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#189359 - 10/03/09 06:06 PM Spray foam filled electrical outlets
nhsparky Offline
Member

Registered: 04/03/08
Posts: 19
Loc: N.H.
I have a customer (recent widow) who lives in a large home on the lake. In the winter the wind pressure is so great she can't get her kitchen temp over 50. She recently had a spray foam contractor foam her attic. While there, she asked him if they could fill the electrical boxes. He said he could and he did! Three floors worth. When I found out and expressed my opposition and displeasure about it she got back in touch with them. They told her the foam is non flammable and code compliant.Although I intuitively know this is illegal, I cant find any code language to back me up. Any thoughts? My next call is to my state inspector, but I thought I would start here first.
Thanks,
Dave.

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#189360 - 10/03/09 06:12 PM Re: Spray foam filled electrical outlets [Re: nhsparky]
sparkyinak Offline
Member

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1295
Loc: Alaska
Is it listed for the application?


Edited by sparkyinak (10/03/09 06:13 PM)
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#189362 - 10/03/09 06:24 PM Re: Spray foam filled electrical outlets [Re: sparkyinak]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9045
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
Quote:
110.12(B)Integrity of Electrical Equipment and Connections. Internal parts of electrical equipment, including busbars, wiring terminals, insulators, and other surfaces, shall not be damaged or contaminated by foreign materials such as paint, plaster, cleaners, abrasives, or corrosive residues. ...


I would include foam in that category
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#189363 - 10/03/09 06:24 PM Re: Spray foam filled electrical outlets [Re: sparkyinak]
nhsparky Offline
Member

Registered: 04/03/08
Posts: 19
Loc: N.H.
Is it listed for the application?


I haven't seen any paper work yet. foam guy said he will bring it to her but I still can't believe filling an electrical box full of spray foam is acceptable.

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#189367 - 10/03/09 08:39 PM Re: Spray foam filled electrical outlets [Re: nhsparky]
ghost307 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 884
Loc: Chicago Illinois USA
If you fill the box with foam, what does that do to the device and wiring fill calculations? Won't the wiring devices be unable to get rid of their waste heat?
I'm sure that UL doesn't test these things wrapped up like a pig in a blanket.
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#189370 - 10/04/09 12:16 AM Re: Spray foam filled electrical outlets [Re: ghost307]
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
I would get the MSDS from the installer and a statement in writing that this material is non-flammable.
If it is foam like I am imagining, it ISN'T non-flammable at all.
Having this sort of thing in such close proximity to a possible bad connection of what-not, is just asking for trouble.
There are better ways to achieve a good seal in boxes, you just need to use a bit of grey-matter.

You also have to ask about the quality of the house construction, if the building cannot be heated to any great degree.
I'd be talking to the Contractor about that, it is HIS problem.
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#189371 - 10/04/09 12:26 AM Re: Spray foam filled electrical outlets [Re: Trumpy]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9045
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
I think it is a lot simpler than that. We regularly tag panels and boxes that get too much drywall mud in them on a 110.12(B) and require that they get cleaned out.
(don't we?).
That is clearly not a flammability issue it is "contamination" by a "foreign material".
We can think of a number of reasons why the foam is bad but I wouldn't over think this.
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#189373 - 10/04/09 01:34 AM Re: Spray foam filled electrical outlets [Re: gfretwell]
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Originally Posted By: gfretwell
We regularly tag panels and boxes that get too much drywall mud in them on a 110.12(B) and require that they get cleaned out.

Who in their right mind would leave a panel open to plaster and paint damage, in a new install?
There are things called masking tape and paper (or plastic film).
There is no reason that these materials should be finding their way into electrical enclosures, no matter how small.
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#189374 - 10/04/09 09:24 AM Re: Spray foam filled electrical outlets [Re: Trumpy]
NORCAL Offline
Member

Registered: 09/25/02
Posts: 807
Originally Posted By: Trumpy
Originally Posted By: gfretwell
We regularly tag panels and boxes that get too much drywall mud in them on a 110.12(B) and require that they get cleaned out.

Who in their right mind would leave a panel open to plaster and paint damage, in a new install?
There are things called masking tape and paper (or plastic film).
There is no reason that these materials should be finding their way into electrical enclosures, no matter how small.


Cardboard being removed by others, stupid painters who are too lazy to mask it off, the list goes on and on.....

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#189379 - 10/04/09 01:24 PM Re: Spray foam filled electrical outlets [Re: NORCAL]
Tesla Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/04
Posts: 1280
Loc: Sacramento, CA
Romex foamed in this manner must loose its ability to dump heat.

This is an issue worthy of an NEC revision/ NTL evaluation.

And as for the box foam-fill...

Of course it's a violation. The urethane foam is combustible.
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