Free National Electrical Code

Free Online National Electrical Code

Dear Mr. Electrician:  Where can I find a free National Electrical Code version online?

Answer:  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a free online, viewing-only version of the National Electrical Code.  The link is below.

NOTE: Some text links below go to relevant links on Amazon.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Electrical codes have existed for over one hundred years and continue to evolve and adjust according to human development.  The National Electrical Code is updated every three years and establishes additional safe installation practices as more hazards become apparent.

CLICK the image to see this quick-view National Electrical Code Card on Amazon
CLICK the image to see this quick-view National Electrical Code Card on Amazon

Table of Contents:


Many electrical installations have requirements under more than one free National Electrical Code article.  In addition, other building codes may apply to your installation, such as the Fire Code, Sound Code, Mechanical Code, Seismic Code, and local codes and requirements.

When you submit plans and your scope of work to the building department and your permit application, you can ask them what building codes apply to your planned work.  Do not be surprised if you don’t get an answer or get a vague response.  They are not responsible for teaching you how to do the work correctly.

The responsibility for the installation being done to code is with the contractors working on the job or the homeowner doing their work themself.

Many building code books are readily available at Amazon and some bookstores.

Rather than have you spend hours going through the index and table of contents in the National Electrical Code; I have listed some common electrical installations and the specific code references for each.

This is not a substitute for getting your very own code book and reading the applicable chapters for your projects. The free National Electrical Code will not teach you how to install electrical wiring, but it can tell you what materials to use under various conditions.

Many professional electricians also utilize other books such as Ugly’s for their electrical code references, mathematical formulas, conduit bending guide, conduit fill, conversion tables, and transformer and control circuit wiring diagrams.

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The free National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) articles listed below may not be the only electrical and building code articles relevant to your project.  Many more chapters and articles in the National Electrical Code are available online for free.  It is good to confer with your local building department and get a copy of the code books pertinent to the work that you are planning.

Agricultural Buildings – Article 547

Air Conditioning and Refrigerating Equipment – Article 440

Appliances – Article 422

Basements – Lighting article 210.70(C), Receptacles 210.8(A)(5), 210.52(G)

Bathrooms – Article 410.10(D), Circuits 210.11(C)(3), Lighting 210.70(A)(1), 210.70(B) Receptacles 210.8(A)(1), 210.8(B)(1), 406.9(C), 210.23(B)Exception.

Boats – Marinas, Boatyards, Floating Buildings – Article 555

Bonding – Article 250

Cannabis Oil Equipment and Systems – Article 512

Ceiling Fans – Article 314.27(C), 422.18, 680.22(B), 680.43(B)

Definitions – Article 100

Electric Vehicles – Article 625

Electrical Box Fill – An electrical box is only allowed to have a certain amount of wires in it according to its size. Many electrical boxes have their cubic inch capacity stamped into them. Plastic boxes also tell you the number of wires allowed. A wiring device such as a switch or an outlet counts as two wires. See article 314.16 and tables 314.16(A), 314.16(B)(1)

Electrically Metallic Tubing (EMT) Conduit – Article 358, table 300.5(A)

Electrical Nonmetallic Tubing (ENT) – Sometimes called Smurf tubing due to its blue color. Article 362.

Flexible Cords and Flexible Cables – Extension cords, appliance cords, lamp cords, etc. Chapter 4 Article 400.

Flexible Metal Conduit (FMC) – Article 348

Generator, Portable – Articles 445, 702

Generator, standby, permanently installed – Articles 445, 700, 701, and 702

GFCI – Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters – Article 210.8

Grounding – Article 250

Ground Rods – Articles 250.50, 250.54, 250.64

Hot Tubs – Article 680.40, Lighting 411.6(B), GFCI 680.43(A), 680.44

Kitchens – Appliances article 422, AFCI Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters 210.12(B), GFCI Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters 210.8(A)(6), Receptacles 210.52

Knob and Tube Wiring – Article 394. For existing wiring.

Lighting Fixture Installation – Luminaires, Lampholders, and Lamps – Article 410

Liquidtight Flexible Metal Conduit (LFMC) Commonly called Sealtight – Article 350.

Liquidtight Flexible Nonmetallic Conduit (LFNC) – Article 356

Low Voltage Lighting – Article 411

Mobile Homes, Manufactured Homes, and Mobile Home Parks – Article 550

Motors – Article 430

PVC Conduit – Article 352, table 300.5(A)

Receptacles, Cord Connectors, and Attachment Plugs – Article 406

Recreational Vehicles and Recreational Vehicle Parks – Article 551, GFCI 551.40(C), 551.41(C)

Rigid Metal Conduit (RMC) – Article 344, table 300.5(A)

Services – Articles 230, 338, 250.28, 250.24(E), 250.66, table 300.5(A)

Solar Photovoltaic Systems – Article 690

Sub-Panels – Article 408

Surge Protectors – Overvoltage Protection Devices – Articles 242, 230.67

Swimming Pools – Article 680. Bonding 680.26, lighting Article 411.6(B)

Switches – Article 404

Telephone – Articles 800, 805

Temporary Installations – Article 590

Type AC Metal Armored Cable (BX) – Article 320

Type MC Metal Clad Cable – Article 330

Type NM-B Nonmetallic Sheathed Cable (Romex) – Article 334

Type UF Underground Feeder Cable – Article 340, table 300.5(A)

Wire – Article 310 and table 310.16

Wiring Methods – Chapter 3, article 300 – This is a good chapter for installation methods.

Wiremold – Metal Wireways – Article 376 and article 386 Surface Metal Raceways

Wiremold – Nonmetallic Wireways – Article 378 and article 388 Surface Nonmetallic Raceways

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The NFPA has a free online version of the current edition of the National Electrical Code.  You can access it by clicking here and then creating a free account.  No credit card is required, only an email address.

Electricity can start house fires.  Electricity can kill or maim.  It is important that when doing electrical work, safety is a major concern.  Incorrectly installed wiring is an accident waiting to happen.

Inside cover of an old electrical code book distributed by Middle Department. This was used before the publication of the National Electrical Code by the NFPA.
Inside cover of an old electrical code book distributed by Middle Department. This was used before the publication of the National Electrical Code by the NFPA.

Click this link to see many types of wiring methods when working around the home.

Read my blog post about working around your home safely.

This is what happens when someone comes in contact with electricity.

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