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Old 09-19-2013, 09:33 AM   #1
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Single circuit garage feed


Hi;
I am curious to know whether the following installation is code:

Single circuit feed to detached garage from breaker in main panel in house. No additional panel in garage. Just runs to a GFCI receptacle, a couple of switches that control inside and outside (motion controlled) light.

Uses type UF cable but is strung above ground using insulators on the house and on the garage.

Cable comes out of house wall, travels up the side of the house to the insulator, then is tightly looped once through the insulator.
Cable extends approx. 10ft across open space to garage.
On garage, same install as on house.

There is no additional support wire. The UF cable supports itself.
This install was done by an electrician, not the homeowner, and I assume an inspection was performed and the install passed.
I am just curious because I have never seen type UF cable used as an above-ground feeder in this manner.

Thanks for your help

FW

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Old 09-19-2013, 09:58 AM   #2
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Single circuit garage feed


not really. article 340 deals with uf cable and 340.12 does not permit uf to be used "as overhead cable, except where installed as messenger-supported wiring in accordance with Part II of Article 396". to meet Part II of Article 396, the installation would need to be at an 'industrial establishment' to utilize uf cable on a messenger. i suspect your house is not an 'industrial establishment'.

additionally, uf cable cannot be installed 'where subject to physical damage' which is somewhat open to interpretation. uf cable also cannot be exposed to direct sunlight unless it is identified as 'sunlight resistant'.

all this is based on 2011 code, you may have local amendments that allow such an installation but i doubt it.

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Old 09-19-2013, 10:03 AM   #3
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Single circuit garage feed


Doing work like that I would let that guy wire my dog house.
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Old 09-19-2013, 10:07 AM   #4
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Single circuit garage feed


Quote:
Originally Posted by itsnotrequired View Post
not really. article 340 deals with uf cable and 340.12 does not permit uf to be used "as overhead cable, except where installed as messenger-supported wiring in accordance with Part II of Article 396". to meet Part II of Article 396, the installation would need to be at an 'industrial establishment' to utilize uf cable on a messenger. i suspect your house is not an 'industrial establishment'.

additionally, uf cable cannot be installed 'where subject to physical damage' which is somewhat open to interpretation. uf cable also cannot be exposed to direct sunlight unless it is identified as 'sunlight resistant'.

all this is based on 2011 code, you may have local amendments that allow such an installation but i doubt it.
Thanks. I was afraid of that. The install must have been inspected though; it was installed to my brother's garage, after the entire garage needed to be replaced due to damage caused by Sandy.
I don't know whether the UF cable is sunlight resistant. It is gray in color.
Next time I go to my bro's house, I will check it.

I can say for sure that there is no messenger cable, and that is what tipped me off as to question code conformance.
I found the section of code you referred to, and it is pretty clear to me.
There isn't an exception for distances under 10ft, is there? I don't know the exact distance, but it is probably more than 10ft, but under 15ft.

One thing I am certain of is that if I had done the install myself, it would not have passed inspection. Somehow the pros seem to get more leniency from inspectors.

FW
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Old 09-19-2013, 10:17 AM   #5
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Single circuit garage feed


from a practical standpoint, the installation may be fine and that's why the inspector passed it. from a straight code standpoint, no dice (other than it "meets" code for the basic reason that the inspector passed it).

uf cable isn't meant to be installed the way it has been so there isn't any guidance on minimum unsupported distances. some tray cable can run up to six feet without support but that's the only reference i can think of off the top of my head.
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Old 09-19-2013, 10:45 AM   #6
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Single circuit garage feed


After the storm, I understand the area allowed some installations they might not normally allow. There were exceptions added to the local codes to help people get back up and running.

This could be why they allowed this install to pass. Or maybe its a temporary fix?
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Old 09-19-2013, 12:35 PM   #7
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Maybe the town code doesn't completely follow NEC. I have looked up the code for my town, and there are some amendments and deletions listed, but basically they use the 2005 code. I will look up my brother's town just for curiosity, but no way am I going to make a deal about it. I'm sure that it will be find for many years. It's an outdoor install, and I don't think there is any danger of fire or electrocution. If I happen to notice the cable deteriorating, then I will replace it myself; probably by running the UF underground, as it is intended to be run.

My brother told me that the reason they chose to run the cable overhead was that running it underground would have cost twice as much. There had been an underground conduit, but that could not be reused.

I suppose that if I really wanted to, I could run the messenger wire and attach the existing UF (assuming that it is sunlight resistant) to that wire, but at this point I really don't see any need for it.

For curiosity's sake, what type of cable would I need to run if I were to do this install to meet code?

FW
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:13 PM   #8
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ugh, i had a brain fart here. uf CAN be run overhead, as long as it is on a messenger. it doesn't need to be at an industrial location.

aside from uf on a messenger, there are a number of cable types that can be use. se is a good one. triplexed cable is another. basically any outdoor-rated, sunlight-resistant cable will work, within some limitations (like the uf needing to be on a messenger).

why not go underground? sounds like you only have a single 20A GFCI circuit. those can be really shallow, depending on if it is under a driveway, etc.
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsnotrequired View Post
ugh, i had a brain fart here. uf CAN be run overhead, as long as it is on a messenger. it doesn't need to be at an industrial location.

aside from uf on a messenger, there are a number of cable types that can be use. se is a good one. triplexed cable is another. basically any outdoor-rated, sunlight-resistant cable will work, within some limitations (like the uf needing to be on a messenger).

why not go underground? sounds like you only have a single 20A GFCI circuit. those can be really shallow, depending on if it is under a driveway, etc.
The garage was installed by a contractor, who probably sub-contracted the electrician, so I had no control over what was being done. From what my brother told me though, they would have wanted $800 to run the feed underground, and $400 for above ground, so my brother chose above ground.

FW

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