recessed light wiring in attic not to code

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Old 12-03-12, 09:25 AM
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recessed light wiring in attic not to code

I recently had an electrician install 6 or so recessed lights (or pot lights) in our insulated attic. I checked out the job he did and there were at least one code violation and maybe a couple more.

The first thing is that the light type wasn't IC or rated for contact with insulation. I'm going to correct this by replacing the fixtures with IC-type.

The 2 other things I had a question about whether they are legal.

1. He ran the NM cable across the bottom member of the roof trusses kind of all over the place and didn't support with running boards. They are just strung from light to light. Also, they are not perpendicular or parallel to the framing, but are running at odd angles from light to light. Is this legal? I was thinking of adding 1x4 running boards underneath the wiring so that it is supported.

2. He ran the wiring from an existing junction box that looks like it is overcrowded with wires. Can someone point me to the formula for determining how many wires can be inside a box? Also, the box has no cover on it. Does the box in the attic (so it's accessible) need to have a cover on it?

thanks in advance!
 
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Old 12-03-12, 09:49 AM
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How do you know that the cans are not IC rated? It is hard to tell an IC rated can from a non IC rated can without looking at the label. The exception is 4" as they do not make 4" IC remodel cans.

1) If the wire was fished, it is not required to be strapped. Running boards are only required if the attic is used for storage. A normal insulated attic would only need the cable protected 6' from the scuttle hole. NM-b is only required to be strapped every 4.5' and 8" from a box. Again, this is not required for fished cable.

2) Yes, all boxes are required to have covers. If the box is steel you can add an extension ring. the formula for wire count is:

Each device counts a two conductor fills.
All the grounds are counted as one conductor fill.
Internal clamps count as one conductor fill.
each wire (not grounds) count as one conductor fill.
2 cubic inch for each #14 wire
2.25 CI for each #12 wire
 
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Old 12-03-12, 10:06 AM
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thanks for the info.

The box is plastic. Can I use an extension ring if it is too crowded? Or, do I have to go with a larger box?
 
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Old 12-03-12, 10:09 AM
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Also, there was a label in the can that basically said it was not rated for insulated spaces. There were also holes in the can that allows air up into the unheated attic and lets cellulose insulation fall down into our kitchen.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 10:21 AM
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You can use a metal extension ring if the box is the proper configuration. (It needs to be a 4"x4" J box.) You must bond the box with a ground wire and ground clip.

IC cans are not necessarily air tight cans, but if the label says you must keep insulation 3" away from the can then it is not IC rated.

Is there a reason you are not getting your "electrician" back to do the job properly? I am guessing they are not a licensed electrical contractor and no permit was pulled?
 
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Old 12-03-12, 10:53 AM
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Suprisingly, the electrician was licensed and seemed legit. My wife arranged for the work to be done, and he did not pull a permit, which was a red flag for me and was why I scrutinzed the work. I suspect he only had non-IC fixtures on him, and he just wanted to do the job quickly and make the money.

So, since he didn't do the job right in the first place, I didn't want to call him back.

I do appreciate all the help. Thanks much.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 11:13 AM
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Sadly the cost difference between IC and non-IC is only a few bucks so it is not like he is dancing to the bank. I understand how you feel about not calling him back. I hate it when people do shoddy work.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 11:37 AM
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>>Each device counts a two conductor fills.
>>All the grounds are counted as one conductor fill.
>>Internal clamps count as one conductor fill.
>>each wire (not grounds) count as one conductor fill.
>>2 cubic inch for each #14 wire
>>2.25 CI for each #12 wire

Do you have to add anything for wire nuts?
How do you convert the "conductor fill" count to cubic inch? For ex., if you had 2 14-2 NM cables into the box, and 2 internal clamps, that would be 4 #14 wires + 2 ground wires + 2 clamps = 4 x 2 cu.in. + 3 conductor fills. How do you combine conductor fills into the cubic inch total?
 
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Old 12-03-12, 11:51 AM
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Nothing is added for wirenuts. Conductor fill is how much space is required for that wire/item. So 1 #14 wire is required to have 2 cubic inches of space in a box.

In your example of 2 14/2 NM cables with 2 internal clamps it would be:
4 - #14 wires = 8 (2.00x4)
1 for ALL the grounds = 2.00
1 for all the clamps = 2.00
Total 12 cubic inches

You box would need to be 12 cubic inches or larger. The cubic inch capacity of a box will marked on the box inside unless it is a "standard" box, which is listed in the code book. All plastic boxes I have seen have the CI marked in the box.
 
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Old 12-03-12, 11:52 AM
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Now that I think about it, I guess "conductor fill" means you add the equivalent cu.in. for one wire.

Does the wire need support within 8" of the light fixture as well as the J-box?

If I add staples to meet the 4.5' requirement, can I staple it to the top of the horizontal truss member?
 
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Old 12-03-12, 11:58 AM
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Does the wire need support within 8" of the light fixture as well as the J-box?
Sorry, I mistakenly typed 8" from a box, it is 12". Yes, it is required to support/secure the cable 12" from a box, including lights fixtures/cans, and every 4.5' along the run. Fished cables are not required to be stapled.

If I add staples to meet the 4.5' requirement, can I staple it to the top of the horizontal truss member?
Yes, securing to the top of the truss (or any part for that matter) is fine. Just so they are not subject to damage.
 
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