–Blocking/ Making The Electrical Panel Inaccessible. (Article 110.26)
Working space. It is by far the most overlooked Electrical Code by everyone. Electrical rooms used as storage closets; panels in garages with bicycle racks blocking them; basement Panels covered by shelving, oil burners or hot water heaters. I’ve seen it all. 3ft of working space is required in front of any electrical panel 600v or less, and the width must be equal to the equipment or 30in, whichever is greater. The panel door must open 90 degrees as well. Make sure your electrical equipment is fully accessible at all times. Cabinet doors or removable picture frames are not a violation.
–No GFCI Protection (Article 210.8)
Unlike Circuit breakers or fuses, GFCI protection is for the homeowner and not the electrical equipment. GFCIs are required in more than just bathrooms where people commonly see them. Kitchen, Basement, Outdoor and other receptacles require them as well.
–Switching Neutrals (Article 404.2(B))
A common (working) mistake by homeowners is switching the neutral, While electrically this will still successfully turn a light or outlet on and off, the end result is very dangerous in the future. The receptacle will still have 120v to ground even when the switch is turned off, creating a hazard of electrical shock.
–Back-feeding Panels For Generators/ Using Dryer Outlets (Article 700.5, Article 705)
Many people have tried rigging up a back-feed for an emergency generator straight into a breaker in their electrical panel or even use their 30a dryer outlet. With out proper interlocking and generator inlets, this can cause a very high risk of injury to the user, or damage to your electrical system.
Interlockings prevent your generator feed from meeting the Utility feed and causing a fire or worse an explosion. This may even cause damage to your Utility Company, which will result in paying for their damage.
Proper inlets prevent exposure to electrified copper parts of a plug, creating a safe environment for the homeowner to power up his/her house during an emergency.
From inter-system bonding to pool water bonding, this keeps your everyday equipment at the same potential to decrease risk of electrical shock. DIY’ers, handymen and even other electricians often overlook this important section of the code.
–Improper Outlet Wiring (Article 200.11)
Reverse polarity, missing grounds and replacing ungrounded receptacles with grounding type while not installing a new ground are a few common mistakes homeowners make while trying to do work in their own house.
Reverse polarity has the potential to cause damage to pricey electronics like Microwaves, TVs and Computers. This type of damage may not be covered under the warranty of the electronics, due to improper installation.
Very often people try to replace their ungrounded 2 prong outlets with grounding type 3 prong outlets. This mistake could cause electrical shock to the user if the equipment plugged into it requires a ground. This also has the potential to damage the electronics and the circuit due to the circuit breaker not tripping because of the lack of a ground wire. This also applies to those common outlet splitters sold at supermarkets and dollar-stores; it’s a quick fix that you will regret if anything goes wrong.
–Keeping Up To Date On The Newest Electrical Codes
The National Electric Code is updated every 3 years, and has constant changes that homeowners and handymen will not be aware of. These changes are often for the safety of your electrical system and the occupants of the building whether it’s a residential house or a commercial office. New arc-fault protected device locations are one of the many recent updates to the code-book that are overlooked or misunderstood.
Call ZP Electric at (631) 880-0822 to avoid hazards and keep your home or business code compliant.