How to Avoid the Most Common Electrical Code Violations

Electrical Code Violations

Electricity is one of the greatest commodities we’ve been able to harness. It’s hard to imagine life today without it, as electricity powers many of the tools and conventions that make our lives much easier. However, it can also be very dangerous, which is why there are electrical codes to follow when constructing buildings and installing electrical components. Complying with these codes helps greatly reduce the risk of fires caused by electricity. Learn how to avoid most common electrical code violations.

The National Electrical Code (NEC) is established by the National Fire Protection Association and has been adopted in all 50 states across America. In addition to the national code, which states have their own ways and degrees of enforcing, states and localities often have their own set of standards for electrical wiring and installation.

So what happens if you violate part of the electrical code? That depends on who you are. If you are a DIYer, you most likely won’t have to deal with the authorities unless another party is involved. Rather, you will be rolling the dice in hoping that nothing happens as a result of your violation(s). Businesses that construct homes and install electrical components, on the other hand, face higher stakes in the event that they commit electrical code violations. They may be subject to fines and legal action, depending on the severity of their carelessness.

With that being said, we’ll show you how to avoid some of the most frequent code violations and minimize the chances that you’ll have to deal with the consequences that come with them.

Overcrowding Wires

Overcrowding wires are one of the biggest fire hazards as far as code violations are concerned. Cramming too many wires into the same opening can result in the wires damaging each other. Exposed wires increase your risk of experiencing a fire. To avoid this kind of violation, be sure to run no more than three wires through one hole measuring 7/8 of an inch in diameter.

Pairing New Lights with Old Wires

The main issue with using old wires to install new lights is the difference in temperature between the two components. A most old wire can only accommodate heat up to 60 degrees Celsius. Newer lighting, on the other hand, can generate heat up to 90 degrees Celsius during use. As a rule of thumb, buildings with wiring installed before 1987 should be checked for this violation. Check the wires’ insulation jacket for a stamp, as those manufactured prior to 1987 will not have a stamp. The solution to this violation is simple. If you’re installing newer lights, be sure to use newer wiring that can handle the heat. 

Illegal Splicing

Splicing, which is connecting two or more wires, should only be done by experienced electricians for the purpose of temporary troubleshooting. Spliced wires should also be contained in a junction box to reduce the probability of fires. To avoid this violation, do not attempt it unless you are an experienced professional electrician.

Knob and Tube Wiring

Popular around the turn of the twentieth century, knob and tube wiring can no longer meet the needs of modern electrical wiring and it poses many dangers. Knob and tube wiring is a violation of the NEC and has a greater risk of fire because the wiring is ungrounded. Ungrounded simply means that this type of wiring uses two wires instead of three, the third of which is the ground wire. To resolve this issue in your home or office, contact a professional electrician.

Non-IC Canister Light Contacting Insulation

If non-IC rated lighting makes contact with insulation, it can, like many of the other violations on this list, start a fire. There should be at least three inches of space between non-IC lighting and the insulation. DIYers rejoice, as this is one of the easiest violations to inspect and fix yourself by simply checking your attic and making the proper adjustments in the location and type of insulation.

Nails and Screws Going Through Electrical Components

Nails and screws, as mentioned in the NEC, are used to secure electrical components but must meet certain criteria in order to be up to code. They must be applied to the back or one side of the component, and if they have to run through the electrical box, the wires in the box must be protected to eliminate the possibility of insulation deterioration. If the wires and insulation are not protected from each other, it once again increases the risk of starting a fire.  

Disorganized Electrical Panel

It is important to maintain the organization of your electrical panel, as it helps you know which fuse is which. Without proper labeling, you will have to resort to guessing which switch operates which part of your home. This is another violation with which an experienced electrician can be of assistance if you don’t feel comfortable solving the puzzle on your own.

In covering some of the most common electrical code violations, you may have noticed something: many of the resolutions to these violations involve calling professional electricians! If you’re interested in solving problems such as the ones in this post, becoming an electrician might just be the career choice for you.

Spark a New Career with an Education from Coyne

Coyne College is one of Chicago’s top skilled trade education institutions and is proud to offer two programs for aspiring electrical workers: electrical construction and planning and electrical construction and maintenance.

The electrical construction and planning program’s curriculum is more in-depth than that of the electrical construction and maintenance program and can be completed in as few as 78 weeks. The electrical construction and maintenance program, on the other hand, also prepares you to enter the field, but can be finished in 42 to 56 weeks, depending on whether you opt to take day or night classes.

As a student in either of Coyne College’s electrical programs, you will be immersed in classes such as:

  • Electrical and Electronic Principles
  • Electrical Test and Equipment Safety
  • Electrical Construction – Residential
  • Electrical Theory and Applications
  • And more!

You will learn the electrician trade in a setting that focuses on your individual success and be taught by Coyne’s highly knowledgeable instructors who have years of real-world experience under their belts.

Hands-on learning is a significant part of the program, and understandably so, but it is also mixed with theoretical components so students learn why they are doing what they are doing.

Coyne College offers day and night classes for both programs to accommodate your busy schedule. Both programs are offered at the Coyne College campus, located in the heart of the Chicago Loop at the intersection of State and Madison Streets.

With more than 110 years of experience in helping aspiring electricians realize their dreams, Coyne College has a well-developed network of resources to help students land apprenticeships at the conclusion of their studies. 

Coyne College also offers its students career assistance, including mock interviews, externships and resume help. These resources can help students secure apprenticeships after completing the program.

Students who enroll at Coyne College receive a well-rounded, first-rate education that provides them with the tools to succeed in the workforce as a professional electrician.

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