February 8, 2005 A PRIMEDIA Property Vol. III No. 3

210.52 -- Dwelling Unit Receptacle Units

Not-So Solid Ground

What's Wrong Here?

Code Q&A

Code Quiz

Faces of the Code

Background Inspection

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    Top 2005 Code Changes
    210.52 -- Dwelling Unit Receptacle Units
    By Mike Holt
    A rule added to this Section requires at least one outdoor receptacle outlet for each grade level dwelling unit with an individual entrance. (Note: Code text has been paraphrased.)

    What the Code says:
    (E) Outdoor Receptacle -- Dwelling Units
    One-Family Dwelling Unit. Two receptacle outlets must be installed outdoors for each one-family dwelling unit, one at the front and one at the back of the dwelling unit, no more than 61/2 ft above grade.
    Two-Family Dwelling Unit. Each dwelling unit of a two-family dwelling that is at grade level must have two GFCI protected [210.8(A)(3)] receptacle outlets installed outdoors for each dwelling unit, one at the front and one at the back of each dwelling, no more than 61/2 ft above grade.
    Multi-family Dwelling Unit Building. At least one receptacle outlet accessible from grade level and not more than 61/2 ft above grade must be installed at each dwelling unit that has an individual entrance at grade level.
    (Text new to the Code is underlined.)

    Behind the change: This change is intended to help remove the need to run an extension cord through a door or windows to provide power for outdoor equipment, such as lawn mowers and hedge clippers, radios, etc. The 2005 NEC doesn't specify the rating of the required receptacle, but all 15A or 20A, 125V receptacles located outdoors of a dwelling unit must be GFCI protected [210.8(A)(3)].

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    Nightmare Installations
    Not-So Solid Ground
    While adding some outlets to an old house, I noticed the receptacles were the grounded type. When I inserted my outlet tester, the lights indicated it was grounded. I looked at the wires coming out of the panel and noticed they were old cloth 2-wire without a ground. Upon opening up one of the outlets I found a piece of wire that ran between the ground and neutral screws. I was outraged, to say the least. The owner of this newly purchased house was under the impression the house was grounded because the inspection indicated it was. I don't blame the inspector, but it makes me wonder how many other homes are like this. The only way to know for sure is to open up a few boxes, because even your meter will show 120V between the hot and ground.
    Jan Ruta
    Plainfield, Vt.

    Send your 200-word story to us and it may appear in a future issue of CodeWatch. Authors of stories chosen will receive $25.

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    Code Challenge
    What's Wrong Here?
    By Joe Tedesco
    How does this installation violate the NEC?

    Hint: This lighting fixture was installed outdoors with wood screws.

    Code Q&A
    By Mike Holt
    Q. Can a 15A or 20A, 125V receptacle on an elevated dwelling unit porch serve as the required outdoor receptacle outlet?
    See the answer.

    Code Quiz
    By Steven Owen
    A 480VAC, 3-phase, 4-wire wye-connected electrical distribution in an existing facility is protected against short circuits by "fully-rated" overcurrent protective devices. The circuit breakers at the service equipment have a 42kA interrupter rating. The calculated fault current for the existing electrical system at the service equipment -- fed from a 1,500kVA transformer (480VAC secondary, 5.75% Z) was calculated to be about 31,378A. The utility is going to change the transformer that feeds the building from 1,500kVA to 2,500kVA. The calculated fault current for the system fed from a new 2,500kVA transformer (480VAC, 5.75% Z) is approximately 52,298A. Purchasing new distribution equipment that is "fully rated" is out of the question; the existing electrical equipment must remain. Motor contribution during short-circuit conditions is negligible, and is connected on branch circuits fed from an MCC downstream of the service equipment. If "series rated" protection is provided, which of the following minimum requirements must it meet?

    1. A fusible switch that uses current-limiting fuses with 65kA interrupter ratings shall be installed ahead of the existing circuit breakers in the service equipment. This can be accomplished by a field design and installation.
    2. A current limiting circuit breaker with a 65kA interrupter rating shall be installed ahead of the existing circuit breakers in the service equipment. This can be accomplished by a field design and installation.
    3. A fusible switch that uses current-limiting fuses with 65kA interrupter ratings is permitted to be installed ahead of the circuit breakers in the service equipment. This installation must be designed by an electrical engineer engaged primarily in electrical design and maintenance, and field installed per the engineer's stamped and documented information.
    4. The system may remain as is.

    Visit EC&M's Web site for the answer and explanation.

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    Faces of the Code
    Dick Owen
    Chair, Code-Making Panel 3

    Dick Owen has to bite his tongue a lot these days. Twenty years in the electrical inspection office for the City of St. Paul, Minn., have taught him to speak up when he sees something he doesn't like, but since becoming the chair of Code-Making Panel 3 in 2002, he's had to learn the art of neutrality. As the panel's procedural "traffic cop," he's not allowed to weigh in on proposed changes. Instead, he manages the approval process and keeps it moving. And it hasn't been easy. "I have to keep my mouth shut on a lot of things because I have an opinion," he says.

    For every time he can't let his fellow panel members know what's on his mind, though, he has plenty of opportunities to point out problems to Twin Cities contractors and explain what they can do to fix them. After earning his Minnesota state electrical license in 1976, Owen worked for various electrical contractors and the city before finally settling in the inspector's office in 1985. "I looked around and thought, 'Do I really want to be digging ditches and jackhammering in 100° or
    -20° until I'm 65 years old?'" he says.

    He soon found, though, that while the job kept him out of the elements, it lacked what made being an electrician so rewarding. "You have a feeling of accomplishment when you do electrical wiring," he says. "You can drive by a building and tell your kids, 'I helped wire that place.'" Instead, he's come to see that being an inspector has an even greater -- albeit less tangible -- benefit. "If you do your job right, nothing happens," he says. "There are no fires, no electrocutions, and no power outages. You get the feeling of accomplishment in knowing that you kept people safe."

    Now the city's senior electrical inspector, he spends most of his time supervising his eight inspectors, but even though he isn't in the field, he still gets to offer an opinion and make a ruling occasionally. And that means studying every bit of the Code -- even the parts he may have disagreed with in committee. "As inspectors, that's our area of expertise," he says. "You have to keep up."

    Speak Out
    Background Inspection
    Dick Owen had several years as an electrician under his belt before becoming an inspector, and he can't imagine hiring someone for the job now who hasn't put in considerable time in the field. What do you think? How many years should someone work as an electrician before becoming an inspector? Visit EC&M's Web site to tell us.

    For the 2005 Code, the TCC rolled Art. 517 into a broader Code-making panel, but more than 50% of you think it was a mistake. If it makes you feel better, take it as a sign that hospitals are safer than they used to be.

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