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Old 06-10-2008, 12:34 AM   #1
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Electrical Code in Chicago!?!


I just moved here from MA and am slowly learning that Chicago electrical code is wacko. For instance, I am installing remodel recessed lighting in my kitchen and the Home Depot guy who seemed to know what he is talking about said all romex needs to be in flexible metal conduit (BX) and can't be longer than 3' long; when I need to put it in runs longer than 3', I have to split and rejoin in a box? Is this true? I can sort of understand the conduit, but why only 3' at a time? I would think it would be more of a fire hazard to keep splitting cable and reconnecting.

And the HD guy also said 14/3 romex...but shouldn't I only need 14/2, which would be black/white/ground? Its a 15 amp circuit and nothing heavy on the circuit, only about (8) 60 watt cans.

Is there any place that summarizes Chicago Electrical Code in plain English?

Much appreciated! Thanks.

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Old 06-10-2008, 12:48 AM   #2
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Electrical Code in Chicago!?!


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Originally Posted by moose186 View Post
Is there any place that summarizes Chicago Electrical Code in plain English?
Well it certainly WON'T be home crap-hole!

Your best bet on electrical is always your licensed electrician. I am NOT an electrician (which is why I hire one) but I believe all of Cook County code is for conduit....not romex.

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Old 06-10-2008, 06:41 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by angus242 View Post
Well it certainly WON'T be home crap-hole!

Your best bet on electrical is always your licensed electrician. I am NOT an electrician (which is why I hire one) but I believe all of Cook County code is for conduit....not romex.
That's my understanding too, is that romex is not allowed at all... EVERYTHING must be in pipe.
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:17 AM   #4
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Electrical Code in Chicago!?!


I understand that to be the case as well. My opinion of why you have to run conduit and can't pull NM wire....Union influence.
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:35 AM   #5
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Electrical Code in Chicago!?!


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My opinion of why you have to run conduit and can't pull NM wire....Union influence.
True!

Don't, do NOT listen to the people at Home Depot for electrical advice. As most others suggested, NM cable is NOT allowed in the city. I do not know how far out of the city this continues to apply but I live just outside and my municipality follows the same "conduit" rules.

Getting to the BX issue, both MC cable and Greenfield (FMC) are allowed without length restriction (for residential, anyway) when being fished into walls/ceilings for remodel work. If you strip away the entire wall/c'lg surface then an inspector would tend to want conduit installed if practical.

Finally, the choice to use 2/c vs. 3/c NM cable is purely based on application. And I have to agree that if you could use it, 14/2 would be fine for your application.

Where exactly do you live? A lot of people who move to the suburbs of Chicago say "I live in Chicago." While this is fine, I'd just want to make sure that you are in fact bound to the city's amendments.

Feel free to PM me if you have further Chicago-code questions (or rants!).

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Old 03-28-2009, 03:31 PM   #6
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Electrical Code in Chicago!?!


BigJimmy and all-

From experience, any idea on what it should cost on average for install of recessed lighting in a Chicago 2-flat kitchen, living room? Can you price it per can/light?

Thanks.
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Old 03-31-2009, 01:53 PM   #7
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Electrical Code in Chicago!?!


To be honest, I do all of my own work so I don't know what a reasonable cost would be (outside of materials). Your best bet is to call in some pro's and have them quote the job. There are a lot of things that can influence the pricing and they'll need to see the job site first hand in order to price it accurately and as the old rule goes, get at least 3 quotes. BTW, I'd recommend someone that is licensed and can readily prove it.

If you get some prices, feel free to email me. I do have several electrician friends in the city that do side work. They could likely tell me if your quotes are good.

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Old 03-31-2009, 04:44 PM   #8
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Moose - to clarify (as I, non-electrician but former city of Chicagoan, understand), you're allowed only up to 3 feet of flexible conduit from a switch or outlet, but after 3 feet, flexible conduit has to connect to rigid metal conduit which means all kinds of fun learning how to bend pipe. I agree with rest of posters that best bet is pro electrician (and probably also drywallers since major jobs typically mean ripping out walls to get rigid pipe installed). Moved from Chicago to Minnesota 2 years ago and very happy to leave behind wacko construction codes (and pipe bender).
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:59 PM   #9
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Electrical Code in Chicago!?!


For the record much of the Chicago code reads exactly like the NEC. The big differences are in raceways, conduit fill and plenum ceilings. You are allowed 6 feet of whips (flexible metal conduit.) Jimmy is correct that the length restriction is removed for fishing existing walls. If you fish greenfield (empty BX) you MUST pull a grounding conductor if your length exceeds six feet. Other post concerning 3 feet of exposed flex to conduit was accurate as well.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:13 PM   #10
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Electrical Code in Chicago!?!


So fish the walls 1st & have inspected
Then rip the walls down to remodel
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
So fish the walls 1st & have inspected
Then rip the walls down to remodel
That's one way to do it

One thing I forgot to mention: the only thing romex is allowed to do in the city is supply temporary power and lighting. It does not belong in conduit. Any other specifics, I will be happy to try and field. There is much better advice here ( most of the time) than in the home depot.
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:22 AM   #12
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Electrical Code in Chicago!?!


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you MUST pull a grounding conductor if your length exceeds six feet.

I think this applies to the nec as well for flex.

I like conduit and all, but I think Chicago's code is really strict. And from old installs, you can see that they have adopted pipe and flex for a very long time.
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:28 AM   #13
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I think this applies to the nec as well for flex.

I like conduit and all, but I think Chicago's code is really strict. And from old installs, you can see that they have adopted pipe and flex for a very long time.
Yeah, something to do with Mrs. O'Leary's cow...
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:51 AM   #14
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more like something to do with Al Capone.....
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Old 04-02-2009, 12:23 AM   #15
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Stop it. You're killing me.

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