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Electrical Frequently Asked Questions

 
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Q:  

Clarification of "Agricultural Exempt" status is needed for October 22, 2002 discussion at Industry Meeting requiring all building permitted under "Agricultural Exempt" status must be wired to comply with Article 547. If no livestock will be in building and only tack rooms, storage rooms, etc are present, would Article 547 still be enforced?

A:  

Yes, the State of Oregon will give no exceptions. Generally, structures are wired according to the use and occupancy. If a structure is designated as an agricultural building or an agricultural building exemption has been granted, Article 547 applies. Article 547 grants the AHJ authority to allow wiring methods from Chapter 3 to be used depending upon the use of specific areas of the structure. See 547.3, 547.5
(Tri-County Electrical Code Forum April 28, 2004)


Q:   Does a gas appliance that is connected to the electrical system by a cord and plug and utilizing an existing outlet have to be bonded?
A:  

Yes, it must be bonded.

(Tri-County Mechanical Code Forum, September, 2004)


Q:   When replacing a gas appliance, must we worry about bonding the existing gas lines?
A:  

This an electrical-code question often asked by mechanical installers. The following issues were previously addressed by the electrical code panel and published in the October-December 2002 News Flash.


Q:   Deschutes County has a tremendous number of permits not finaled and thus expired. What is the allowable length of time to call in a final inspection when job is complete?
A:  

 Three days as per OAR 918-271-0010(1). Please see ORS 479.560 and 479.570 also. It is the responsibility of the electrical contractor who pulled the permits to make the call to the jurisdiction for inspection. Good communication between the general contractor and electrical contractor is advised prior to requesting an inspection.
(Tri-County Electrical Code Forum April 28, 2004)


Q:  

A commercial, new construction job being done with EMT and MC cable. The electrician has constructed an extension of a 12-2 MC circuit into a " EMT system by doing the following:
Stripping the sheath of the MC cable leaving a long length of the inside wires; putting a 2-screw-type MC connector on; next a rigid coupling is threaded onto the MC connector and an EMT connector screwed into the coupling; then a length of EMT is slipped over the length of wires and runs to the next outlet box.

Is this an approved installation? Does it matter if it's exposed or inside a wall? Does it matter the length of the EMT extension, such as 6", 3', 20'?

A:  

A. No, this is not an approved installation.
(Tri-County Electrical Code Forum April 28, 2004)


Q:   A contractor is replacing an oil furnace with a gas furnace that has new gas piping, and the disconnect remains in place: Is an HVAC/R-licensed installer permitted to bond the gas pipe, even though it is a new gas-pipe installation? 918-282-0240
A:  

Yes. This is part of the installation.
(August 8,2002 Tri-County Electrical Code Forum)


Q:   Clarification of "Agricultural Exempt" status is needed for October 22, 2002 discussion at Industry Meeting requiring all building permitted under "Agricultural Exempt" status must be wired to comply with Article 547. If no livestock will be in building and only tack rooms, storage rooms, etc are present, would Article 547 still be enforced?
A:  

Yes, the State of Oregon will give no exceptions. Generally, structures are wired according to the use and occupancy. If a structure is designated as an agricultural building or an agricultural building exemption has been granted, Article 547 applies. Article 547 grants the AHJ authority to allow wiring methods from Chapter 3 to be used depending upon the use of specific areas of the structure. See 547.3, 547.5
(Tri-County Electrical Code Forum April 28, 2004)


Q:   In a larger remodel, a bathroom and bedroom are added together and the existing panel will not accept an arc-fault breaker. The electrician installs a panel to accept an arc-fault breaker as supplementary protection. Can this circuit be added to the permit without taking out a feeder permit as well as new circuit? 210.12
A:  

Yes. The question specified that this was one circuit with supplementary overcurrent protection, to accommodate an AFCI. Be advised that a permit may be modified anytime until final inspection. See OAR 918-309-0000(2).

(May 1, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application)


Q:   Article 210.12 (B) requires all outlets in bedrooms to be on an arc-fault circuit, including switches that operate devices out of bedroom area (Christmas lighting outlets and security lights on exterior). Most of the time, these switches are in the master bedroom or master bedroom closet. If closet is off the master bath, and the master bath is separated from the master bedroom by a door, are they required to be on an -arec-fault circuit? (The switches are not in the bedroom.)
A:  

A. Refer to Article 210.12 (B). If the outlet is installed in the bedroom or on the bedroom branch circuit, AFCI protection is required.
(Tri-County Electrical Code Forum September 11, 2003)


Q:   Is arc-fault protection necessary when extending an existing bedroom circuit for lights, switches, or outlets? 210.12
A:   Refer to the February 10, 2003, Interpretive Ruling for certain conditions.
(January 23, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application)
Q:  

Are all minor label installations inspected?

A:  

No. Only one out of 10 installations is inspected. The Division randomly selects one of the installations and submits a request to the corresponding jurisdiction to conduct the inspection


Q:  

Are you required to bond existing gas pipe when installing a like-for-like change-out? 250.104

A:  

Yes.
(August 8,2002 Tri-County Electrical Code Forum)


Q:   Do we have to bond the gas line when we put in a gas fireplace insert with a blower motor?
A:  

Gas appliances that have electrical equipment must be bonded. See NEC 2002, Section 250.104(B), Bonding: Other metal piping.
(Tri-County Electrical Code Forum November 20, 2003)


Q:   Is it permissible to extend a two-wire (no ground) 110 volt circuit to install a GFCI protected exterior weatherproof outlet?
A:  

Yes, Refer to NEC 2002 Article 250.130(c).
(Tri-County Electrical Code Forum April 28, 2004)


Q:   According to NEC 527.6(A); the requirement for GFCIs for temporary use in industrial establishments may not be required if an assured grounding program is in place. In all other areas a GFCI will be required unless a GFCI cord set is used. Therefore a temporary power pole could be installed by a builder, owner, or an electrician without GFCI-protected receptacles. Should GFCIs be installed at the time of the temporary pole? Should we have the power disconnected if GFCI cord-sets are not being used? Should this be sent to BCD for interpretation? 527.6(a)
A:  

See 527.6(A) of the 2002 NEC. The intent of the code is quite clear: Protection of personnel during construction is required. Several alternatives are provided, such as an assured-grounding program, GFCI cord-sets, personnel- protective GFCIs , receptacles, and breakers. While an inspector may not be able to write a correction during inspection of a temporary service, a reminder indicating the requirements of 527.6 should be provided. An inspector performing a cover inspection could require a temporary service to be disconnected if 527.6 is not being adhered to. Remember,the requirement for GFCI protection during construction includes the laundry outlet if it is used for construction.

(May 1, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application)


Q:   The definition of an unfinished basement in NEC 210.8(A)(5) doesn't address the flooring. Would GFCI protection for receptacles be required in a basement room with sheetrocked walls and paint and other trim that had an uncovered concrete floor or ceramic tile? 210.8
A:  

If the room fits the definition of "habitable space," no.
(May 1, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application)


Q:   NEC 210.8 (B) requires GFCI receptacles for non-dwelling unit kitchens, with no exception for single refrigerator or freezer receptacles. Is there any chance that the state will permit this by amendment?
A:  

No, only hardwired appliances are exempt from the GFCI receptacle requirement. The GFCI requirement was put in place after a death was caused by a fault in an appliance and there was no GFCI protection.
(May 1, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application)


Q:   Is it allowable to avoid the GFCI basement requirement (much like a sump pump installation)? 210.8
A:  

No, provisions of the 2002 NEC, Article 210.8, apply.
(January 23, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application)


Q:   What about the dryer receptacle? 210.8
A:  

The dryer, if connected to the receptacles described above is not exempted from the GFCI requirement. If connected to a 240 volt receptacle, GFCI is not required under the current codes.
(Tri-County Code Forum, May 9, 2002)


Q:   Even if the washer is in a closet behind folding doors? 210.8
A:  

Yes.
(Tri-County Code Forum, May 9, 2002)


Q:   Do receptacles in a bathroom require a GFCI if they are located in a dedicated space behind a washer? 210.8
A:  

Yes, all 15 and 20 amp 125 volt standard configuration receptacles in bathrooms shall have GFCI protection.
(Tri-County Code Forum, May 9, 2002)


Q:  

While adding a circuit to a 1961 breaker panel, we discovered that there was no ground for the water pipe. The panel was inspected and tagged as correct in 1961, but the water pipe ground wire has disappeared. The water system is still intact with galvanized pipe throughout the basement. Can we install a water pipe ground wire of the proper size without driving ground rods?

(May 1, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application)

A:  

The water system is still required to be bonded but may or may not comply as an electrode. The water pipe electrode system is required to be supplemented regardless, and, in most cases, the electrode conductor must attach to the system within five feet of entry of the water pipe into the building. Refer to (NEC Articles 250.52, 250.53(D)(2).


Q:   If a plumber changes a portion of the water system, removing the old water pipe ground, can the ground be moved to the new correct location without driving ground rods if there is a portion that still contains all the elements of a useable metal water system for grounding?
A:  

See above.
(May 1, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application)


Q:   How much do labels cost?
A:  

Oregon Electrical Minor Labels are sold in lots of 10 for $140.00 including surcharge fees


Q:   Under which code are HVAC zone controls regulated? To which standards are they required to be listed? Same question for thermostats.
(From the November 2002 Mechanical Code Forum)
A:  

ORS 479.610 requires product certification for electrical products. Implementation is through OAR 918-261-0200. The applicable standards would be those appropriate to the product. Call UL for further details, (800) 595-9845. Watch for changes to ORS 479.610 through implementation of House Bill 2717.
(May 1, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application)


Q:   When changing out an existing air conditioner with a like unit when there is no outside outlet available except the outlet in the garage, which is less than 25 feet, will a new outlet be required?
A:  

Yes. New installations must be brought up to code. Refer to OAR 918-305-0000 and 210.63. A receptacle located in a garage behind a door would not meet the intent of this code requirement. If you were replacing a part within the existing HVAC system, no outlet modifications would be necessary.
(May 1, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application) 


Q:   If an air conditioner is installed in a residential setting, and the only outlet available is a non-GFCI outlet within 25 feet that was installed according to code in the 1960s, will this outlet satisfy the code requirement for A/C service outlet?
A:  

Yes, it does satisfy the requirement of code but not the intent. OAR 918-305-0000 addresses requirements for existing installations and would not require the existing receptacle to be changed; however, (NEC) Article 527.6 says that GFCI protection is required for a receptacle used for temporary wiring regardless of whether it is a permanently installed receptacle. Use of a GFCI cordset or personnel protective GFCI device would meet the requirement without changing the existing receptacle to a GFCI.
(May 1, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application)


Q:   Why is a contractor with an HVAC/ restricted-energy license allowed to purchase and use electrical minor labels, but not allowed to purchase and use an electrical permit issued by the jurisdiction when installing, replacing, or repairing a furnace not exceeding 20 amps?
Scenario: A contractor with an HVAC restricted-energy electrical license was replacing a furnace not exceeding 20 amps. The owner requested an inspection. The contractor went to the jurisdiction and was sold a mechanical permit. Finally, the contractor had to purchase and use both a mechanical permit and an electrical minor label to complete the replacement.
A:  

A limited-energy electrical contractor cannot use a line-voltage HVAC permit unless the contractor is also licensed as an LHR. And the scope of work is limited to that allowed under the licenses held. For example, a restricted-energy contractor is not allowed to perform an electrical installation of a line voltage system.
(May 1, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application)


Q:   Under which code are HVAC zone controls regulated? To what standard are they required to be listed? Same question for thermostats.
A:  

A. Mechanical, energy, and electrical.
(January 23, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application)


Q:   If I have a limited heating and refrigeration license, can I perform the bonding of gas lines and simply swap out air conditioning units? 918-282-0040
A:  

Yes, an LHR is allowed to bond gas lines when replacing or repairing existing units because gas bonding is part of that installation. However an LHR may not run a bond back to the panel. Allowable bonding is restricted to the short piece of wire from the gas line to the unit. (Tri-County Electrical Code Forum, February 7, 2002)


Q:   In an unfinished basement where the ceiling joists are higher than 8 feet, can NM cable be drilled out and installed perpendicular to the joists?
A:  

Yes. See Article 300.4 (A)(2), and OAR 918-305-0165 amended Article 334.15(B) apply.

(January 23, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application)


Q:   Is bonding of gas piping to all retrofit furnace installations required? The contractor says that some jurisdictions require it and others do not. 250.104
A:  

Yes, see Article 250.104(B).

(Tri-County Code Forum, November 7, 2002-Approved by the state code chief for statewide application)


Q:  

Is it ok to use flexible metal conduit for a whip for an air conditioner compressor in a wet location?

A:  

Yes, if using wet insulation wire.
(Tri-County Electrical Code Forum April 28, 2004)


Q:   Is it necessary to bond the gas system at the location closest to the entry of the house, or can a location near the furnace suffice?
A:  

Any accessible point on the gas system will suffice for bonding.
(January 23, 2003 Tri-County Code Forum; approved by state electrical code chief for statewide application)


Q:   Under the minor label rules, we're allowed to make changes to a meter if the work does not require a disconnect. What is the definition of a disconnect? The minor label rules refer to OAR 918-309-0040 (10) that says:
"Reconnect Only. This rule applies to reconnection where the service was disconnected for repair or by the serving utility company and no change in service capacity or location is made. This allows the replacement of a meter base, a service mast, a service panel, a sub-panel, the feeder to one of the items listed or the repair or replacement of damaged service mast and meter on the exterior of a building." I recently failed a minor label because the meter required resealing. Are disconnect and resealing essentially the same thing?
A:  

A disconnect is a device, or group of devices, or other means by which the conductors or a circuit can be disconnected from their source of supply. The answer to the question is no, disconnect and resealing are not the same thing.
(Tri-County Electrical Code Forum April 28, 2004)


Q:   Utility substations for telephone companies require ground grid to be installed according to specifications. If this grid is to be used as the service electrode system, will it require inspection?
A:  

Yes, as required by OAR 918-271-0040.
(Tri-County Electrical Code Forum November 20, 2003)


Q:  

What happens if an inspection fails?

A:  

Failing a minor label is very expensive! If an inspection fails, Did you fail a minor label? the Division allows the contractor 10 calendar days to dispute the inspection report by notifying the Division. The contractor pays the jurisdiction directly at its hourly inspection rate for reinspection. The Division then selects another label from the same lot of 10 to be inspected and the contractor pays the jurisdiction directly at a rate of $75. If three inspections from the same lot of labels fail, the contractor must take out full permits for all the remaining installations in that lot.


Q:  

What if a minor label has already been used on a job site?

A:  

The rules allow one electrical minor label per project per job site, so if minor labels have been posted for previous projects or a current plumbing minor label is posted for the same remodel you are working on, you may use an electrical minor label for your installation.


Q:  

What is the scope of work a contractor is allowed to perform with an electrical minor label?

A:  

Contractors are allowed to perform a number of installations, but contractors may not use a minor label to perform any installations that are outside the scope of their licenses.

Q:   When changing out a panel with a main breaker and 25 branch circuits, would a contractor have to permit the 25 branch circuits?
A:  

No, unless branch circuits are added. Please see OAR 918-309-0040 (6), 918-309-0060.
(Tri-County Electrical Code Forum April 28, 2004)


Q:  

When do I post the label, before or after beginning work?

A:  

You must post the label on the electrical service panel before the work begins. If a panel is not yet available, you may post the label on the installation.


Q:   When extending gas pipe to non-electrical gas equipment (barbecue, insert), are you required to bond the existing gas pipe connected to an existing gas or electrical appliance? 250.104
A:  

No, unless the alteration creates the potential to be energized.
(August 8,2002 Tri-County Electrical Code Forum)