Jim Dollard has an extensive background in codes and standards. If you have a query about the National Electrical Code (NEC) , Jim will help you solve it. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Answers are based on the 2020 NEC .
Food preparation and cooking areas
It is my understanding that, to have a kitchen, the definition in Article 100 must be met. We bid on and won a number of small shops that serve coffee, donuts and bagels. There are no provisions for cooking around the cash register area, just a sink and countertops. During plan review, we were informed that all of the receptacles in the counter and sink area are required to be GFCI-protected. This will require many GFCI devices. Why?
The general requirements for GFCI protection for areas other than dwelling units are located in 210.8(B). You are correct that for an area to be considered a kitchen, it must contain a sink and permanent provisions for food preparation and cooking. There are 12 locations specified in 210.8(B) that require GFCI protection of receptacles. List item (2) has been significantly expanded in 2020 and now applies to kitchens and all areas with a sink and permanent provisions for either food preparation or cooking. The area that you have described contains a sink and permanent provisions for food preparation. This revision in list item (2) creates three areas that require GFCI protection: (1) kitchens, (2) an area with a sink and permanent provisions for food preparation and (3) an area with a sink and permanent provisions for cooking.
The drawings for a new hotel depict many same-sized rooms that are identified as meeting rooms or multipurpose rooms. Do we need to install receptacles in each as required for meeting rooms? We also have two rooms that are well over 1,000 square feet. Why don’t they require receptacles for shows, etc., that may occupy these spaces?
Section 210.65 requires meeting rooms of not more than 1,000 square feet to have outlets for nonlocking-type, 125-volt, 15A or 20A receptacles installed. The intended use of the room is what is important in this determination. In a hotel, all of these rooms will likely be used for meetings of seated occupants for conferences, deliberations or similar purposes where portable electronic equipment, such as computers, projectors or similar equipment is likely to be used, and 210.65 will apply.
The determination of the size of each room must be made with any movable partitions in the position that results in the smallest size meeting room. The 1,000-square-foot threshold was determined to be a reasonable limitation and was placed into the requirement to provide clarity that large rooms and convention halls are not required to meet the requirements of 210.65. When large rooms and halls require power for conventions and trade shows, the installation must be in accordance with the requirements of Article 518 “Assembly Occupancies” and Article 590 “Temporary Installations.”
Is a metal wireway considered to be a junction box or a raceway?
See the definition of metal and nonmetallic wireways in 376.2 and 378.2. Wireways are troughs with removable covers for housing and protecting electrical wires and cables. The definition explains that conductors or cables are laid in place in the trough after the raceway has been installed as a complete system. A wireway may also be used with cable assemblies, and the definition may need some modifications. Per the definition, a wireway is not specifically identified as raceway or a junction box. A wireway may be used as a raceway, junction box or pull box. The NEC does not define the terms “junction box” and “pull box.”
Are fuse reducers prohibited?
While we don’t use fuse reducers frequently, an engineer informed us that—due to reduced spacings between the fuses where they are used—reducers are not permitted.
Fuse reducers where properly applied are permitted. See the UL product category IZZR for more information on your application. The guide explains that fuse reducers are primarily intended for use with open fuse holders. Additional guidance explains that using reducers in enclosed switches, panelboards or other enclosures may introduce a hazard due to reduced spacings. This does require you to consider spacings where fuse reducers are used within enclosures.
4-wire delta system
The local utility company identifies the high leg in a 4-wire delta system as orange. We carry that marking into the service equipment and to all downstream panelboards. An inspector is requiring that we continue to identify the high leg at all branch-circuit terminations. Is that correct?
Section 110.15 requires the high leg to be marked orange in color or by other effective means. The high leg occurs where the midpoint of one phase winding is grounded, leaving one ungrounded conductor with a higher voltage to ground. The NEC does not require identification of the high leg at all branch-circuit terminations, such as with a three-phase motor. However, the NEC does require marking at each point on the system where a connection is made if the grounded conductor is also present.
Temporary lighting and lamp guards
An LED lamp manufacturer recently informed our contractor group that their LED lamp does not require a lamp guard when used as temporary lighting. It looks just like a standard incandescent lamp in a pigtail. The presenter specifically told us that the lamp complied with NFPA 241. I am not sure how that impacts the NEC. Can you help?
The NEC requires all lamps used as temporary lighting be protected from accidental contact or breakage by a suitable luminaire or lamp holder with a guard. There are two options: (1) a luminaire that completely encloses and protects the lamp and (2) where a lamp holder is used (a pigtail), a guard is always required. NFPA 241 is the Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration and Demolition Operations. Section 184.108.40.206 in this standard requires temporary lamps be equipped with guards to protect the bulb unless the construction has the bulb deeply recessed. This text creates multiple issues. First, this permissive requirement creates a conflict between the NEC and NFPA 241. The NEC has purview over electrical installations and renders the permissive requirement in NFPA 241 as unenforceable. Because a LED A type lamp is subject to physical damage in the same manner as an incandescent or CFL type lamp, a guard is required. Additionally, it must be understood that OSHA requires a guard, as well. See 1926.405(a)(2)(ii)(E), which requires all lamps for general illumination be protected from accidental contact or breakage.
Disconnect required by 410.130(G)(1)
Can a single-pole switch serve as the required disconnect for replacing a ballast in fluorescent luminaires that use double-ended lamps?
The general rule in 410.130(G)(1) is that each fluorescent luminaire that uses double-ended lamps and contains a ballast can be serviced in place and provided with a disconnecting means either internal or external to each luminaire. However, Exception No. 4 would permit a single-pole switch under prescriptive conditions. This is permitted where more than one luminaire is installed and supplied by other than a multiwire branch circuit. In this case, a disconnect is not required for every luminaire, provided the design of the installation includes disconnects for the lighting so the illuminated space cannot be left in total darkness. This exception cannot be applied where a multiwire branch circuit supplies the luminaires because 210.4(B) requires multiwire branch circuits to be provided with a disconnect to simultaneously open all ungrounded conductors at the point where the branch circuit originates.