One of the primary reasons that people violate electric codes is due to the fact that they change so often. The National Electric Code (NEC) changes so often that it's hard to keep track of the fact that the changes you're making to your electrical system might, in fact, be a violation. Before you start to have electrical work done on your house, or if you are getting ready for an electrical inspection, you should know the 5 most common electrical code violations.
Lack Of Correct Circuit Breaker
Did you know there is an array of circuit breakers from which you can choose to install in your house and business? Unfortunately, you'll have to install the correct one to meet your specific needs lest you wish to violate the NEC.
There are three primary forms of circuit breakers. Standard circuit breakers are the most common and protect wire insulation and appliances like heaters. Ground fault circuit interrupters protect people from their small appliances shorting out and are used in areas where standing water is known to make its home. Air fault circuit interrupters are present in areas where wires are cramped and pets are liable to get ahold of circuitry.
Switches Without A Neutral Wire
Absolutely all switches installed inside of the house (or garage, or shed, or business – you get the picture), must necessarily have a neutral wire installed. Why is this the case? Electronic switches need a consistent and constant flow of energy and therefore need a neutral wire installed. There is actually no danger in not installing a neutral wire, but the NEC demands it due to the fact they might serve a potential purpose in the future and therefore need to be installed in all current units.
Lack Of Tamper Resistant Receptacles
Tamper resistant receptacles are installations that must be installed in all outlets, whether indoor or outdoor for every new building or when renovations occur. Tamper resistant receptacles have spring-loaded slots that open when both springs are compressed, allowing electricity to flow freely. Tamper resistant receptacles prevent electric shock that might occur when a child places an object in an electrical outlet. Almost 2,400 kids each year suffer electric shocks, and tamper resistant receptacles help prevent this from happening.
Incorrect Cover On Receptacles
There are a number of different covers for receptacles, especially for outdoor receptacles featuring many different outlets. You should be in contact with NEC regarding which covers are currently "in code" and how your current receptacle configuration corresponds with their current receptacle cover code. Depending on the area in which the covers reside, you will need different covers. For example, areas with moisture or excess water demand a different cover than dry areas. Contact NEC regarding which cover you should be using for each separate receptacle.
Sufficient Electrical Bonding
Bonding should not be confused with grounding (although grounding is another important NEC rule to follow, as well). All sorts of wires and cables – from coaxial to gas piping systems should be sufficiently bonded together. This will equalize the voltage potential between conductive systems. This is a huge safety issue. If the systems are not equalized then you run the risk of a human being acting as a conductor for electricity to pass through if he or she happens to be grabbing onto the unbonded lines.
This is, of course, something you do not want to experience.
NEC violations, at times, might seem arbitrary, but they are there, by and large, for a reason: your safety. It is important to follow these rules to a T. Contact a residential electrician for professional assistance.