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Old 08-31-2011, 06:22 AM   #1
StaggeringGoat
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Default Exposed Romex?

I want to install some extra lights in my shop. Currently there is about 500 watts of T8s installed on the ceiling. The wiring for the lights is exposed on the ceiling. Most of it is inside EMT, but there's a peice of bare romex going from the junction box to each light. (see pic)

Is it ok to have romex exposed like that? Or does it need to be inside some kind of conduit?

Basically I want to install more lights the same way...I'm just wondering if that is right or not?
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

Seems fine up there. Nothing is going to damage it. But, this is one of those interpretive things whether a wire needs physical protection.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

So the NEC doesn't specifically say? In my opinion it's perfectly safe, just not sure if it would pass an inspection.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

The NEC states that it must be protected from physical damage where subject to physical damage, or something close to that. Whether it is subject to damage is a matter of opinion. The NEC makes exactly the same statement for MC cable that everyone seems to think is OK on the ceiling. The problem is that some people for some reason they can't explain think MC cable is OK but romex is not. I even bought MC cable to put through trusses exposed to avoid any problems with opinions.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:04 AM   #5
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

My whole shop is exposed romex like that strung across the tops of the rafters. According to my buddy that did the install for me, as long as they have those white anchor pins, it's fine. Shop was arbitrarily inspected a couple of years later by a nosy inspector who was out inspecting some other work being done and the whole job passed with flying colors. I'd say you're fine with it.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

I think you are OK, as the purlin (or whatever that piece is...) protects the wire from damage from below. If the wire was simply laid out on the ceiling, it would have to be protected, usually 1x2s are put on each side of the wire.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:26 AM   #7
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

That definitely looks like a homeowner job!

If a guy is going to take the time to pipe across the ceiling, I'd at least use MC cable from the box to the light. That Romex looks like crap.

But, the best way would of been to stub a pipe into the ends of each light right out of the box and then eliminate the splices in the box.

Last edited by Aceman; 08-31-2011 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

Up here,any NMD below 1.5m(5ish')needs to be protected.It may not look the best,but would conform.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

Wow.. harsh.. Don't let Aceman around my work.
He may make me cry..
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

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Originally Posted by richtersrodz View Post
Wow.. harsh.. Don't let Aceman around my work.
He may make me cry..
Its a steel building for one, and the EMT that is there looks pretty good, but it looks like someone tried to add lights after the fact, and didn't have a clue how except to run the romex.

It does look like a homeowner job.

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Old 08-31-2011, 05:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

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Originally Posted by Charles (in GA) View Post
but it looks like someone tried to add lights after the fact, and didn't have a clue how except to run the romex.
I think that's what happened. There are other junction boxes in the ceiling where there are no lights but it looks like there should be. Whoever did the lights didn't do the EMT. Not a "homeowner" job though, this is part of a multi-million dollar shop condo complex.

My place was originally planned to have a spray booth, but then the city wouldn't allow that last minute. They did install an explosion proof heater though and probably were planning for explosion proof lighting that never happened.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:06 PM   #12
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

Why not pipe it? It looks like a straight run for the box to the light, and it will look 50x better.

On a side note, you wouldn't use romex in conduit (I believe its even against code), you run 3 single conductors.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:52 PM   #13
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

For Romex in a conduit, you should ask your local building inspector, they will probably allow it for your particular case (short run, dedicated circuit).
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:08 AM   #14
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

Romex in conduit is common. I have seen it in quite a few tract houses. Installed that way new.
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Old 09-01-2011, 06:23 PM   #15
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

Local AHJ inspectors would call you out on exposed Romex around here (CO). Also down the road when you sell a asshole Home Inspector will wet his pants and jump up and down when he spots the eposed Romex, he will definately write it up as a deficiency and want a license to repair it.
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:38 PM   #16
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

they would not like it here in Newport News Va.
I wonder though being way up there nothing is going to harm it.
I was told flat out no exposed romex in a garage.
Yet they have no problem if it is behind thin weak sheetrock because it is more protected from something jabbing it.
Guess what, still posting so I have not electrocuted myself yet, or maybe I am thick skinned.
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Old 09-02-2011, 01:49 PM   #17
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

Ummm, commercial/shop use codes usually do not even allow Romex (more correctly called NM or NM-B).

YMMV and your electrical codes may be different.

Also, in almost every locale in the US, there is no resident homeowner exemption for doing 'commercial' electrical work. ALL commercial/industial/shop/apartment/etc work is supposed to be done by licensed electricians, not the owner/occupant. Again, YMMV (but I doubt it).
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Old 09-02-2011, 05:20 PM   #18
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

This is a difficult problem. I don't think it would pass inspection, however in practice I'll bet it's perfectly safe.

There is also a potential problem with putting Romex in conduit. That's not allowed outside or underground and opinions vary as to the legality of doing it inside.

I believe the only truly code compliant way to do this is to put individual wires in EMT.
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Old 09-03-2011, 06:08 AM   #19
StaggeringGoat
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonRise View Post
Also, in almost every locale in the US, there is no resident homeowner exemption for doing 'commercial' electrical work. ALL commercial/industial/shop/apartment/etc work is supposed to be done by licensed electricians, not the owner/occupant. Again, YMMV (but I doubt it).
I have a handfull of electrical projects that I plan on doing and then getting a cheap electrician to do the final hookup, inspection, and get the permits. I'm only doing that because the owner's unit is next door and he'll see the lights...

It would take me longer to explain to an electrician what I want done and exactly how, and then check his work, than it would to just do it myself.
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Old 09-03-2011, 08:30 AM   #20
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Default Re: Exposed Romex?

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Originally Posted by StaggeringGoat View Post
I have a handfull of electrical projects that I plan on doing and then getting a cheap electrician to do the final hookup, inspection, and get the permits. I'm only doing that because the owner's unit is next door and he'll see the lights...

It would take me longer to explain to an electrician what I want done and exactly how, and then check his work, than it would to just do it myself.
Do you really think any electrician with any common sense is going to do the "final hookup" and pull the permits on a project you wired? Only an idiot would take on that liability.

I'd probably start by looking on Craigslist...
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