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#180849 - 09/13/08 02:02 AM Hole in the wall
pdh Offline
Member

Registered: 01/20/05
Posts: 354
How large of a "hole" applies to 400.8(2) not permitting a cord to run through a hole in the wall?

What I would like to do is have what could be described as a large hole, opening or small doorway in a wall between a kitchen and a well ventilated utility room. The size of this hole would be just large enough to push a refrigerator through. The intention is for the rear of the refrigerator to expel heat into this utility room, instead of into the kitchen. The refrigerator may be placed near the hole, or just in the hole, or possibly pushed part way through. A removable molding or other assembly would be fitted around the refrigerator to conceal the existence of the hole, giving a built-in appearance. There would be no portion of a wall directly behind the refrigerator except for the wall on the other side of the utility room itself.

I would like to have the receptacle for this refrigerator be located in the utility room. When standing inside the utility room facing the rear of the refrigerator, the outlet for the refrigerator would be on the wall just next to the opening the entire rear of the refrigerator can be seen at.

So does an opening 36 inches wide and 72 inches high constitute a hole for the purpose of 400.8(2)?

I might want to do this for more than just the refrigerator, too.

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#180852 - 09/13/08 06:30 AM Re: Hole in the wall [Re: pdh]
KJay Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/07
Posts: 763
Loc: MA, USA
Personally, I don’t see any problem with it, being that the studs behind the refrigerator are completely removed and the entire area behind the refrigerator is open and accessible.
But, since Article 100 doesn’t formally define what a wall or doorway is, I think that determination would be up to the judgment of the local AHJ.
I would give him a call and see what he thinks about it. He may have an issue with the cord not being long enough to pull the refrigerator out when connected, but I don’t think that would be an actual code violation in itself.

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#180853 - 09/13/08 06:49 AM Re: Hole in the wall [Re: pdh]
renosteinke Offline
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Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
A hole is a hole is a hole ... the NEC makes no distinction as to size.

But ... will you still have a wall? Or, have you now made it something more comparable to, say, the partition within a cabinet?

Let's look, instead, at what the code is likely to have had in mind. Here are two examples:



In this example, the cord passes through a tiny hole in the stair riser, to power a lamp in the closet under the stairs.
I might see three basic problems with this arrangement: using a cord in place of a permanent wiring method, the obvious trip hazard, and the risk of damage to the cord, as it rubs on the hole.



This example is a bit different. Here, the cord passes through a small - maybe 2" - where the two walls fail to meet. Yet, that cord turns out to come from the back side of the furnace (for the igniter).Should you wish to service the furnace, you have no way to access the plug to disconnect it ..... and there is a locked door between the two areas. (Actually, several doors).

So, I'd say we have two major concerns to address:
1) You need to be able to shut something off, preferably from where you will be when you want to work on it, move it, etc.; and,
2) The cord, AND plug, needs to be able to pass through the opening, and the opening has to be free of any edges that might damage the cord.

Only you will be in a position to honestly answer these questions. If nothing else ... what will happen when the fridge is pulled out to clean under it? Will you run out of cord, and be yanking on it? Will you be able to reach behind the fridge - from your position in front of it - and unplug it?
After all, that plug is the disconnecting meand, and generally must remain accessible.

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#180858 - 09/13/08 07:49 AM Re: Hole in the wall [Re: renosteinke]
HotLine1 Offline

Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6804
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
"The size of this hole would be just large enough to push a refrigerator through. The intention is for the rear of the refrigerator to expel heat into this utility room, instead of into the kitchen. The refrigerator may be placed near the hole, or just in the hole, or possibly pushed part way through.
"

My take on this is: You cut the wall behind the fridge out & pushed the fridge thru this 'larhe' opening in the wall, to make the front of the fridge flush with the face of the wall or cabinets. You say the cord will be plugged into a recept in the utility room, where the whole back of the fridge is visable.

By my 'take'...this is not a 'hole', so I, have no issues, or jurisdiction (NEC). Now the Building inspector may have issues!

(edit)
A picture would be great


Edited by HotLine1 (09/13/08 07:49 AM)
Edit Reason: add
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#180863 - 09/13/08 10:08 AM Re: Hole in the wall [Re: HotLine1]
pdh Offline
Member

Registered: 01/20/05
Posts: 354
 Originally Posted By: HotLine1
A picture would be great

Yes, a picture would be great. Since this is in the planning stage, the best I can do at the moment is describe it. I'm hoping to create some ray-traced walk-throughs later on.

This now reminds me of a setup I saw where someone had their audio/video system exposed through holes in the wall for speakers and display screen. All the electricals and electronics were in the room behind (it was quite a rats nest in his installation ... that aspect I would not want to replicate). So maybe I could argue that the refrigerator is "in" the utility room, but exposes its access door front into the kitchen.

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#180864 - 09/13/08 10:29 AM Re: Hole in the wall [Re: renosteinke]
pdh Offline
Member

Registered: 01/20/05
Posts: 354
 Originally Posted By: renosteinke
But ... will you still have a wall? Or, have you now made it something more comparable to, say, the partition within a cabinet?
It might be equivalent to a media room where the A/V equipment is in a room on the other side of the media wall, but exposes the "business end" of the devices through that wall. The difference is that the refrigerator will go all the way to the floor whereas a video display would generally be at some height for easier viewing. The A/V equipment could easily be argued as being "in" the utility room on the other side of that wall. Maybe I can use a similar argument for the refrigerator being in the utility room next to the kitchen and having its "business end" exposed through the hole.

 Originally Posted By: renosteinke
So, I'd say we have two major concerns to address:
1) You need to be able to shut something off, preferably from where you will be when you want to work on it, move it, etc.; and,
2) The cord, AND plug, needs to be able to pass through the opening, and the opening has to be free of any edges that might damage the cord.
Generally, working on a refrigerator mostly involves working on it from behind. The setup I'd like to do would involve entering the utility room and not require moving the refrigerator around. The cord and plug would be very convenient at that location.

The only case where the cord would be passing through this hole would be if the refrigerator is pushed sufficiently forward that the back surface of it is more forward than the wall is. The cord would face no more risk of damage than a cord going around an outward facing corner, and most likely less than that since the utility room would be a low-traffic area.

 Originally Posted By: renosteinke
Only you will be in a position to honestly answer these questions. If nothing else ... what will happen when the fridge is pulled out to clean under it? Will you run out of cord, and be yanking on it? Will you be able to reach behind the fridge - from your position in front of it - and unplug it?
The wall and/or moldings attached to the wall, will completely block any ability to reach around to the back. To unplug the refrigerator, it will be necessary to enter the utility room. In there it will be very obvious and very easy to reach.

Maybe if I physically attach some mounting to the refrigerator from inside the utility room that makes the refrigerator unable to be moved without first going into the utility room to detach that mounting, this might make it safe enough.

 Originally Posted By: renosteinke
After all, that plug is the disconnecting meand, and generally must remain accessible
It will be accessible ... easily ... from inside the utility room ... both for disconnecting as well as servicing (from behind instead of pulling it out).

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#180871 - 09/14/08 07:13 AM Re: Hole in the wall [Re: pdh]
Obsaleet Offline
Member

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 361
Loc: Pa
I have done this before and had no problem with inspection. The most recent was a year ago we putt a wine cooler and refer inset under the foyer stairs from the kitchen. The contractor had to install drywall to the under side of the stairs. Inspector said as long as the recept was accessable, by pulling the unit out.

Ob
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