Electric Code


Old 12-10-04, 10:14 AM
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Electric Code

Is there some place I can get a copy of the codes for residential work without having to buy the NEC?

I would much rather have my handyman wiring comply with the code than do what I think is right or find in the fixit books at B&N.

It seems odd to me that such an important topic is only available by paying for it.

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Old 12-10-04, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
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I agree, sort of, that such an important book costs so much when it contains such vast information that is unrelated to residential. It would be good indeed if you could find an edition that was carefully gone through to separate out everything that does not pertain to residential and offer it at a reduced price. At the same time, the NEC requires an awful lot of work and is constantly under revision. A new edition comes out every 3 years, and the effort has to be expensive.

I work in electrical engineering, so the ffull NEC Handbook ($65.00) and always at my right hand. I do mostly industrial and municipal design work and I use practically the whole thing, including the ability to take it home when I am doing my own wiring. Every three years my company buys us the latest edition, so I get quite a deal on mine (free).

At Borders I found the complete NEC for $51.95 a couple years ago. For $28.95 I saw a book "House Wiring with the NEC", by Ray C. Mullin, from Delmar Publishers. He seems to have done just about what I described above, and did a pretty decent job, I thought.

Hope that helps.

Old 12-10-04, 10:30 AM
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Ever heard of library? The books there are free and I know they have the NEC.

In my opinion, 70 bucks is small investement for a great wealth of knowlege. However, they do sell a book called "The guide to the 20XX NEC" which has pictures to associate what the NEC is telling you to an application. I have a background in reading fairly technical books so I'm used to it. But I could see where it would be frustrating to read without a good example right next to it.

There are also many, many basic wiring books available. The reason why the NEC is paid for is that it is expected a normal private resident does not have the neccessary knowlege or skill sets to take on electrical work, thereby, the NEC is more available to a proffessional. The rules for liscensing are built to protect you, your property, and surrounding properties from damage and/or death.

Since we all know you can DIY, (and with much personal satisfaction I might add)...

I think of it like this: If someone is unwilling to take the appropriate avenues to obtain the subject matter, how dedicated will they be to upholding the rules for safety's sake even when they may disagree on the severity of the rule? After all, unless adopted by your local regs, the NEC is just a book of suggestions. So, if isn't law (unless city govn't makes it), are you willing to follow it even if it costs you more time? money? trials and tribulations?

I'm not trying to say this apply's to your situation. This is just my opion of why I think that the book is not sold in HD, LWES, MENRDS, etc.... Obviously the NEC is a business venture as well, and publishers are going to want to make their money back plus some.
Old 12-10-04, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
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For $6, you can buy the green paperback Wiring Simplified in the electrical aisle at Home Depot. It's not the NEC, but it covers 95% of the codes that a homeowner is likely to need, and it's much easier to read and the likelihood of a misunderstanding is much less. Only the most complex projects will require more.

The problem with the NEC is that it's easy to get into trouble if you just read pieces here and there. If you buy the NEC, you should read it all. Probably more than once since you won't understand it the first time.
Old 12-10-04, 11:27 AM
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The problem with segmenting the NEC into homeowner's and commercial application, is that many of the sections are interleaved with each other. Since the book is supposed to be a standard, it would be difficult if person A was reading the Home Use and person B was citing from a commercial application of home construction.

I agree John. Reading the (2002) NEC in segments is probably not the best idea, but it is better than nothing and better than reading some of the obscure refrences in wiring books that say "kinda sorta" about the code.

Not all of it applys to residential use and reading it in its entirety is ridiculous for a diyer... The sections that I think are important for a diyer appliaction are: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 (Except Cablebus) Chapter 4 (60% of that applies), ch5:527,547,551-555 (where applicable). And the rest of it on a need basis (ex. you need to know about pools, look in 680, you need to know about photovoltaic read 690,etc..) Chapter 7: fire alarms/security systems (where applicable). Chapter 8 if you need to know low voltage stuff.

Obviously for master electricans/journeymen they need to have a comprehensive knowlege.

Now wether or not you understand it is a totally different issue. While I know I don't know everything, I can graps the finer points of the NEC and how they apply to me and my surroundings. The trick in the industry is to know *how* it affects you in any situation you find yourself in. That is the difference between diying and pro work in my experience (on a residential level).
Old 12-10-04, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Chicago
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You guys are complaining about a $65 doller NEC book? The Chicago electrical code book I have to buy pretty much almost every year cost $180..
Old 12-10-04, 12:41 PM
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Location: Anderson, IN
Posts: 412
I seem to remember that a paperback version of the NEC was only $30 at the electrical supply house. If i wanted a hardcover version of the NEC Handbook, then it was approximately $65.
Old 12-10-04, 12:56 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
Posts: 1,052
No, no. I am not complaining about a $65 book. I can see where the rank and file homeowner who does a little electrical once in awhile would think that's an awful lot for something he/she will only use once in a great while. But I'm sure that to the electrical professional it's a smalll price to pay to be correct, and it is also indispensable so there's no point in even thinking about the price. For that matter, when you think of your DIY work possibly hurting somebody or starting a fire, you'd probably also think $65 is a small price to pay to safegaurd against it. For the very occasional user, though, SkyKing's suggestion to visit the library makes a lot of sense.

And Trinitro, my condolences on that Chicago Code price tag! Ouch!

Old 12-10-04, 02:17 PM
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Try the NECŪ 2002 Pocket Guide to Electrical Installations Volume 1: Residential @ www.nfpa.org
Old 12-10-04, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by scott e.
I seem to remember that a paperback version of the NEC was only $30 at the electrical supply house. If i wanted a hardcover version of the NEC Handbook, then it was approximately $65.
What year are we talking about Scott?
The NEC, even paperback, hasn't been in the $30's for quite a few years. It's been around $60 for a while now. The red book is $65 and the yellow (handbook) is $120.
I want the handbook bound and on CD. The freakin' CD alone is is $170! For one CD!
The IAEI offers a package for $250 which is a great deal. Problem is my area is in such limbo as to what code cycle it will go by I have to wait and see if I am spending my money foolishly.
Old 12-10-04, 06:00 PM
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Location: California
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Go to the link below (half.com) and type in the search "National Electrical Code". Prices range from $1.75 (1996 edition) to $26.00 for the 2002 version and more...

Old 12-10-04, 07:59 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Anderson, IN
Posts: 412
I think that it was 1999. I need to get the new Handbook, but I just haven't gotten the initiative yet.

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