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Thread: Exposed romex

  1. #1
    Jody Humbert's Avatar
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    Default Exposed romex

    What is the requirement for exposed romex when it is run on the outside of wall materials? I called out this wiring in the garage and at the laundry room that it needs enclosed in protective conduit for safety and called for repair. An electrician has been called in and is stating that it does not need enclosed. He stated that the wiring is tacked secure and it is not a hard(cement) surface. He thinks I'm misinterpreting what is required. I did comment that the wiring to the bench is not secured. Thanks for any comments in advance.

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  2. #2
    Robert Meier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exposed romex

    NM cable is permitted to be run exposed on the surface of the building finish. If subject to physical damage then it requires supplemental protection. The term subject to physical damage is not defined by the NEC so it becomes an interpretative issue. Here's the actual NEC wording:

    334.15 Exposed Work.
    In exposed work, except as provided in 300.11(A), cable shall be installed as specified in 334.15(A) through (C).
    (A) To Follow Surface. Cable shall closely follow the surface of the building finish or of running boards.
    (B) Protection from Physical Damage. Cable shall be protected from physical damage where necessary by rigid metal conduit, intermediate metal conduit, electrical metallic tubing, Schedule 80 PVC conduit, or other approved means. Where passing through a floor, the cable shall be enclosed in rigid metal conduit, intermediate metal conduit, electrical metallic tubing, Schedule 80 PVC conduit, or other approved means extending at least 150 mm (6 in.) above the floor.
    Type NMC cable installed in shallow chases or grooves in masonry, concrete, or adobe, shall be protected in accordance with the requirements in 300.4(F) and covered with plaster, adobe, or similar finish.



  3. #3
    Jody Humbert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exposed romex

    Thanks Robert. I do see that it states if subject to physical damage. I can see where interpretation can vary. I did get some return calls from some local electricians I know and they all stated that they would put it in conduit because of location in the garage where damage can occur. I would think that the wiring by the bench could in theory be subject to damage from a saw. I had a job where a large, heavy metal shelf unit had collapsed into a wall covered in drywall. After I looked closer, the shelving unit was sharp and sliced into the wire and scorch marks were present. I will continue to call it out for safety.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Exposed romex

    I see other problems with that too, but the biggest problem I see is that it looks to be fed from a 30 amp dryer outlet ... and that is only 20 amp wire ... and that dryer outlet *is not a junction box*.

    The electrician has 'some 'splanin to do' as Ricky would say to Lucy.

    Keep in mind that when using a raceway for protection from physical damage that the raceway itself needs to be listed for providing protection from physical damage, i.e., Sch 40 PVC is not, Sch 80 PVC is, etc.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Exposed romex

    I think there are two separate issues shown Jerry, one is the cable for the dryer. The other is the wiring of the receptacle near the workbench. I don't see the dryer receptacle being used as a junction box and feeding the duplex receptacle. I see this as a surface cable feeding the dryer receptacle.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Exposed romex

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I don't see the dryer receptacle being used as a junction box and feeding the duplex receptacle. I see this as a surface cable feeding the dryer receptacle.
    After zooming in for a closer look ... I agree.

    Now the question is, is that 20 amp NM cable feeding the dryer on a 30 amp breaker/fuse or a 20 amp?

    If a 30 amp breaker, that is bad.

    If a 20 amp breaker, the dryer would trip that ... unless someone modified the dryer for 20 amps by disconnecting some of the heating element, but that would cause the clothes to take a very long time to dry. So I am going with that 20 amp NM cable is likely on a 30 amp overcurrent device.

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Exposed romex

    And is the garage receptacle GFCI protected?


  8. #8
    Jody Humbert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exposed romex

    Thanks for the replies, gentlemen. I did call out the wire size on the dryer feed. Electrician agreed with that but stated he would just tack the new line to the wall as original. That's why I was still asking about that. Outlets in the garage are not GFCI protected. Grandfathered. I always recommend GFCI be installed and also state that any additional outlets should be GFCI protected as they are upgrades and not original.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Exposed romex

    The dryer can be pushed back against the wall, and a sharp edge can cut the supply cable, putting a lethal voltage on the dryer cabinet. That 'electrician' is an idiot.

    It will only take 15 minutes longer to drill two hole and fish the cable in behind the drywall. Same with that workbench supply cable. A professional wouldn't think twice about drilling a few holes and clocking an extra hour, but winding up with all that wiring concealed and out of harm's way.
    Sometimes, the wiring can be run along the top of the wall. 7 feet above the floor is not subject to damage as a general rule. That sparky is an embarrassment to his profession.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Exposed romex

    You'd think just for the sake of making the job look more professional they would have ran the wire perpendicular and parallel to the structure. As is it appears that they have 20 feet of wire and they needed 25 feet.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Exposed romex

    The dryer can be pushed back against the wall, and a sharp edge can cut the supply cable, putting a lethal voltage on the dryer cabinet.

    Kind of hard to do this with that dryer vent going out the wall about 1/2 way up the wall behind the dryer

    That 'electrician' is an idiot.
    That sparky is an embarrassment to his profession

    You know what they say about ASSuming ? Looks like a homeowner install
    or a friend /relative of the homeowner



  12. #12
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    Default Re: Exposed romex

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    The dryer can be pushed back against the wall, and a sharp edge can cut the supply cable, putting a lethal voltage on the dryer cabinet.

    Kind of hard to do this with that dryer vent going out the wall about 1/2 way up the wall behind the dryer

    That 'electrician' is an idiot.

    You know what they say about ASSuming ? Looks like a homeowner install
    or a friend of the homeowner
    Well the poster says the electrician plans to mount a new cable on the surface, so I am not assuming, unless somebody lied.

    The dryer pipe doesn't provide protection, because the dryer can be shoved in on an angle, and a couple of wrestling teenagers can easily crush that dryer duct. We shouldn't ass-ume that can't happen, eh?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Exposed romex

    Quote Originally Posted by Jody Humbert View Post
    Thanks for the replies, gentlemen. I did call out the wire size on the dryer feed. Electrician agreed with that but stated he would just tack the new line to the wall as original. That's why I was still asking about that. Outlets in the garage are not GFCI protected. Grandfathered. I always recommend GFCI be installed and also state that any additional outlets should be GFCI protected as they are upgrades and not original.
    The outlet may look old but that is new 12AWG wire being run to the garage outlet. That is a recent installation and should be GFCI protected. Agreed?


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Exposed romex

    Quote Originally Posted by David O'Keefe View Post
    The outlet may look old but that is new 12AWG wire being run to the garage outlet. That is a recent installation and should be GFCI protected. Agreed?
    Yep. Looks like yellow #12 NM/Romex.


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