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