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#15367 - 10/14/02 08:06 PM Insulate wall plate and screws?
maintenanceguy Offline

Registered: 12/02/01
Posts: 303
Loc: Southern NJ, USA
The company I work for owns several apartment complexes in addition to other investment properties.

I was just asked to oversee a renovation project at one of the complexes that just had a State DCA inspection.

I'm going through the pages and pages of paperwork and one of the violations that shows up in every single apartment is "insulate bathroom/toilet room electrical switch, wall plate and screws"

The property manager tells me that the inspector said that all switch plates in a bath or kitchen had to be plastic. I remember being hit with the same violation many years ago when I was chief engineer for a couple of hotels.

Is there an NEC reference for this? And I'm not sure how to provide insulated screws. I vaguely remember seeing plastic cover plate screws before, possibly packed with a GFCI but my memory on this is hazy. Any information appreciated.

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#15368 - 10/15/02 03:49 AM Re: Insulate wall plate and screws?
sparky Offline

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
about 15 yrs ago the sparky i worked under did'nt ground switches. he got bagged by the AHJ who stated that 'exposed metal' parts had to be grounded. he then ordered plastic plate screws for the job & passed.... it was the first and last i've seen of plastic plate screws...

i cannot vouch for past cycles here, only present day code, as such....404.9(B) probably applies:


Snap switches, including dimmer and similar control switches, shall be effectively grounded and shall provide a means to ground metal faceplates, whether or not a metal faceplate is installed. Snap switches shall be considered effectively grounded if either of the following conditions is met.
(1) The switch is mounted with metal screws to a metal box or to a nonmetallic box with integral means for grounding devices.
(2) An equipment grounding conductor or equipment bonding jumper is connected to an equipment grounding termination of the snap switch.

Exception to (B): Where no grounding means exists within the snap-switch enclosure or where the wiring method does not include or provide an equipment ground, a snap switch without a grounding connection shall be permitted for replacement purposes only. A snap switch wired under the provisions of this exception and located within reach of earth, grade conducting floors, or other conducting surfaces shall be provided with a faceplate of nonconducting, noncombustible material.

HB commentary here......

The provisions of 404.9(B) specify that switching devices, including snap switches, dimmers, and similar control devices, must be grounded. Although the non–current-carrying metal parts of these devices are typically not subject to contact by personnel, there is concern about the use of metal faceplates, which do pose a shock hazard if they become energized. Therefore, the grounded switch must provide a means for grounding the metal faceplate.
The requirements in (1) or (2) of 404.9(B) describe the provisions to satisfy the main requirement. Switch plates in existing installations attached to switches in boxes without an equipment grounding conductor must be made of insulating material. See Exhibit 404.1, following the commentary in 404.12, for an example of the typical method by which a metal faceplate is grounded.

Q~do you have a EGC ??

[This message has been edited by sparky (edited 10-15-2002).]

#15369 - 10/15/02 05:40 PM Re: Insulate wall plate and screws?
harold endean Offline

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 2248
Loc: Boonton, NJ

If you want to, You should ask the inspector what code section he is quoting. Here in NJ the DCA states that every inspection that fails, we must (as inspectors) quote the NEC, chapter and verse, where and why we fail a job. I can agree with sparky that a plastic plate might be required IF the box is plastic, it is an old 2 wire RX (NO GROUND WIRE), and there is metal plates.

#15370 - 10/15/02 05:53 PM Re: Insulate wall plate and screws?
HotLine1 Offline


Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6792
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
Harold is correct that IF it was an inspection performed by an Electrical Inspector, Building, Plumbing, Fire they are supposed to cite a CODE Article (NEC, etc)
Was it a DCA housing inspection, multiple dwelling units, a lot of typed white paper?

Used to be there favorite thing, insulated screws & plastic plates.

Well, if you need them Mullbery Metals, the guys that make device plates, 4' blanks, FS Boxes, etc. used to have NYLON screws (Ivory)

If not, do you have a MCMaster Carr catalog?
They have 6-32 nylon x 3/4" and a few other sizes. McMaster has a website, and Mullberry may. (Mullbery is in Union, NJ, and any good supply house should deal with them.

PS, I'm a Jersey Guy too.

#15371 - 10/15/02 07:27 PM Re: Insulate wall plate and screws?
maintenanceguy Offline

Registered: 12/02/01
Posts: 303
Loc: Southern NJ, USA
lots of Jersey Guys here...I'm one too.

Yes, the standard DCA inspection on the pages and pages of thin white paper.

And, yes, there is a column at each violation where the specific code reference is sited but I didn't look to see what it was before I posted. I'll check it tomorrow and let you all go.

Thanks for all the info again. I've got an account at McMaster so I'll just order the screws through them.


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