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Old 04-24-2019, 11:24 AM   #16
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Re: Why the downgrade when it comes to residential electrical code


130M households in USA and Iíve never seen a stat that shows NM is any less safe than other schemes such as conduit.

Where I live in Illinois conduit is required in residential. It adds $8-10k of extra labor to average sized home. Not many homeowners lust for conduit in the walls.

Conduit is nice for some changes after the fact (fishing additional wires) but is prone to other drawbacks such as conduit overfill/derating and overloading of a neutral wire.


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Old 04-24-2019, 11:51 AM   #17
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Re: Why the downgrade when it comes to residential electrical code


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Where I live in Illinois conduit is required in residential. It adds $8-10k of extra labor to average sized home. Not many homeowners lust for conduit in the walls.


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I would be curious to know if homes in Illinois are statistically safer than homes built in other states that follow the NEC and allow for NM cable.


IMHO, running conduit in a enclosed wall behind drywall is waste of time and money. Suggesting that there may someday be some benefit because it may be easier to add conductors sounds to me like someone looking for a excuse to add in extra cost.
In most cases you could probably drop a cable behind the drywall faster than you could snake another conductor through a already filled conduit.


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Old 04-24-2019, 12:07 PM   #18
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Re: Why the downgrade when it comes to residential electrical code


Chicago had a big fire way back when...burned down half the town or something. But no, even though I haven't seen any hard numbers, I suspect Chicago houses aren't any safer than houses in the rest of IL, electrically speaking.
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Unread 04-24-2019, 01:27 PM   #19
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Re: Why the downgrade when it comes to residential electrical code


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Chicago had a big fire way back when...burned down half the town or something.
Assuming you are talking about the 1871 Fire, there was no electricity. (Edison didn’t form his first lighting company until the 1880s.)

I think the other story that is often told rings more true.
Chicago has been a union town for many, many years. Insisting on EMT or conduit, limiting FMC, etc, insures more work for the electricians.

You might call it electrical featherbedding.
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Unread 04-24-2019, 01:51 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by jeffnc View Post
You are either exaggerating the problems or doing something wrong. Your first comment makes no sense at all - a short can't possibly be more safe in a steel box.


I have never stripped the screws in a box I've installed no matter how many times I've removed. If that happens you're simply overdriving the screw. This can happen in a metal box as well, but at least with a plastic box you can remedy by simply using a slightly larger screw.


I have never had a box flex when plugging in. Although if that's a concern then use the stiffer hard plastic boxes instead of the cheapest "flimsy" boxes. You can also use the retro fit boxes that tighten to the drywall. These can be screwed to a stud as well as using the drywall clamps for a very sturdy connection if you need.


Your final comment is also beside the point. That is certainly not a benefit of steel boxes.
What I meant was if a small fire would happen from a short or the receptacle were to catch on fire, I would rather it happen in a metal box rather than a plastic one which I think would be common sense.

Plastic will always be more flimsy than metal. Even the better quality ones are flimsy. The cost is also pretty close. The attachment of NM cable to plastic is also far inferior than using knockout connectors not to mention metal boxes are more versatile in accepting connections. so what are the benefits to plastic again?

My rant has to do with the constant cheapening of building materials. This included things like OSB, lightweight drywall, dimensional lumber, PEX, Sharkbite push connectors, etc. there’s a trend towards lighter, faster, requiring less labor at the expense of reliability/durability and I would argue safety as well when it comes to electrical.
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Unread 04-24-2019, 03:39 PM   #21
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Re: Why the downgrade when it comes to residential electrical code


I'm not sure if the Chicago codes require metallic conduit. I just know they require conduit.
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Unread 04-24-2019, 05:14 PM   #22
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Re: Why the downgrade when it comes to residential electrical code


Quote:
Originally Posted by seephor View Post
What I meant was if a small fire would happen from a short or the receptacle were to catch on fire, I would rather it happen in a metal box rather than a plastic one which I think would be common sense.

Plastic will always be more flimsy than metal. Even the better quality ones are flimsy. The cost is also pretty close. The attachment of NM cable to plastic is also far inferior than using knockout connectors not to mention metal boxes are more versatile in accepting connections. so what are the benefits to plastic again?

My rant has to do with the constant cheapening of building materials. This included things like OSB, lightweight drywall, dimensional lumber, PEX, Sharkbite push connectors, etc. thereís a trend towards lighter, faster, requiring less labor at the expense of reliability/durability and I would argue safety as well when it comes to electrical.
I cannot agree with you - I would much rather my house had manifold pex than 1950s galvanized pipe.

there's plenty of places metal is not superior to plastic. anything where weight, or corrosion resistance come to mind. I'd take fusion welded HPDE piping over metal any day.
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Unread 04-24-2019, 07:18 PM   #23
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Customers don't want to pay extra for a system they rarely make changes to.

Metallic cables require the same protections against physical damage as NM cables.
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Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Unread 04-25-2019, 02:22 PM   #24
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Re: Why the downgrade when it comes to residential electrical code


I have encountered amour cable that was hot and provided a 220v shock to the electrician as a result and this was with surface mount where it was visible. Aluminum wire was done as a way to put more money in the builders' pockets but has proven to be unsafe with connections becoming loose or arcing.

The underlying problem is that houses today are not built all that differently than they were in the 1890's. It is still stick by stick wall framing covered with sheetrock instead of plaster and different materials used for the wiring and different light fixtures but most of the changes have been cosmetic or inferior as with PEX pipe for the plumbing.
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Unread 04-25-2019, 02:40 PM   #25
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Re: Why the downgrade when it comes to residential electrical code


Quote:
Originally Posted by seephor View Post
What I meant was if a small fire would happen from a short or the receptacle were to catch on fire, I would rather it happen in a metal box rather than a plastic one which I think would be common sense.

I've personally never seen an electrical fire in a receptacle, but metal would be better in that case. However if I had my choice between
a) putting whatever conditions would start the fire inside a metal box, or
b) avoiding those conditions and using a plastic box
I'd pick b.


Quote:
Originally Posted by seephor View Post
Plastic will always be more flimsy than metal.

That's a red herring. Let me ask you a question. If you were building your own house from scratch and building the walls with wood, would you use 2x4s or 2x12s for your wall studs?


Quote:
Originally Posted by seephor View Post
The attachment of NM cable to plastic is also far inferior than using knockout connectors not to mention metal boxes are more versatile in accepting connections. so what are the benefits to plastic again?
See above. It's inconsequential. The "benefit" that those metal clamps provide in metal boxes never materialize in the real world, with cable behind drywall, stapled to studs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by seephor View Post
My rant has to do with the constant cheapening of building materials. This included things like OSB, lightweight drywall, dimensional lumber, PEX, Sharkbite push connectors, etc. thereís a trend towards lighter, faster, requiring less labor at the expense of reliability/durability and I would argue safety as well when it comes to electrical.

You just mentioned some awful useful building materials. While cost is a factor, sometimes at the expense of quality, sometimes lighter, faster, requiring less labor are great benefits. I can think of many examples in real life where lighter and faster are better, and usually cost more, not less - for good reason.
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Unread 04-25-2019, 03:33 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffnc View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by seephor View Post
What I meant was if a small fire would happen from a short or the receptacle were to catch on fire, I would rather it happen in a metal box rather than a plastic one which I think would be common sense.

I've personally never seen an electrical fire in a receptacle, but metal would be better in that case. However if I had my choice between
a) putting whatever conditions would start the fire inside a metal box, or
b) avoiding those conditions and using a plastic box
I'd pick b.


Quote:
Originally Posted by seephor View Post
Plastic will always be more flimsy than metal.

That's a red herring. Let me ask you a question. If you were building your own house from scratch and building the walls with wood, would you use 2x4s or 2x12s for your wall studs?


Quote:
Originally Posted by seephor View Post
The attachment of NM cable to plastic is also far inferior than using knockout connectors not to mention metal boxes are more versatile in accepting connections. so what are the benefits to plastic again?
See above. It's inconsequential. The "benefit" that those metal clamps provide in metal boxes never materialize in the real world, with cable behind drywall, stapled to studs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by seephor View Post
My rant has to do with the constant cheapening of building materials. This included things like OSB, lightweight drywall, dimensional lumber, PEX, Sharkbite push connectors, etc. there’s a trend towards lighter, faster, requiring less labor at the expense of reliability/durability and I would argue safety as well when it comes to electrical.

You just mentioned some awful useful building materials. While cost is a factor, sometimes at the expense of quality, sometimes lighter, faster, requiring less labor are great benefits. I can think of many examples in real life where lighter and faster are better, and usually cost more, not less - for good reason.
Ideally I would love for my house to be ICF construction. If wood were my only option, I would choose 2x8 for the walls. More room for insulation and much easier to run plumbing and other things through the walls. 2x12 is overkill and you run into diminishing returns at that point.
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Unread 04-25-2019, 05:59 PM   #27
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Someone once told me if you want to know who makes the best tools, look at tool rental facilities to see why they use. If you want to know the best construction methods and materials, look at commercial and industrial standards and if you want to know the best safety standards, look at hospitals and commercial medical.
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Unread 04-25-2019, 06:00 PM   #28
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Re: Why the downgrade when it comes to residential electrical code


Quote:
Originally Posted by seephor View Post
If wood were my only option, I would choose 2x8 for the walls.

Sure if it was free, but it isnít is it?




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Unread 04-25-2019, 06:05 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curiousB View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by seephor View Post
If wood were my only option, I would choose 2x8 for the walls.

Sure if it was free, but it isn’t is it?




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The added expense of the lumber and insulation for 2x8 walls will quickly be recouped by the energy savings. Waaaaay faster than solar which is a scam depending on how you obtain it.
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Unread 04-26-2019, 06:30 AM   #30
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Re: Why the downgrade when it comes to residential electrical code


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The added expense of the lumber and insulation for 2x8 walls will quickly be recouped by the energy savings.

This is opinion. At some level of insulation, you reach a point of diminishing return.

But if someone really wanted to know, they could do the heat loss calculations for both types of construction, then the cost to heat and or cool for both, and lastly compare to the increased cost of materials.
They might be surprised at the ROI number!
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