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#92872 - 04/14/05 06:02 PM Cords above suspended ceilings
George Little Offline
Member
Registered: 01/18/04
Posts: 1488
Loc: Michigan USA
There seems to be a lot of controversy about installing a receptacle (120v 20a) above a suspended ceiling and plugging in equipment such as a condensate pump or other equipment. I would like to hear some different opinions and code references.
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George Little
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#92873 - 04/14/05 06:31 PM Re: Cords above suspended ceilings
shortcircuit Offline
Member
Registered: 06/27/04
Posts: 608
Loc: massachusetts
Well, 400.8(5)seems to restrict the use of flexible cord from above a dropped or suspended ceiling...

But, the restrictions of 400.8 only apply to installations not allowed by 400.7

So, wouldn't 400.7(6) allow equipment such as a condensate pump with a manufacturer installed flexible cord and attachment plug be allowed to be pluged into a receptacle outlet as described in 400.7(B)

Nothing would restrict the installation of a receptacle outlet above a dropped ceiling and if the flexible cord were not installed as a permanent wiring method than IMO, it would be a code compliant installation.

shortcircuit
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#92874 - 04/14/05 06:36 PM Re: Cords above suspended ceilings
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5316
Loc: Blue Collar Country
Personally, I think the code has gone farther than necessary, and that it should be revised to allow for some use of flexible cord above dropped ceilings.
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#92875 - 04/14/05 06:45 PM Re: Cords above suspended ceilings
Joe Tedesco Offline
Member
Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 2749
Loc: Boston, Massachusetts USA
Flexible cord is required to be visible for its entire length outside the luminaire (fixture)

See 410.30(C)(1)(1)(2)(a)
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Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant
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#92876 - 04/15/05 12:04 AM Re: Cords above suspended ceilings
macmikeman Offline
Member
Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 717
Loc: Honolulu, Hawaii
However for some strange reason you can conciel that very same cord behind your dishwasher.
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#92877 - 04/15/05 06:40 AM Re: Cords above suspended ceilings
George Offline
Member
Registered: 02/23/02
Posts: 375
I agree with shortcircuit.
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#92878 - 04/15/05 10:02 AM Re: Cords above suspended ceilings
Alan Nadon Offline
Member
Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 399
Loc: Elkhart, IN. USA
Check the NEC handbook. Section 400.7 & 400.8 In their comment {not enforcable as Code} it states: "may not be used as a substitute for fixed wiring ...or where concealed behind... ceilings (including structural, suspended or dropped-type ceilings)."
The Handbook is intended to explain and establish consistency in understanding the Code.
In other words a ceiling is a ceiling even if it has accessable panels. If you wouldn't allow it above a fixed ceiling then don't allow it above a suspended ceiling.
Alan- an Inspector
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Alan--
If it was easy, anyone could do it.
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#92879 - 04/15/05 01:57 PM Re: Cords above suspended ceilings
Dnkldorf Offline
Member
Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1064
Loc: nowhere usa
Alan, could you define "fixed wiring"?

I have seen alot of sjo and so cords that originate in 1900 boxes above drop cielings and "drop" out of the cielings to work stations below.

Fixed wiring to me sounds like it has to have a removable plug and not wire nutted in the box. And the cord I see is for movable work stations?

This sounds non-allowable then.
What's your take?
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#92880 - 04/15/05 04:48 PM Re: Cords above suspended ceilings
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5316
Loc: Blue Collar Country
Dnkldorf, that is exactly the situation I had in mind when I commented that the code needs to be changed. I fail to see how a foot or so of cord can make a significant addition to the fire load above the ceiling, or how those crumbly tiles can damage the cords.

I think that, on this issue, the code has passed "safe minimum" and attempted to mandate "perfect ideal."

And, lest anyone misunderstand my context, I say that the code precludes flex cord above the ceiling- and I think the code ought to be changed to allow some!
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#92881 - 04/16/05 04:39 AM Re: Cords above suspended ceilings
iwire Offline
Moderator
Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4391
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
I will contain my first comments to what IMO the code requires.

IMO it is clear the NEC does not allow one inch of cord above a suspended ceiling.

I have been convinced of this by other members here like Joe T and Don.

Also starting with the 2002 code the inspectors in my area will not allow cord connected condensate pumps above the ceiling.

Two choices, pump on the wall below the ceiling or tell the HVAC contractor to supply pumps that can be hardwired.

Another item we run into is motorized video projector mounts.

These retract the video projectors above the suspended ceilings. Previously we where putting plugs above the ceiling for these, now the inspectors require the plug to be installed on the underside of the ceiling and the cords must stay below the ceiling as well. Very ugly and the customers hate it.

Now some personal opinion, I think it is time for the manufactures to catch up with the NEC on this issue. The equipment should be provide with an option for 'hard' wiring if the equipment is designed or intended for ceiling use.

I do not believe it is wise to have cords above ceilings, I have found old cords above ceilings and when flexed the insulation drops off.

There is also the issue of the ceiling often being used for 'other environmental air' and rubber cord is not suitable for use in that space.

I think we should ask ourselves is there a hardship created by the 'no cord' rule that exceeds the problems of complying with it?

What possible reason is there to really need a cord above the ceiling?

Hard wire the equipment!

JMO, Bob
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Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts
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