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Thread: exposed romex

  1. #1
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    Question exposed romex

    My question is about code standard on exposed wire.

    14 gage wire coming from the above ceiling of the house to the patio ABOVE trusses on the patio. The height from the patio floor to the trusses is 10 feet. Patio has hip roof and completely closed rain /water free roof covered with shingles.

    I understood that it is not considered as an exposed wire because it is above 7 feet height.
    Please advise? Is it exposed or not exposed wire? Is it allowed per code?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: exposed romex

    NM (nonmetallic sheathed cable) is for dry locations only.

    You are describing a damp location, possibly a wet location (but at least a damp location).

    There are at least two things to be concerned with:
    - 1) exposure to physical damage (what you are asking about)
    - 2) proper use of the proper wiring method in the proper location.

    1) NM cable may be run exposed (not inside the wall) if it follows the surface, is attached to the surface, and is protected from physical damage where exposed to physical damage - below 8 feet is considered exposed to physical damage and would need protection by being in a raceway or Sch 80 PVC (Sch 40 PVC is not rated as providing protection from physical damage).

    2) NM cable is suitable for installation in dry locations only. There needs to be a junction box installed at the ceiling, then the circuit can be brought down outside in a raceway using conductors which are suitable for installation in damp or wet locations (such as TW, THW, THHN/THHW, etc).

    Now, if that cable is UF (underground feeder), which I doubt it is, then it is suitable for use outdoors if it is also listed as being Sunlight Resistant (all UF cable I have seen has also been listed as Sunlight Resistant, but maybe some manufacturer makes some which is not?).

    If that is UF and sunlight resistant, then it can be run down from the ceiling to 8 feet, then needs to be in a raceway for protection from physical damage - so all that is gained by using UF is being allowed to run it outside in a raceway, and if installing a raceway, why not use a proper wire type in that raceway - it would be much easier to work with than UF.

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

  3. #3
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    Question Re: exposed romex

    Thank you very much for your explanation Jerry.

    I can not understand why this would be consider as a wet location. The wire is extended from the house ( new construction ) to the patio , and both - patio and a house have the same roof - one solid hip style roof under shingles . Roof has fascia and gutters. Also , romex located above trusses. Is it wet location?

    Otherwise , I understood that if it is above 8 feet height, then it is legal to be exposed.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    NM (nonmetallic sheathed cable) is for dry locations only.

    You are describing a damp location, possibly a wet location (but at least a damp location).

    There are at least two things to be concerned with:
    - 1) exposure to physical damage (what you are asking about)
    - 2) proper use of the proper wiring method in the proper location.

    1) NM cable may be run exposed (not inside the wall) if it follows the surface, is attached to the surface, and is protected from physical damage where exposed to physical damage - below 8 feet is considered exposed to physical damage and would need protection by being in a raceway or Sch 80 PVC (Sch 40 PVC is not rated as providing protection from physical damage).

    2) NM cable is suitable for installation in dry locations only. There needs to be a junction box installed at the ceiling, then the circuit can be brought down outside in a raceway using conductors which are suitable for installation in damp or wet locations (such as TW, THW, THHN/THHW, etc).

    Now, if that cable is UF (underground feeder), which I doubt it is, then it is suitable for use outdoors if it is also listed as being Sunlight Resistant (all UF cable I have seen has also been listed as Sunlight Resistant, but maybe some manufacturer makes some which is not?).

    If that is UF and sunlight resistant, then it can be run down from the ceiling to 8 feet, then needs to be in a raceway for protection from physical damage - so all that is gained by using UF is being allowed to run it outside in a raceway, and if installing a raceway, why not use a proper wire type in that raceway - it would be much easier to work with than UF.



  4. #4
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    Default Re: exposed romex

    That is not a wet location.

    The NEC also does not have the 7 or 8 foot limitations that were mentioned earlier. Subject to damage is entirely subjective. The NEC allows NM through a floor with only 6 inches of protection.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: exposed romex

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Gaspy View Post
    I can not understand why this would be consider as a wet location. The wire is extended from the house ( new construction ) to the patio , and both - patio and a house have the same roof - one solid hip style roof under shingles .
    The NM cable is in the attic, based on your description - the attic is a dry location.

    Roof has fascia and gutters. Also , romex located above trusses. Is it wet location?
    NM cable located above the bottom chords of the trusses with a ceiling below (in the attic) is a dry location; if exposed trusses (no ceiling) and over an open porch would be a damp location (but you said going down through the ceiling - so this would not apply to your situation).

    The wet location and damp location comes into play as soon as the NM cable penetrates the ceiling and is "outdoors".

    The difference between a damp location and a wet location do not matter to your situation as NM cable is not permitted in either - so the NM cable needs to stop at the ceiling in a junction box and some other wiring method continues from there.

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: exposed romex

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    That is not a wet location.

    The NEC also does not have the 7 or 8 foot limitations that were mentioned earlier. Subject to damage is entirely subjective. The NEC allows NM through a floor with only 6 inches of protection.
    334.15 Exposed Work.
    - (A) To Follow Surface. In exposed work, except as provided in 300.11(A), 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, Type RTRC marked with the suffix -XW, 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, Type RTRC marked with the suffix -XW, 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.

    300.4 Protection Against Physical Damage. Where subject to physical damage, conductors, raceways, and cables shall be protected.
    - (A) Cables and Raceways Through Wood Members
    - (B) Non-metallic Sheathed Cable and Electrical nonmetallic Tubing Through Metal Framing Members.
    - (C) Cables Through Spaces Behind Panels Designed to Allow Access.
    - (D) Cables and Raceways Parallel to Framing Members and Furring Strips.
    - (E) Cables, Raceways, or Boxes Installed in or Under Roof Decking.
    - (F) Cables and Raceways Installed in Shallow Grooves.
    - (G) Insulated Fittings.
    - (H) Structural Joints.

    All of the above means that it requires protection from physical damage, and if the NM cable is 'just hanging down', that ain't allowed, but if the NM cable is properly installed and the NM "cable shall closely follow the surface of the building finish", then that is the required protection from physical damage.

    Other installations of NM cable shall meet the requirements of 300.4 for protection from physical damage as applicable to the installation being done.

    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

    Tough call. In my experience, every type of wiring method is subject to damage almost anyplace. No matter where you put it some idiot will figure out how to damage it. Most often seen example is 3 1/2 inch screws used to anchor cabinets going through an NM-B cable dead center in a 2 X 6. Next most often seen is the drywallers cutting the cables to shreds with their box cut-out tools. Next is running screws into the back of a device box, meter can, or panel box. I've seen lots of screws run through EMT and IMC, and the determined guys drill through rigid.

    8 feet is indeed an arbitrary call (you can still hang pictures from MN-B at 8 feet) but nothing in the NEC details where "subject to damage" is.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: exposed romex

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    Tough call. In my experience, every type of wiring method is subject to damage almost anyplace. No matter where you put it some idiot will figure out how to damage it. Most often seen example is 3 1/2 inch screws used to anchor cabinets going through an NM-B cable dead center in a 2 X 6. Next most often seen is the drywallers cutting the cables to shreds with their box cut-out tools. Next is running screws into the back of a device box, meter can, or panel box. I've seen lots of screws run through EMT and IMC, and the determined guys drill through rigid.

    8 feet is indeed an arbitrary call (you can still hang pictures from MN-B at 8 feet) but nothing in the NEC details where "subject to damage" is.
    But there is resistance from many electricians to address protection from physical damage in even the most minor manner ... even when those are spelled out by the NEC (nail plates, etc).

    I am a believer in that it is A LOT less costly to provide protection than to even have to go back once when protection should have been provided and was not, but that costs an itty-bitty nit more per job, and they bid so close to not making any money that they leave stuff out ... then scream and cry when it costs so much to go back and correct their own mistake. Oh, well.

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: exposed romex

    Just wrote up some exposed romex along a garage floor today. Will the client damage it when they ram their metal shelving unit from home depot up against the wall, or shovels or lawn mower?
    Don't know but I don't want to be getting a phone call about somebody getting electrocuted.

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

  10. #10
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    Ohio
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    Default Re: exposed romex

    I always felt that an exposed wire was one that was not concealed behind drywall or some other form of finished product. Without seeing a picture it's difficult but I would assume that what you're describing would need some kind of protective plastic conduit or metal casing to protect it from someone accidentally cutting it or the elements


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