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220volt, 30amp - 10/2 wire running on the outside of sheetrock?

220volt, 30amp - 10/2 wire running on the outside of sheetrock?

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  #1  
Old 01-26-05, 08:12 AM
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220volt, 30amp - 10/2 wire running on the outside of sheetrock?

I just installed a 220volt, 30 amp electric heater in the garage. The heater required a 30 amp breaker and 10/2 wire (this is the right size correct?)..
anyhow, my breaker box is in the corner of my garage and it's a recessed panel. So I opened it up, cut about a foot of the sheetrock above the box to access the top of the box where the wires come in, then I took my 10/2 wire and hooked it up to my 30 amp breaker. I didn't want to run the 10/2 wire behind the sheetrock so I just punched a hole in the sheetrock above the panel and ran the 10/2 wire out of the hole along about 2 feet of my sheetrock and then right into a metal electrical box that I mounted on the outside of the sheetrock. This is where my recepticle is that I plug my electric heater into..

I was just wondering a couple things..

1.) Was this safe to have the 10/2 wire running on the outside of the sheetrock exposed to the garage?

2.) Is it legal to have the 220 volt heater recepticle mounted in an electrical box only 2 feet to the right of my panel? the receptical box is one that just screws onto the outside of the sheetrock, it is not recessed into the sheetrock..

3.) Is it okay to turn the heater on and off using the 30 amp breaker switch in the box that I installed?

Thanks a lot!
 
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  #2  
Old 01-26-05, 08:18 AM
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1) No, it's not safe. It's not code. It's not right. It's not that hard to do it right, so I recommend it. Keep the cable behind the drywall. Besides, doesn't it look just plain goofy, even to you? And when it comes time to sell your house, won't the prospective buyer see this and wonder what other strange things he might be walking into?

2) Yes, that's okay.

3) If the breaker is rated to be used as a switch, and most are, then it's okay.
 
  #3  
Old 01-26-05, 09:28 AM
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1.) I know it looks sorta funny, but what is not safe about it? I mean whether it is inside or outside the wall it's doing the same thing and is still touching the same sheetrock?

3.) About the breaker, it's a 30 amp breaker for a 'Square D' 200 amp service electrical panel... do you think it's rated to be used as a switch?
I just feel better turning the breaker off for the heater when I am not using the heater because the heater sits next to my garage door and I am afraid that if it's raining or snowing outside, and some blows into the heater, that this might cause a problem. The heater recepticle is NOT GFI... I don't think they make GFI recepticles for my heater..
 
  #4  
Old 01-26-05, 09:40 AM
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1) The safety factor comes into play in that the exposed cable is more vulnerable to physical damage. Of course it makes no difference unless it is physically damaged, but then again the seat belt in your car makes no difference unless you get into an accident. Even if you are not worried about the safety issues, you should be trying for a code-compliant installation, especially when it's not much harder than a code-violating installation.

3) See if the breaker is marked "SWD" (switching duty).
 
  #5  
Old 01-26-05, 10:12 AM
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What makes it exposed to physical damage?

Originally Posted by John Nelson
1) The safety factor comes into play in that the exposed cable is more vulnerable to physical damage. Of course it makes no difference unless it is physically damaged, but then again the seat belt in your car makes no difference unless you get into an accident. Even if you are not worried about the safety issues, you should be trying for a code-compliant installation, especially when it's not much harder than a code-violating installation.

3) See if the breaker is marked "SWD" (switching duty).
The code specifically alows NM as exposed wiring.

334.10 Uses Permitted.
Type NM, Type NMC, and Type NMS cables shall be permitted to be used in the following:
(1) One- and two-family dwellings.
...
(A) Type NM. Type NM cable shall be permitted as follows:
(1) For both exposed and concealed work in normally dry locations except as prohibited in 334.10(3).

Since 334.10(1) covers one and two family dwellings 334.10(3) does not apply.

334.15 Exposed Work.
In exposed work, except as provided in 300.11(A), the cable shall be installed as specified in 334.15(A) through (C).
(A) To Follow Surface. The cable shall closely follow the surface of the building finish or of running boards.
(B) Protection from Physical Damage. The cable shall be protected from physical damage where necessary by conduit, electrical metallic tubing, Schedule 80 PVC rigid nonmetallic conduit, pipe, guard strips, listed surface metal or nonmetallic raceway, or other means. Where passing through a floor, the cable shall be enclosed in rigid metal conduit, intermediate metal conduit, electrical metallic tubing, Schedule 80 PVC rigid nonmetallic conduit, listed surface metal or nonmetallic raceway, or other metal pipe extending at least 150 mm (6 in.) above the floor.

Is it the fact that it is in a garage that makes you assume that it neads protection from physical damage?
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  #6  
Old 01-26-05, 11:36 AM
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Protection from physical damage is a very subjective phrase and not precisely defined in the NEC. So the only thing we have to go on is anecdotal evidence of how this clause is enforced by most inspectors. Of course I can't see the installation in this specific case, but it is my experience that most electrical inspectors (and home inspectors too) would flag this one. You might possible get away with it if it was 12 feet off the floor, or if there were other mitigating factors. There may indeed be mitigating factors in this situation, but it doesn't seem like it from what I've read so far. And even if a close call, it's pretty easy to remedy so why not?
 
  #7  
Old 01-26-05, 11:38 AM
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1.) okay let me get this straight, so it IS LEGAL now to have the cable exposed and running along the outside sheetrock in the garage?

2.) About the switching breaker, wouldn't all breakers be switchable? I mean what would make one breaker not switchable and another switchable? is there a danger in using a non-switchable breaker as a switch? I just don't get what could be bad about this? the breaker is meant to pop and for you to turn it on and off when needed, so who cares how many times you turn it on and off and in what time period you do so...
 
  #8  
Old 01-26-05, 11:40 AM
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is the 10/2 cable I ran NM cable? I don't know what that means...
 
  #9  
Old 01-26-05, 11:57 AM
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Check the label

Originally Posted by squale
is the 10/2 cable I ran NM cable? I don't know what that means...
If the jacket is plastic then the type of cable can be read on the jacket every two feet of it's length.
--

Tom H
 
  #10  
Old 01-26-05, 12:00 PM
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1) The answer is maybe. You have to see it to make the final call. Or, more precisely, your inspector has to see it to make the final call. I will only say that it is usually not acceptable.

2) SWD breakers don't break if switched a lot. Breakers that aren't SWD won't hold up to a lot of switching and aren't designed to be turned on and off on a regular basis.
 
  #11  
Old 01-26-05, 01:59 PM
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Any breaker can be used as a switch with only two special requirements that don't apply to a fixed electric space heater.

Circuit breakers used to switch 120 or 277 Volt fluorescent lighting circuits must be SWD(or HID) rated.

Circuit breakers used to switch high-intesity discharge lighting circuits must be HID rated.

All other load types need not be marked or listed as SWD or HID.

For reference see 240.83(D)
 
  #12  
Old 01-26-05, 02:06 PM
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Thanks for the clarification Bolted.
 
  #13  
Old 01-26-05, 02:15 PM
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so I guess I doesn't matter now even if my 30 amp breaker is NOT marked as SWD it's still perfectly fine to use it as my heaters on/off switch... cool...
 
  #14  
Old 01-26-05, 03:20 PM
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Doesn't your heater have a built-in switch or thermostat?


If no thermostat or switch (I have a somewhat similar problem) could a person use a thermostat similar to what is used for a 220V baseboard heater?
Thanks
 
  #15  
Old 01-26-05, 08:45 PM
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The thermostat for a baseboard heater is responsive to air temperature. The one you need for a water heater is for water temperature and has a sensing probe that is screwed into the jacket of the tank.
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  #16  
Old 01-27-05, 05:01 AM
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Around here this is what inspectors expct to see. As 340.12 (10) states not permitted wher subject to physical damage. In an unfinished garage or outbuilding, the cable is allowed to be run down the side of the stud, if its run horizontally through the studs it is required to be shielded by a 3/4 board or strip of metal. Generally, when the cable crosses an open space it should be protected or be 8' or more off the floor. In a finished garage the cable will not be exposed. Why don't you just install an old-work box above the panel? Will the heater cord reach?
 
  #17  
Old 01-27-05, 05:09 AM
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John Nelson, It is interesting how inspectors apply the protecton from physical damage clause. Some inspectors won't allow #6 wire to be run to a ground rod unless its sheathed. One county around here won't let you run PVC outside unless it's sch 80. I can attest that sch 40 PVC, esp in smaller sizes, is quickly cut with a weedeater. All work is expected to be down in a neat, workmanship manner.
 
  #18  
Old 01-27-05, 07:43 AM
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what is an old workbox?
 

Last edited by John Nelson; 01-27-05 at 11:38 AM.
  #19  
Old 01-27-05, 11:39 AM
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An "old-work" box is an electrical box which can be installed in a wall after it is finished. It has "ears" that clamp on to the drywall rather than being nailed to a stud.
 
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