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  1. #1
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Question about article 680

    I'm in a discussion (friendly one) on another forum about article 680. specifically 2008 NEC 680.42(C). The part where it says for any outdoor installed hot tub or spa that is a packaged unit or self contained unit you may use any wiring method of Chapter 3 for the indoor portion of the supply to the spa or hot tub for connecting to motors , heating, or control loads.
    680.42 Says the spa installation shall conform with parts 1 and 2 of Art. 680 except as permitted by 680.42 (A) and (B).

    The installation under discussion is a 50 amp double pole breaker in the service equipment that is protecting a newly installed 6/3 with ground nm-b cable for the interior wiring terminated to a 3R spa panel with a 50 amp GFCI for the spa supply and a single pole 120 volt breaker included in that panel for a convienience receptacle or other use. My contention is that it is non compliant because it is a feeder and the indoor wiring must be in a listed conduit in accordance with art. 680.25(A).

    Just wanting clarification if that is correct or not.

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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    perfectly ok to do. That article does not specify that there must be individual circuits to each of the loads ( heater,heaters,controls etc).
    Thus the use of a 6-3 as a feed to the spa panel is good to go.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    I agree with Ken.

    680.42(C) governs the interior wiring to the outdoor spa; once you get outdoors 680.42(A) takes over.


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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    Where, precisely IS the spa panel, and where does the cable run? At what point does the NM-B leave the interior conditioned, thermal envelope? NM-B is for dry locations only. NMC(-B) if the spa panel/cabinet is in anyway outside the thermal envelope. UF-B if any portion is burried. Condensation = damp location at a minimum, NM-B doesn't belong in unconditioned crawl spaces either. If required to be in conduit NM or UF may not be used. Assuming a longer run or other derating since 6/3 is being used.

    You might find the attached of some use.

    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 03-03-2010 at 01:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Frazee View Post
    I'm in a discussion (friendly one) on another forum about article 680. specifically 2008 NEC 680.42(C). The part where it says for any outdoor installed hot tub or spa that is a packaged unit or self contained unit you may use any wiring method of Chapter 3 for the indoor portion of the supply to the spa or hot tub for connecting to motors , heating, or control loads.
    680.42 Says the spa installation shall conform with parts 1 and 2 of Art. 680 except as permitted by 680.42 (A) and (B).

    The installation under discussion is a 50 amp double pole breaker in the service equipment that is protecting a newly installed 6/3 with ground nm-b cable for the interior wiring terminated to a 3R spa panel with a 50 amp GFCI for the spa supply and a single pole 120 volt breaker included in that panel for a convienience receptacle or other use. My contention is that it is non compliant because it is a feeder and the indoor wiring must be in a listed conduit in accordance with art. 680.25(A).

    Just wanting clarification if that is correct or not.
    680.25(A) pertains to Part II (permanenly installed pools), Spas & Hot Tubs are Part IV, 680.42 States the Part IV must conform with Part II (not 2 btw) except for those that meet section 680.42(A) or section 680.42(B); 680.42(C) is NOT an exception to conforming with Part II requirements. Part II states any Chapter 3 methods that conform with Part II requirements.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 03-03-2010 at 04:08 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Condensation = damp location at a minimum, NM-B doesn't belong in unconditioned crawl spaces either.
    This is a general and broad statement; I'm sure there are some crawlspaces that are continuously wet/damp and this would be an appropriate consideration. But are you saying this as a blanket statement for all crawlspaces? That is, as an inspector you would not permit NM in any crawlspace?


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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    Quote Originally Posted by David Newton View Post
    This is a general and broad statement; I'm sure there are some crawlspaces that are continuously wet/damp and this would be an appropriate consideration. But are you saying this as a blanket statement for all crawlspaces? That is, as an inspector you would not permit NM in any crawlspace?
    Oh Dave - You just stepped in it! You just opened a BIG can of worms !
    There have been many of conversations on this very subject.

    Yes he is making a blanket statment. There are some here who insist that ALL crawl spaces are Damp/wet locations. There are an equal number who are open minded enough to except the fact that not ALL crawl spaces are damp. I can put you in some in my area that are so dry you stir up dust going into them!

    If the NEC considered all crawl spaces as damp/wet , wouldn't they list them in section 334.12 Uses Not Permitted rather then openly allowing NM in crawl spaces as they do in section 334.15(C).( If NM is not allowed in crawl spaces why would the NEC bother to write how to protect it in a crawl space)

    My original post was based on the question and information given, with out adding "reading" more into it.
    OK off my soap box, walking back to my corner, will sit quietly and watch and listen


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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    Unfinished crawlspaces may or may not be conditioned crawlspaces; just as unfinished basements may or may not be conditioned basements - and conditioned crawlspaces or basements may still not be dry locations.

    The permitted use in unfinished crawlspaces still requires meeting the remaining requirements, i.e. that it be a dry location, in the case of NM-B. This would mean a naturally dry, UNVENTILLATED (to the outdoors), and CONDITIONED crawlspace. A unconditioned crawlspace, outside of the thermal and conditioning envelope is NOT a dry location, it is subject to swings of relative humidity and temperature and thus condensation and potentially saturation. Therefore it is NOT a dry location, and thus not permitted.

    Back to the topic question, since the NM feeder is newly installed it doesn't meet the existing installation exception for either the feeder or remote panelboard (; and 680.42(C) is NOT an exception to Part II requirements which must be met according to 680.42.

    Part II allows Chapter 3 that MEET requirements of Part II. NM-B outside of the thermal envelope wouldn't meet Chapter 334 on the dry location or corrosive vapors from the spa chemical/salts treatments.

    but might permit NMC for the interior wiring to the outdoor installation IF the remote panel is on the exterior framing of the structure, not the hot tub itself, otherwise contained in conduit and Part II prohibits conduit contining NM or UF, and only permits Chapter 3 methods that further comply with the provisions of Part II, ex. 680.21(A)(4).


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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    Quote Originally Posted by David Newton View Post
    This is a general and broad statement; I'm sure there are some crawlspaces that are continuously wet/damp and this would be an appropriate consideration. But are you saying this as a blanket statement for all crawlspaces? That is, as an inspector you would not permit NM in any crawlspace?
    David Newton,

    You apparently skipped over the qualifying word but quoted it anyway, that being: unconditioned.

    I'd direct you to the definitions in Article 100 for locations,dry; locations, damp; and locations, wet. You will find they do not contain your interpretation/application of "continuous" for a state of dampness or wetness in them.


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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post

    The permitted use in unfinished crawlspaces still requires meeting the remaining requirements, i.e. that it be a dry location, in the case of NM-B. This would mean a naturally dry, UNVENTILLATED (to the outdoors), and CONDITIONED crawlspace. A unconditioned crawlspace, outside of the thermal and conditioning envelope is NOT a dry location, it is subject to swings of relative humidity and temperature and thus condensation and potentially saturation. Therefore it is NOT a dry location, and thus not permitted.
    HG, this in no way agrees with the NEC definitions of a damp, wet or dry area. The NEC definition are what would need to be used to properly apply the NEC. Making up defintions to suit ones whims, or other sources of defintions doesn't influence the proper usage of the NEC.

    I see you apparently do know where the NEC defintions are located.

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    I'd direct you to the definitions in Article 100 for locations,dry; locations, damp; and locations, wet. You will find they do not contain your interpretation/application of "continuous" for a state of dampness or wetness in them.


    Last edited by Jim Port; 03-03-2010 at 05:19 PM. Reason: added quote

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    David Newton,

    You apparently skipped over the qualifying word but quoted it anyway, that being: unconditioned.

    I'd direct you to the definitions in Article 100 for locations,dry; locations, damp; and locations, wet. You will find they do not contain your interpretation/application of "continuous" for a state of dampness or wetness in them.
    I'm familiar with the definition of locations; I'm also a municipal electrical inspector and in reality I don't have the luxary [despite many opinions to the contrary] of making such blanket interpretations of the code. I have worked in many jurisdictions and not one of them would support such a definition [crawl space being damp/wet because of cross ventilation] if I were to attempt such.

    Your insistance that a crawl space is damp/wet just because it is cross ventilated wouldn't hold water in most municipalities [if you had to justify your correction notice to the Building Official].

    That said, I am quite familiar with certain jurisdictions being extreme in their code interpretations....I also know those same jurisdictions usually end up not renewing the Building Officials contract when the city council finally gets tired of constituent complaints.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    perfectly ok to do. That article does not specify that there must be individual circuits to each of the loads ( heater,heaters,controls etc).
    Thus the use of a 6-3 as a feed to the spa panel is good to go.
    Ken
    You hit the nail on the head as to why I was determining that the install would require conduit. . I was reading 680.42(C) to understand that if it were a branch circuit to the packaged spa you could use nm while inside the interior of the dwelling in a dry location. In other words if it were a 50 amp gfci at the service equipment and it supplied the spa via a non-ocpd outdoor disconnect mounted outside with in sight of the spa it would not be a feeder and you could use cable such as nm for the interior portion.

    So the majority is saying that even though the nm cable is a feeder and feeders are covered in Part II 680.25 ... requiring conduit ... that is overidden by 680.42(C) and nm is good to go.

    I'm ok with that analysis but I find it odd that if it were an outdoor pool I would need conduit for a feeder (as long as it isn't an existing cable feeder) but a spa panel being supplied from a feeder on the load side of the service equipment doesn't require conduit.

    Why the exception? 680.42(C) doesn't appear in my eyes to make an exception for feeders.

    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 03-03-2010 at 05:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    The NEC treats one family dwellings different when it comes to this issue.
    ( and the requirement for a emergency shut off switch )
    If you look at 680.21(4) you will see that you are allowed to run Any chapter 3 wiring method inside a dwelling just that spa.
    In other words IF it is a dwelling NM is OK, If it is NOT a dwelling NM is no good.


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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    HG, this in no way agrees with the NEC definitions of a damp, wet or dry area. The NEC definition are what would need to be used to properly apply the NEC.
    Yep, the NEC definitions apply, for sure.

    - Location, Damp. Locations protected from weather and not subject to saturation with water or other liquids but subject to moderate degrees of moisture. Examples of such locations include partially protected locations under canopies, marquees, roofed open porches, and like locations, and interior locations subject to moderate degrees of moisture, such as some basements, some barns, and some cold-storage warehouses.

    - Location, Dry. A location not normally subject to dampness or wetness. A location classified as dry may be temporarily subject to dampness or wetness, as in the case of a building under construction.

    - Location, Wet. Installations underground or in concrete slabs or masonry in direct contact with the earth; in locations subject to saturation with water or other liquids, such as vehicle washing areas; and in unprotected locations exposed to weather.

    A crawl space fits "Location, Damp", not "Location, Dry".

    I see various twists and turns in the posts above, all revolving, basically, around NM-B being suitable for use in the dwelling ... get that? ... "in" ... not "outside" the dwelling.

    I believe that is where H.G. was going and was pointing out - that NM-B is suitable only for use "in" the dwelling, not outside of it. We have had this very discussion quite recently, and NM-B is not allowed as follows:
    - 334.12 Uses Not Permitted.
    - - (A) Types NM, NMC, and NMS. Types NM, NMC, and NMS cables shall not be permitted as follows:
    - - - (1) In any dwelling or structure not specifically permitted in 334.10(1), (2), and (3)
    - - - - Exception: Type NM, NMC, and NMS cable shall be permitted in Type I and II construction when installed within raceways permitted to be installed in Type I and II construction.
    - - - (2) Exposed in dropped or suspended ceilings in other than one- and two-family and multifamily dwellings
    - - - (3) As service-entrance cable
    - - - (4) In commercial garages having hazardous (classified) locations as defined in 511.3
    - - - (5) In theaters and similar locations, except where permitted in 518.4(B)
    - - - (6) In motion picture studios
    - - - (7) In storage battery rooms
    - - - (8) In hoistways or on elevators or escalators
    - - - (9) Embedded in poured cement, concrete, or aggregate
    - - - (10) In hazardous (classified) locations, except where permitted by the following:
    - - - - a. 501.10(B)(3)
    - - - - b. 502.10(B)(3)
    - - - - c. 504.20
    - - (B) Types NM and NMS. Types NM and NMS cables shall not be used under the following conditions or in the following locations:
    - - - (1) Where exposed to corrosive fumes or vapors
    - - - (2) Where embedded in masonry, concrete, adobe, fill, or plaster
    - - - (3) In a shallow chase in masonry, concrete, or adobe and covered with plaster, adobe, or similar finish
    - - - (4) In wet or damp locations

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

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    The NEC treats one family dwellings different when it comes to this issue.
    ( and the requirement for a emergency shut off switch )
    If you look at 680.21(4) you will see that you are allowed to run Any chapter 3 wiring method inside a dwelling just that spa.
    In other words IF it is a dwelling NM is OK, If it is NOT a dwelling NM is no good.
    I suppose I'm hard headed and you are correct that section is talking about single family dwellings but isn't 680.21(4) also talking about branch circuits to pool motors from a single family dwelling? 680.25 specifically singles out feeders and 680.25(A) tells the wiring methods for all feeders. I see no exception to dwelling or building type for a feeder. I do see it for branch circuits.

    680.42 requires you to comply with part II, which includes 680.25, when installing a spa or hot tub unless amended by 680.42 A or B ... no mention of (C) amending anything in 680.25. (C) does say the wiring method to underwater luminaires in a spa or hot tub is to follow part II 680.23 or 680.33.

    680.42(C) IMO does not amend 680.25 Feeders of part II. Just having a hard time seeing the single family dwelling exception as it pertains to feeders....it would seem that 680.21(4) compliments 680.42(C) for branch circuits since I have to comply with part II when installing a spa or hot tub outdoors..

    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 03-04-2010 at 07:04 AM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    Ken

    Well as I have reviewed things this morning I'm going to have to agree that my argument doesn't hold water .....


    You are correct Nm can be used for the wiring method while inside the dwelling to a spa panel . Sorry if I tried your patience.

    An interesting comment from another electrician I was discussing this subject with ... he said that there are some who say that the spa panel must be supplied and required by the spa or hot tub manufacturer for it to be considered as part of a packaged unit or self contained unit. If you purchase it separately you would comply with 680.25. That's not making a lot of sense to me but was one of many different conclusions reached during my discussion of 680.42(C) with other electricians.

    Most however were in agreement with your statements.

    Thanks for your time and detailed responses.

    EDIT ....for what it's worth up until a few days ago I always thought that 680.42(C) was as you have been stating and frankly is how we have wired spas and hot tubs here in Kansas. A discussion with a inspector from Indiana had me second guessing that we may have been in error. Anyway poised the argument here because there are some sharp minded fellas that hang out here...this confusion with 680.42(C) is pretty common. Here is a copied section from my local code guidelines that clarifies how you apply 680.25 Feeders to 680.42(C) wouldn't it be nice if the NEC would be this clear but the disagreement still goes on in many forums.... ...the Mike Holt forum has made a circus out of this subject.

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    Last edited by Roger Frazee; 03-04-2010 at 08:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Question about article 680

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Frazee View Post
    Ken

    Well as I have reviewed things this morning I'm going to have to agree that my argument doesn't hold water .....


    You are correct Nm can be used for the wiring method while inside the dwelling to a spa panel . Sorry if I tried your patience.

    An interesting comment from another electrician I was discussing this subject with ... he said that there are some who say that the spa panel must be supplied and required by the spa or hot tub manufacturer for it to be considered as part of a packaged unit or self contained unit. If you purchase it separately you would comply with 680.25. That's not making a lot of sense to me but was one of many different conclusions reached during my discussion of 680.42(C) with other electricians.

    Most however were in agreement with your statements.

    Thanks for your time and detailed responses.

    EDIT ....for what it's worth up until a few days ago I always thought that 680.42(C) was as you have been stating and frankly is how we have wired spas and hot tubs here in Kansas. A discussion with a inspector from Indiana had me second guessing that we may have been in error. Anyway poised the argument here because there are some sharp minded fellas that hang out here...this confusion with 680.42(C) is pretty common. Here is a copied section from my local code guidelines that clarifies how you apply 680.25 Feeders to 680.42(C) wouldn't it be nice if the NEC would be this clear but the disagreement still goes on in many forums.... ...the Mike Holt forum has made a circus out of this subject.
    680.42(C) is not an exception to Part II requirements for FEEDERS, read 680.42 (2008) more carefully. Exceptions are 680.42(A) and (B): to part II NOT 680.42(C) must still comply with Parts I & II as well as Chapter (1,2,4 and) 3. Toughest restriction without exception applies, that includes the manufacturer's listed instructions and paramaters/standards of the listing category.

    Your friends are right about what is and is not "packaged". Read 680 Part I definitions for packaged spas & hot tubs.

    The reference to the section in part II I made earlier as an example (motors) 680.21(A)(4) was correct, although Ken & you have referenced it incorrectly subsequent as 680.21(4).

    Find it strange choice of directed materials at your local level, as Part II specifies liquidtight and corrosion resistant - that rules out EMT and lightweight/wall aluminum and others.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 03-04-2010 at 05:11 PM.

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