Please comment on my DIY electrical work


  #1  
Old 05-31-19, 06:27 PM
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Please comment on my DIY electrical work

Both my father and grandfather were IBEW electricians. Both are now deceased, and I feel a bit of a connection with my past while working with this stuff. I'm an electrical engineer (electronics) by trade, and so am not utterly clueless in this area. Cheesy stuff aside, I've now got my first DIY job that I need to have an inspector out for. I have used the book "Wiring Simplified (45th edition)," (Hartwell et al, https://wiringsimplified.com/WS/wiring.html) for general reference. My local inspectors are inspecting straight to NEC 2017, which simplifies things.

I've done four things per below that I ask you to review. Besides the specific questions I ask, I'm also hoping for comments on likely pitfalls and errors. There's a very strong chance I'll need to undo, correct, and redo some work. I consider this wasted effort an acceptable cost (see first two sentences).
  • 1) I replaced a dining room chandelier with a ceiling fan by expanding the drywall cutout, removing the light box, and adding an old-work ceiling fan rated box, model RACO 1-Gang #936 available at Lowe's. I followed the instructions for installing the box, and was careful to leave 1/4in of Romex sheath inside the box before clamping. I needed to switch knockouts on the retrofit box during the install, and so one is open. I likely need to fill this hole, which I realized after the fact. Do I need to fill this hole? If yes, can I fill this hole without taking the fan down and removing the box? If so, how?
  • 2) I replaced a combination bathroom exhaust fan and light with a newer, larger model. The new model is Nutone AERN100SN available at Home Depot. It is IC rated. I had to cutout some drywall to accommodate the new unit. Likewise, I had to remove one of the two metal mounting hangars used by the old unit, as the slot between them was too narrow. (Clarity: the old unit was hung between two metal brackets. I removed one.) I mounted one side of the new unit to the remaining mounting hangar. The other side of the new unit has fold-out tabs for "clamping" onto 1/2in drywall, and I made use of them. To bolster those tabs, I placed a small piece of lightweight wood above the drywall and screwed the light into that wood using existing mounting holes (effectively forming a clamp on the drywall). This method of mounting the fixture is not specifically endorsed by the fixture's instruction manual. The supply-side Romex cable enters this fixture as one cable in a duplex 3/8" clamp (Sigma Electric 49630, available at Lowes).
  • 3) I added a recessed LED kit above a shower in the same bathroom as the previous item. It's Lithonia model LK3BMW LED M4 available at Home Depot, both damp and IC rated. This is a retrofit kit, and is not mounted to anything except for fold-out tabs which clamp onto the ceiling drywall. The area above this lamp is narrow, with only about ~8in clearance to the building's roof. To wire this light, I used 14/2 romex run along an attic 2x4. The wire is towards the center of the 2/4 and held in place with plastic staples (the white type for NM cable with two small nails) every few feet and within 12inches of the fixtures. The wire enters the fixture mentioned in the preceding paragraph (#3 above) as the second wire in the duplex 3/8" clamp. The conductors are connected via wire nuts inside that fixture's wiring panel such that both lights operate together. Is it OK to use the fixture's rather spacious wiring panel for this connection, or do I need to add a junction box above the fixture in the attic? How much slack should I leave in this new wire run? (Currently there is likely an excess; trimming may be necessary.)
  • 4) Combination AFCI/GFCI breakers are on-order, arriving June 7th. They're sized (both physically and by ampacity) to replace the breakers which exist today on the circuits I touched in the work above. It is my understanding that this work cannot pass inspection until these new breakers are installed. Is this accurate?
 
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Old 05-31-19, 07:13 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

1) It looks like the Raco 936 fan box uses all 1/2" KO's. I don't see any clamps in that box. If you need to fill a 1/2" KO.... you can get metal plugs that snap in from either direction. If you have no access from above.... you'll need to take the fan down.

2) Typically when you replace a fan or fan/light combo you remove all the old brackets. Usually the fan fits tight to a stud and you add a piece of wood to the opposite side so it sounds like what you did should be ok. It needs to be solid. If it is.... I don't see a major issue. Most RX connectors can take two cables.

3) That's called an old work fixture as it's installed from below. Your wiring sounds correct.

4) The fan/light doesn't need to be GFI protected unless it's inside the footprint of the tub. The shower light only needs GFI protection if the manufacturer requires it. It sounds like you are putting the entire bathroom on GFI/AFI circuit breaker which is ok but if it trips there will be no light.

Here's a thread where this is well discussed.... bathroom-lights-required-gfci-protected.
 
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Old 05-31-19, 09:59 PM
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Thanks for responding, PJmax.

Regarding your responses to #2 and #3, thanks. As for #1 and #4, I need some further clarification (but still thanks):

Originally Posted by PJmax
1)... you can get metal plugs that snap in from either direction. If you have no access from above.... you'll need to take the fan down.
I agree that I can buy metal plugs, but if those plugs can be snapped-in from either direction, why would I need to take the fan down? I'm assuming that by "metal plug" you mean something like this: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Sigma-Elect...itting/1100023

EDIT a few hours later:
I think I understand the point of confusion between us. The fan in question is not a flush mount fan, but is rather on a 1ft downrod. Thus the actual connections made in the box are minimal. This, combined with the fact that the downrod hangs from a protruding decorative hangar, will allow me to put a knockout plug in place without unmounting the fan.

Originally Posted by PJmax
4) The fan/light doesn't need to be GFI protected unless it's inside the footprint of the tub. The shower light only needs GFI protection if the manufacturer requires it. It sounds like you are putting the entire bathroom on GFI/AFI circuit breaker which is ok but if it trips there will be no light
My understanding is that the requirement is less about the need to protect bathrooms from ground faults and more about the NEC 2017 sec 210.12(D) requirement that all modified circuits be retrofitted with an AFCI.

(The AFCI+GFCI breakers cost about $1.25/more per unit than the AFCI-only breakers; I consider it the better value. In my installation, it's primarily the AFI function that I care about.)

Originally Posted by 2017NEC
210.12(D) Branch Circuit Extensions or Modifications — Dwelling Units and Dormitory Units. In any of the areas specified in 210.12(A) or (B), where branch-circuit wiring is modified, replaced, or extended, the branch circuit shall be protected
Actually, my non-expert reading of section 210.12(D) does *not* seem to specifically require AFCI retrofits for bathroom work. This because 210.12(D) makes reference only to 210.12(A), and 210.12(A) does not call out bathrooms specifically, but rather only a generic "or similar rooms." I'll just assume a bathroom is a similar room and throw an AFCI on it.
 

Last edited by fcqer; 05-31-19 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 06-03-19, 10:58 AM
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PJmax, thanks again for responding. My work passed inspection on the inspector's first site visit this morning.
 
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Old 06-03-19, 01:05 PM
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Wet areas need at a minimum... GFI protection so GFI/AFCI protection is good.

Good job on the pass.
 
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Old 06-03-19, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by 2017NEC
210.12(D) Branch Circuit Extensions or Modifications — Dwelling Units and Dormitory Units. In any of the areas specified in 210.12(A) or (B), where branch-circuit wiring is modified, replaced, or extended, the branch circuit shall be protected
It is great that you passed as you went above and beyond NEC requirements. You read the above part of the code but you didn't read the exceptions.
 
 

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