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Old 11-14-2012, 03:22 PM   #16
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Is conduit over fill really bad?


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Originally Posted by Julius793 View Post
If he has 8 set of Romex that would be 16 CCC and the derating would be at 50%. And why shouldn't the electrician charge??
He violated the code with his installation, why should the customer pay?

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Old 11-14-2012, 03:24 PM   #17
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Is conduit over fill really bad?


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Originally Posted by Julius793 View Post
If he has 8 set of Romex that would be 16 CCC and the derating would be at 50%.
Ah, I didn't realize. Good point.

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And why shouldn't the electrician charge??
Well, it seems like it's the electrician is the one that messed up here. Why charge the homeowner for his mistake?
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:26 PM   #18
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Is conduit over fill really bad?


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Originally Posted by tylernt
Ah, I didn't realize. Good point.

Well, it seems like it's the electrician is the one that messed up here. Why charge the homeowner for his mistake?
Yes assuming you can get the same electrician to come back
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:33 PM   #19
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Is conduit over fill really bad?


Some things to consider.

The NEC is a MINIMUM standard for electrical installations.

Not maximum. Those that think the NEC is soooooo strict should understand that it could be a lot worse.

The NEC is written for SAFETY as it's primary focus. It does not care of cost or availability of material. Safety for it's current electrical user and for future users.

As for your question. Limiting the amount of conductors in a bundled fashion is to prevent overheating of the conductors. The conductors used are designed to operate at a temperature based on how much current is flowing through the conductor.

Bundling them causes the temperature to rise and the conductors are now operating hotter than what the NEC allows. This can easily become a problem and safety issue such as causing fires.

I hope my answer helped you understand the importance of following the NEC.

Assuming your electrician is really an electrician, then they should not be installing things in an illegal manner. Especially when the inspector already caught it in a different location.

Assuming you have a contract with this electrician, then they should fix any errors that have been created by their actions instead of having you, as the homeowner, "fight city hall" and all their "rules".
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:02 PM   #20
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Is conduit over fill really bad?


The electrician is a licensed older 'nam vet who said they used to always do it (run many lines through conduit) and bundle lines together in the old days.
Due to a number of reasons beyond the scope of this discussion, he is on a T&M basis and has already racked up huge bills and charges for all his time (as most t&m workers do) including time to make mistakes and then time to fix his mistakes. He charges me for regular breakers and then charges again to replace them with gfci or arc fault ones when inspector calls him on it. But we are stuck for time and so just grinning and bearing it and trying to get through this with as little blood shed possible.
The "fix-it list" passed re-inspection this morning so we are clear to move on but I still worry about the things the inspector didn't see like the other conduits.
I too believe, in general, that building codes are minimums however there are always exceptions. EG. , why does 3 or more wires in ANY conduit make sense? What if it was 3 wires in a 12" conduit? It would be better off in there than not in conduit and baking under 6 inches of spray foam with no heat dissipation, wouldn't it?
So as a practical solution, I'll just turn on everything that those lines in the conduit feed and see how hot the conduit and/or wires get. Does that seem like a reasonable test for safety for me and the next Joe home owner?
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:33 PM   #21
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Is conduit over fill really bad?


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Originally Posted by RancherRob
So as a practical solution, I'll just turn on everything that those lines in the conduit feed and see how hot the conduit and/or wires get. Does that seem like a reasonable test for safety for me and the next Joe home owner?
Nope.....I refer back to my original comment
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:40 PM   #22
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Is conduit over fill really bad?


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Due to a number of reasons beyond the scope of this discussion, he is on a T&M basis
...bet you won't ever do T&M again!

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The "fix-it list" passed re-inspection this morning so we are clear to move on
That's unfortunate.

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So as a practical solution, I'll just turn on everything that those lines in the conduit feed and see how hot the conduit and/or wires get. Does that seem like a reasonable test for safety for me and the next Joe home owner?
Sure, if you plug 2,400W loads into each and every circuit and run them all simultaneously and continuously for 24 hours.

As an example, this fall we scheduled an HVAC guy to replace our dead furnace. However the weather turned cold before he could get here, so we ran two 1,500W space heaters in our living room. I thought they were on separate circuits, because both ran fine all day (8+ hours). Then suddenly they both cut off and we discovered they were both on the same breaker. We had been overloading that circuit all day long before the breaker tripped. Scary huh? Now consider your bundle of wires, no breakers will trip because each individual cable is drawing a "safe" ( < 20A ) amount of current and the breaker cannot sense the temperature of the wire in the conduit. You have no safety device to protect you.

The only protection is making sure the conduit fill and ampacity is low enough that no amount of normal usage can make it overheat.

Again, if the drywall is not up yet, just fix it now while it's relatively cheap and easy to do.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:36 PM   #23
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Is conduit over fill really bad?


This type of really me off. You hired a hack "electrician", one that probably isn't really a contractor, because if he was, you'd take him to court for over charging you. A contractor cannot do things incorrectly, then charge you to fix them. Think about it...you could go in there, do everything purposely wrong, fail inspection then charge you again.

Then you come on here saying that you don't really care about codes, that's just a way for the government to control you. I don't think you hired anyone but yourself, you got caught and are trying to justify your piece of mind.

What is even worse, is the inspector passed your hack work.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:45 PM   #24
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We really did hire a professional, licensed electrician. I can't easily prove it, nor do I care to bother to do so. So you can believe what you want and you can assume the worst of people including me. I can't say as I blame you too much as the morals of many these days seem less than they used to be. Especially on the internet. Still, if you can give me the benefit of a doubt or at least say hypothetically that I hired an electrician, it will keep the thread on focus instead of going off on a tangent.
Unfortunately, for my wife and I we live in a backwards little town and county here on the West Coast where the competency and ethics of most of the trades are severely lacking. I'm not knocking the trades in general, just many of the local individuals I've met 'round here. Though I have met a few honorable "professionals" too. Including one other electrician that came back to fix $300 of materials and a days labor three months after he did the work, no questions asked. I was very impressed and will always try to hire him for other things. We tried to hire him to wire the whole house. However, he was too busy to help us in a timely manner before our permit runs out.
Yes, I could probably legally fight them and make them fix things on their own dime. However, in my experience, they usually take (even more) short cuts when they are working on their own time and the cost and time delays to take them to court are prohibitive (already looked into it). It seems as though all I do is pay people to redo their work. A fool and his money... BTW, my building permit expires end of next month and that is why we are scrambling and just doing whatever it takes to get it done and over with. County said they aren't wiling to renew permit again and that we would have to start whole application and permitting (and impact fees and like) over again.
So back on topic, is there any other way to practically test this problem for issues or am I stuck just having it ripped out and redone for another few thousand? In the bigger scheme, not a big deal. I've already had to re-pour my foundation and put on a new roof due to other local yocals. It just a little more financial pain and I was just hoping for an easier, faster, cheaper way out of the problem. I was hoping for the advice of the experienced seasoned professionals as to how bad a problem it really is from a practical standpoint. I don't need the youngin's just reciting code rules without fully understanding and having lots of experience in the specifics of the situation. I fully understand it isn't to current code. But did it used to be acceptable practice a few years ago and so many homes are mostly safely wired that way? For a somewhat similar example, they recently made texting while driving illegal. Now, ironically, collisions from texting have increased because now people are looking down from the road as they hide their texting in their laps instead of holding it in front of the windshield. Yes, it is the code/law for our safety but while not perfectly safe before, it was safer than the new law. Could many wires in a conduit have been mostly safe 99% of the time even though there were a few problems occasionally?

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Old 11-14-2012, 09:02 PM   #25
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Is conduit over fill really bad?


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But did it used to be acceptable practice a few years ago and so many homes are mostly safely wired that way?
Hm, not so sure about that.

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I've already had to re-pour my foundation and put on a new roof due to other local yocals. It just a little more financial pain and I was just hoping for an easier, faster, cheaper way out of the problem.
We just moved into a foreclosure and are doing a bunch of work. Other than major things like the roof, I've found that if I want something done right, and done inexpensively, the only option is to do it myself. Otherwise, you either pay to get it done wrong inexpensively, or you pay to get it done right expensively (or, in this case, pay to get it done wrong expensively).
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:13 PM   #26
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Is conduit over fill really bad?


The answer to your question has been answered. Whether or not it was legal before is not the issue. It has been changed because of safety issues. The code is ever evolving due to new technologies, science and understanding of issues that may not have been evident before.

I can't say if the majority of the time it's not a safety concern or not. It all depends on how loaded your circuits get. If the circuits are lightly loaded, then it's very possible you will never have a problem at all. What happens later in life and all of a sudden the circuits start to get loaded and next thing you know there is a fire.

How would you feel if your children, wife, husband, grandchildren were injured or killed due to your problems with your inadequate contractors. Maybe a long time ago you should have put your foot down and kicked the azz of these so called workers.

I'm not telling you what to do, just trying to provide an answer and a different point of view. I'm not advocating you spend even more money on these people.

Even if you just shut your job down, took everyone to court, maybe got some money back or at least did not have to pay anymore. You will run into problems finding another electrician to finish the work that another has started. No electrician wants to go into a job that was started by someone else and to fix all their mistakes. Even if you found someone trustworthy, they will be expensive since they have the added task of finding and correcting the issues and then certifying their final project.

In all practicality, you will be fine. But, again, it all depends on how loaded the circuits get.

You may not like the tangents that have taken place in your thread. It's somewhat warranted. Many people come on here and want to hear what they want to hear. And when they hear something else, they get all flustered.

I'm sorry to hear that you are having so many troubles with your contractors. It gives a bad name to all of us trades professionals that strive to do excellent, code compliant work.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:58 PM   #27
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Is conduit over fill really bad?


Wouldn't it have been much easier to pull 4 THHN conductors through the conduit to a subpanel in the attic, and wire from there?
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:25 PM   #28
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Is conduit over fill really bad?


Not unless its a finished (floored) attic with stairs to get up there. Even then I wouldn't do it.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:27 PM   #29
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Is conduit over fill really bad?


Everyone should really read section 312.5 (C) as well... this is the important section containing cables entering a cabinet within a conduit.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:28 PM   #30
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Is conduit over fill really bad?


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Not unless its a finished (floored) attic with stairs to get up there. Even then I wouldn't do it.
As long as the head room and working clearances are met, its really not a big deal.

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