What is the general policy for derating NM cable conductors when they are pulled through wooden studs or basement ceiling joist? Are the inspectors asking that the derating apply after more than 3 NM cables are pulled through the same set of holes? NEC 310.15(B)(2)
I think this gets down to the "bundling" question. If they fan out between bored holes this is a pretty thin beef. If the installer was very neat and they run in military precision I see the *potential* problem with the ones in the middle. Rake them out with your fingers. Then they are not bundled. Twisted and kinked is a plus in this case.
It seems strange at first but "neat = heat".
The same thing is true in a panel when you see those "aircraft like" wire harnesses running down the gutters, tywrapped, with breaks at each device. It looks beautiful but derating can rear it's ugly head.
As I said I can see both sides and my feeling is the NEC is on the same page as our local inspectors.
Consider the following exception to the derating rules.
310.15(B)(2)(a) Exception No. 5: Adjustment factors shall not apply to Type AC cable or to Type MC cable without an overall outer jacket under the following conditions: (a) Each cable has not more than three current-carrying conductors. (b) The conductors are 12 AWG copper. (c) Not more than 20 current-carrying conductors are bundled, stacked, or supported on “bridle rings.” A 60 percent adjustment factor shall be applied where the current-carrying conductors in these cables that are stacked or bundled longer than 600 mm (24 in.) without maintaining spacing exceeds 20.
To me this exception demonstrates that the NEC considers MC supported on bridle rings every 5' to be bundled.
If they call this bundling I don't see how we can not call NM through studs bundling.
MC hung on bridle rings always 'fans' out some.
Really what I believe and I know of someone putting in a proposal along these lines is this whole issue should go away for NM in dwelling units as you will never have all the conductors fully loaded for any length of time.
Here in MA we still use a lot of NM in commercial jobs and I have found some pretty warm bundles of NM in these locations.
Bob Badger Construction & Maintenance Electrician Massachusetts
What about the "without maintaining spacing"? If you have the NM fanned out so air can freely flow around them they are not bundled for greater than 24". MC and AC may not maintain the spacing because of flexibility, shape and weight, but NM will pretty much stay where you put it in a joist bay between stud bores.
I guess a related question is how big a hole are they boring if they are getting more than 3 NM in here (9 conductors).
George specifically addressed stud bays and joists but I certainly agree that "bundle" going in the top of the panel can be troubling. I haven't seen 12" bundles but 10 or more RX shoved in a 2" nipple is not unusual.
Here is one from the HI site
[This message has been edited by gfretwell (edited 09-06-2005).]