Hello everyone. Used to be an electrician in PA, 1994-2007, now a Social Studies teacher. I've run into a problem, and I know I'm right, or at least 99% right, but an electrician where I'm living now, SW IN, is telling me something very different.
Here's the question, Are open splices legal according to the NEC? By open splice, I mean a splice that is not enclosed in a junction box. Also, Is it ok to bury a splice in a wall? Meaning that it is not accessible. And finally, If an inspector goes against the NEC should the electrician follow what the inspector says, even if what the inspector says is less than what the NEC states? Use the above questions as the example.
The reason I ask these questions, I am currently working in a building that has a ton of open splices. Today, when I was talking to an electrician, who also has an electrician training facility, I asked him about the splices and he told me they were ok, as per the NEC. I told him, um no they have to be in an enclosure with a blank plate. He continued to tell me, that because of the way the code is stated, it is ok to have an open splice (a splice that is not in an enclosure). He also told me that it was ok to bury a splice in a wall. I told him, no you can place a splice in a wall but it has to be accessible, i.e. cut a hole in the wall and put the splice in an outwork box then cover with a blank cover or cut a hole big enough for an access panel but the splice still needs to be in an enclosure with a blank cover. We went round and round about it, then he said he would have to look it up.
Am I right, or is he? I mean, this is basic wiring 101.
Your correct and the nec is code minimum not code maximum.
Based on what you said, the other guy has no clue and needs to go back and do some (a lot) of reading.
This is even worse if he is teaching this kind of crap.
Splices must be in boxes:
300.15 Boxes, Conduit Bodies, or Fittings —Where Required.
A box shall be installed at each outlet and switch
point for concealed knob-and-tube wiring.
Fittings and connectors shall be used only with the specific
wiring methods for which they are designed and listed.
Where the wiring method is conduit, tubing, Type AC
cable, Type MC cable, Type MI cable, nonmetallic-sheathed
cable, or other cables, a box or conduit body shall be installed
at each conductor splice point, outlet point, switch point, junction
point, termination point, or pull point, unless otherwise
permitted in 300.15(A) through (L).
Boxes must be covered:
314.25 Covers and Canopies. In completed installations,
each box shall have a cover, faceplate, lampholder, or luminaire
canopy, except where the installation complies with
I know there are some splices that are supposedly ok to bury in a wall with NM cable:
(B) Devices of Insulating Material. Switch, outlet, and
tap devices of insulating material shall be permitted to be
used without boxes in exposed cable wiring and for rewiring
in existing buildings where the cable is concealed and
fished. Openings in such devices shall form a close fit
around the outer covering of the cable, and the device shall
fully enclose the part of the cable from which any part of
the covering has been removed. Where connections to conductors
are by binding-screw terminals, there shall be available
as many terminals as conductors.
Inspectors can give you special permission. I doubt they will put it in writing, giving you proof that it was approved by them:
90.4 Enforcement. This Code is intended to be suitable
for mandatory application by governmental bodies that exercise
legal jurisdiction over electrical installations, including
signaling and communications systems, and for use by
insurance inspectors. The authority having jurisdiction for
enforcement of the Code has the responsibility for making
interpretations of the rules, for deciding on the approval of
equipment and materials, and for granting the special permission
contemplated in a number of the rules.
By special permission, the authority having jurisdiction
may waive specific requirements in this Code or permit
alternative methods where it is assured that equivalent objectives
can be achieved by establishing and maintaining
This Code may require new products, constructions, or
materials that may not yet be available at the time the Code
is adopted. In such event, the authority having jurisdiction
may permit the use of the products, constructions, or materials
that comply with the most recent previous edition of
this Code adopted by the jurisdiction.
You should bring a code book next time you talk to him and ask him where it is stated that you can do what he says.
Open splices with wire nuts are not permitted. I have heard that there are however some special connectors that are allowed to be used and buried in walls. They use them in the modular homes that come in two or more pieces and are assembled on site.
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