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Posted By: renosteinke Wiring method choice - 08/06/22 12:30 AM
As we learn the trade, we grow accustomed to certain practices. Growing up near Chicago, choosing the wiring method was easy: pipe.

Now I’m in an area with little to no inspections, one of the poorest parts of the country. So poor the next town over is named ….Hayti! I’m in a tough spot. The task is to move / replace the service to a brick house, abandon any remaining existing wiring, then set a panel inside. That panel will provide just enough circuits to power future construction activities.

I’d like your thoughts on a few ideas I have:
1) supplying the interior panel using SER run on the surface of the brick until entering the wall. Would you have a pipe sleeve for the wire? Seal with foam? Can you even run SER in pipe?
2) I’m thinking of surface mounting the panel, then running Romex on the wall surfaces to a minimum number of lights and receptacles. Any issues with NM on the surface?
3) As you might guess, I’ll GFCI everything.

This house is going to need a “to the bones” remodel. The goal is to simply facilitate remodeling activities. What would you do?

BTW, this situation was a long time developing. The 1937 basic house has been added on to several times, with the original service being spliced into countless times. We’re talking electrical and other code issues galore. One result is that the service has to be relocated. On top of this, scrappers accessed the attic and removed all accessible wiring.
Posted By: gfretwell Re: Wiring method choice - 08/07/22 05:29 AM
This gets down to what your inspector considers subject to physical damage. In Maryland, seeing RX stapled to running boards open on a block wall or seeing SE fastened to an exterior wall was just how it was done. In SW Florida they want it in pipe if it is not concealed. I have never seen RX surface mounted where it is readily accessible or SE used on exterior walls. They used to even require a sleeve on RX behind drywall if it was on furring strips. Now they will allow a "stacker" to space it 1.25" away horizontally from the furring strip but I am not a fan. It is still within 1.25" from the surface of the drywall and susceptible to a nail strike.
Posted By: renosteinke Re: Wiring method choice - 08/07/22 11:24 PM
Thank you, Greg.

I think I’ll use pipe outdoors simply because of the risk that some meth-head will steal the feeder.

Indoors the walls are covered with paneling, so staples should hold well. Code allows NM used as flexible cords for temporary wiring on construction sites. I think neatly stapled cables on the wall are a real step up from that, and something has to be provided for use by the remodeling crew. I’d like to reduce the tangle underfoot. Otherwise I’d have to settle for a cluster of cord caps hanging out the bottom of the panel.
Posted By: gfretwell Re: Wiring method choice - 08/09/22 06:28 AM
Is the service you are installing going to be what they want at the end? If so go ahead and protect the SE however you think will last.
In a high theft area I would use aluminum.

Inside, for temp wiring, your RX plan looks OK to me.
Posted By: renosteinke Re: Wiring method choice - 08/09/22 11:58 AM
Considering all the details, I’m putting in a service sized for the finished house. This is the only part likely to be inspected — and I know all to well that if I do less it will be abused rather than replaced later. So it’s 200 amps, surge suppressor, dual ground rods, etc. I’m over-supporting the mast, and using a rigid mast, because of winter ice storms.

EMT to an inside 60~amp panel with maybe a dozen spaces. Four circuits serving receptacles on each wall, with receptacles set about waist high. An additional circuit for four pull-chain lights. Later, there’s room for a circuit to the (gas) furnace.

I’ll add a receptacle outside at the panel. The all-in-one service will also be able to supply the air conditioner and semi-detached storage shed later.

It’s difficult to strike a balance between “just a bare minimum,” code “legal,” and accounting for reality. The NEC is quite blunt in its introduction: the code is not a design manual nor is it intended to provide for future needs. I can’t speak for future contractors, but MY inspector won’t be crossing his fingers for luck.
Posted By: HotLine1 Re: Wiring method choice - 08/10/22 07:39 PM

FWIW, it sounds good to me.

Bare minimum, code compliant and reality are tough to find common ground items. Satisfy the client, comply with NEC, and have a clear conscience is tough sometimes.

Stay safe!
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