmm.....

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    Default Re: painted receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    How about this one?

    That's one is 'not good'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: painted receptacles

    John, I recommend replacement of the receptacles when I see them painted like that. I've broken the prongs on my outlet testers just trying to get them into the receptacles. Code or no code, you shouldn't have to struggle to insert a plug.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: painted receptacles

    Maybe if you use lead paint -the lead is a conductor- it'll make things work better. And if you use the ground pin facing down, the paint could flow to that hole.


  10. #10
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    Post Re: painted receptacles

    I would not recommend painting outlets any more than I would recommend painting circuit breakers, electrical cable, or any other electrical device. It wanders into the area of materials and compatibility, UL ratings, and on and on. A lot of people do it. But that doesn't make it all right.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
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    Default Re: painted receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Aldering View Post
    I would not recommend painting outlets any more than I would recommend painting circuit breakers, electrical cable, or any other electrical device.
    Painting the front surface of plastic receptacles in nothing like painting the surface of insulation, which, by the way, is *required* in the NEC in specific cases. Will latex paint deteriorate insulation? Will oil base paint deteriorate insulation? What is the approved paint which is *required*?

    Keep the paint OUT OF the receptacle.

    This is from the NEC. (bold and red text is mine)
    - 110.12 Mechanical Execution of Work.
    - - (C) Integrity of Electrical Equipment and Connections. Internal parts of electrical equipment, including busbars, wiring terminals, insulators, and other surfaces, shall not be damaged or contaminated by foreign materials such as paint, plaster, cleaners, abrasives, or corrosive residues. There shall be no damaged parts that may adversely affect safe operation or mechanical strength of the equipment such as parts that are broken; bent; cut; or deteriorated by corrosion, chemical action, or overheating.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Post Re: painted receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Painting the front surface of plastic receptacles in nothing like painting the surface of insulation, which, by the way, is *required* in the NEC in specific cases. Will latex paint deteriorate insulation? Will oil base paint deteriorate insulation? What is the approved paint which is *required*?
    What type of latex paint? What additives have been used as dryers? What chemicals are in the paint, and how will they react or interact with the insulating material of the electrical device? What paint is approved for marking insulation on conductors? How much of this can be ascertained without a laboratory analysis?



    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
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    Default Re: painted receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Aldering View Post
    What paint is approved for marking insulation on conductors?
    That's the question I have been asking for years - okay, the NEC requires permanent re-identification by painting, with what approved paint.

    (Curious as to why you use bold in all of your posts, or use a font which appears to be bold, just curious.)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: painted receptacles

    I write it up. Especially those like this...

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    Default Re: painted receptacles

    IAEE Mag on line is down right now or else I'd link you to March 06 UL Corner.

    Section meetings with UL dealt with this question(s):

    Quote Originally Posted by might not be exact from notes as they are off line at the moment, IAEE News OnLine
    "Q: Is it permitted to paint the face of a receptacle to match the paint in a room? Does paint void the Listing on the receptacle?

    A: Receptacles are Listed under the category Receptacles for Plugs and Attachment Plugs (RTRT), (located on page 109 in the 2005 White Book). Receptacles Listed under this category are evaluated for compliance with the Standard for Receptacles for Plugs and Attachment Plugs, UL 498. UL Standard 498 requires receptacles to go through an overload and resistance to arching sequence that evaluates the receptacles ability to endure the possible overloading that the receptacle may be subjected to in normal use and not breakdown either physically or that the contacts of the receptacles do not arc arcorss the face of the receptacles insulating material which may cause a fire or electric shock hazard. When paint is introduced onto the face of the receptacle, the ability of the receptacle face insulating material to resist a potential arc across the face of the receptacle from one contact to another may be compromised. It is impossible to determine the effect paint will have on the electrical integrity of the receptacle."(unless it is 'investigated' - sic)
    At least that's what I have in my notes. Can't recall if that was attributed to Mark Ode or one of the other guys from UL.

    The blades must be able to seat completely. The Standard for Cover Plates for Flush-Mounted Wiring Devices, UL 514D, prohibits any material to be located between the face of the receptacle and the attachment plug. I don't expect many of you have access to the full standards, so here is where you can find a reference which quotes that portion of the Standard.....by looking at in this UL document in which the subject of TR receptacles (article 517) was addressed:
    http://www.ul.com/global/eng/documen...eceptacles.pdf

    Look for what reads close to this: "the Standard for Cover Plates for Flush-Mounted Wiring Devices, UL 514D, prohibits ANY MATERIAL to be located BETWEEN the FACE of the RECEPTACLE and the ATTACHMENT PLUG. An Attachment plug must be capable of being inserted fully into a receptacle outlet slot WITHOUT ANY MATERIAL or OBSTRUCTION that inhibits the attachment plug from being FULLY SEATED into the receptacle outlet as intended." (Caps, bold & underlining for emphasis not original).


    Further, if you look at the Listed instructions and marked indications from most if not all receptacles (Standard UL 498) and for receptacles incorporating ground fault circuit interuption (see also Standard UL 943 and additionally Listed under KCXS in the White Book) you'll find information regarding prohibitions to modifying the insulated face of the receptacle and/or the test/reset buttons of the GFCI device with the instructions and indications with the prouduct from the manufacturer.

    You'll find a prohibition/recommendation and a marked indication to avoid any deposits, including accidential or intentional modification application or collection of non-factory paint on the (insulating) face of a receptacle in the instructions for just about every receptacle and combination device on the market.

    An electrically conductive paint or coating, such as used on various cables with metalic armor, could be EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.

    The composite material or plastic used to insulate and the face of the receptacle may also be deteriorated when exposed to the paint, causing premature cracking, weakening, and subjecting the receptacle to early breakage and/or failure. The paint defacing the electrical receptacle thermoplastic face may trap heat. Unknown the effects of 140F temperatures on the paint. Painting the insulated face of the receptacle would be a "FIELD MODIFICATION", and in most cases contrary to the Instructions and Product Markings, Recommendations, and Indications.

    Guide Info at ul.com at the Online Certifications Directory, product category "Receptacles and Attachment Plugs (RTRT). The basic Standard used is UL 498, the Standard of Safety for Attachment Plugs and Receptacles.


    This gets us to favorite NEC (NFPA 70) section 110.

    If applicable in your jurisdiction NFPA 73 expressly prohibits paint on receptacle faces and switches at Section 2.9.6 of the 2000 edition, and at Section 4.9.6 of the 2006 Edition.

    You can review the meaning and application of "INSTRUCTIONS AND PRODUCT MARKINGS" and "FIELD MODIFICATIONS" in the UL White Book, which is available for free on-line and available to be downloaded at UL.com.

    By the way, the "recommendations" from the manufacturer in the instructions are not "just suggestions".

    Quote Originally Posted by UL 2002 IAEI Newsletter
    Q. In manufacturers' installation instructions, sometimes they use the word "recommend". For example, "It is recommended to use on a separate branch circuit...". Does the installer need to specifically follow the "Recommendaitons" in order to comply with Section 110.3(B) of the NEC?
    Quote Originally Posted by UL 2002 IAEI Newsletter
    A. Yes, the installation instructions provided with Listed products are reviewed as a part of the Listing investigation.

    Manufacturer recommendations that are part of the instructions SHOULD BE FOLLOWED in order to comply with NEC Section 110.3(B). If an AHJ believes the installation instructions conflict with the NEC, contact a Regulatory Services (UL) staff member in your area.

    An authorized use of the UL Mark is the manufacturer's declaration that the product was originally manufactured in accordance with the applicable requirements when it was shipped from the factory. When a UL Listed product is modified after it leaves the factory, UL has no way to determine if the product continues to comply with the safety requirements used to certify the product without investigating the modified product. UL can neither indicate that such modifications "void" the UL Mark, nor that the product continues to meet UL's safety requirments, UNLESS the field modifications have been SPECIFICALLY INVESTIGATED BY UL.

    The Authority Having Jurisdiction needs to determine the acceptability of the modification, or require the affected party to have UL evaluate the modified product. UL can assist the AHJ in making this determination.
    If the affected party wishes UL to determine if the field modifications made to a UL Listed product comply with UL requirements, the appropriate Field Engineering Service can be initiated to investigate the modifications. Tis evaluation will only be conducted after UL consults with the Authority Having Jurisdiction, in order to assure that UL's evaluation addresses all areas of concern, and meets all of the AHJ's needs. The detailed above can also be accessed online at UL.com.
    Something to remember regarding GFCI receptacles, is that major changes to the certification requirements to GFCIs in 2003 included:
    A. More stringent voltage surge test to ensure the GFCI can handle a higher surge current.
    B. New corrosiion test to demonstrate greater immunity to moist conditions.
    C. Operating test to verify that proper operation of the GFCI cannot be prevented by manipulation of the GFCI conditions.
    D. Reverse line-load miswire test that requires the GFCI to deny power to feed-through receptacles when miswired.
    E. Abnormal overvoltage test that requires the GFCI not become a fire or shock hazard during extreme overvoltage conditions.
    F. Increased requirement for GFCI to operate properly after exposure to conducted radio frequencies.
    Those requirements only apply to GFCIs manufactured after January 1, 2003. GFCIs manufactured prior continue to be Listed and continued to be sold and installed until stock was/is depleted.

    Finally, regarding the field modification of paint on a receptacle face,
    UL can conduct a field evaluation to ensure its safety. contact Field Evaluation CS at 1-877-UL-HELPS. I can assure you that it is much cheaper to purchase and install new receptacles than it is to have a field evaluation. I have seen painted receptacles fail the first round of UL 498 certification tests. It (non-factory paint, coating, collection, deposit, etc. on a receptacle face post-production) has always been a violation/red tag notice unless specifically Listed/Certified otherwise.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 04-28-2009 at 03:18 PM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: painted receptacles

    Clik on Link below to GuideInfo (UL) for AALZ, Electrical Equipment for Use in Ordinary Locations (Scroll down nearly to the bottom to the headings "INSTRUCTIONS AND PRODUCT MARKINGS" and "FIELD MODIFICATIONS"):

    AALZ.GuideInfo - Electrical Equipment for Use in Ordinary Locations

    Link to GuideInfo (UL) for RTDV:

    RTDV.GuideInfo - Receptacles

    Link to GuideInfo (UL) for RTRT:

    RTRT.GuideInfo - Receptacles for Plugs and Attachment Plugs

    Prior post included a close to quote from a 2002 Newsletter & Article, the current NEC citation is still found in 110...might be subsection .13(A) & (B)..IIRC, not handy to look up/verify at the moment and I'm hungry & tired but wanted to punch out the info for you (hunt & peck typer).

    Hope that information and the prior post helps you address the "code" question regarding paint (field modification & contrary to the critical Listed instructions and markings) on the face of receptacles without a field evaluation and certification from a NRTL.

    P.S. I think that "system" font looks cool, much easier to read! Thanks for pointing it out


    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 04-28-2009 at 03:35 PM.

  17. #17
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    Post Re: painted receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    (Curious as to why you use bold in all of your posts, or use a font which appears to be bold, just curious.)

    It is the "System" font. It seems to allow for more clear reading. The default, Veranda, is a little harder on my eyes. Font size is unchanged from the default.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

  18. #18
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    Default Re: painted receptacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Aldering View Post
    It is the "System" font. It seems to allow for more clear reading. The default, Veranda, is a little harder on my eyes. Font size is unchanged from the default.
    Actually, it creates a less easily read post.

    My posts are "Veranda", your font does say "System", yes, but what is it? It certainly is not "Veranda".

    It is also difficult to read because it is something ... well ... something hard to read.

    There are the various fonts: (all in font size 2)
    Arial
    Arial Black
    Arial Narrow
    Black Antigua
    Century Gothic
    Comic Sans MS
    Courier New
    Fixedsys
    Franklin Gothic Medium
    Garamond
    Georgia
    Impact
    Lucida Console
    Lucida Sans Unicode
    Microsoft Sans Serif
    Palatinno Linotype
    System
    Tahoma
    Times New Roman
    Trebuchet MS
    Veranda

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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