Extension Cords and NEC

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dema

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
My customer has a work space consisting of tables with electrical equipment on them. The equipment is to make various signage. The open space also includes plotters and other equipment. Most of this equipment is cord and plug. Much of it will unplug from the devices themselves. The space is basically a warehouse.

The owner wishes to place receptacles on the walls and chip out troughs with a grill cover for the extension cords. This violates NEC 400.8. His use does match 400.7 (A) (6) and also in most cases (8).

His thought is that providing a trough in the floor is a lot better than tripping over extension cords.

I suggested overhead cord reels - some of the outlets are 50A so he would need to permanently attach an outlet.

I understand the reason that extension cords can't be fed through walls and floors. I also understand that in this case he is trying to improve a situation and his non-code compliant "solution" would improve a bad situation.

Any wisdom out there for this issue?

Thank you.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Not a violation IMO.

400.8 Uses Not Permitted. Unless specifically permitted
in 400.7, flexible cords and cables shall not be used for the
following:
(2) Where run through holes in walls, structural ceilings,
suspended ceilings, dropped ceilings, or floors

A trough is not a hole, and you are not running through the floor. The cord is in the floor.

I am not sure it is that great of an idea. Why not just put outlets in the floor trough and get rid of the extension cords?
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
In my opinion it is using cord as a substitute for a chapter 3 wiring method and that is an NEC violation.

In my area the first fire department inspection would result in the cords being removed.
 

dema

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
Thank you

Thank you

They won't use overhead wiring - for good reasons I guess, they wave signs around moving them from table to table. I let them know what the code said, put the receptacles on the wall and called it a day. I show no trough on my drawings. Thank you for your help.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
I don't see how any extension cord is ever a substitute for the premises wiring. It is attached to the premises wiring, but so is everything else that is plugged in, so I don't see it as a NEC violation.

They may violate some other code, or present a hazard in some other way, so they may not be desirable, but not a NEC violation.
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
Location
Michigan. It's a beautiful peninsula, I've looked
Occupation
Electrician
I don't see how any extension cord is ever a substitute for the premises wiring. It is attached to the premises wiring, but so is everything else that is plugged in, so I don't see it as a NEC violation.

They may violate some other code, or present a hazard in some other way, so they may not be desirable, but not a NEC violation.

Here is one example. A house loses it's power to several receptacles. Rather than troubleshoot and repair the problem, extension cords are used to power the devices that would otherwise have been plugged into the now non functioning receptacles. The extension cords are being substituted for the premises wiring for that failed circuit section.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I don't see how any extension cord is ever a substitute for the premises wiring. It is attached to the premises wiring, but so is everything else that is plugged in, so I don't see it as a NEC violation.

They may violate some other code, or present a hazard in some other way, so they may not be desirable, but not a NEC violation.

Well your view is certainly not held by the local FDs nor electrical inspectors.

Cords are for temporary use, 90 days
 

mwm1752

Senior Member
Location
Aspen, Colo
Well your view is certainly not held by the local FDs nor electrical inspectors.

Cords are for temporary use, 90 days

plugging in an extension cord to utilize or test portable electrical equipment (drill-tablesaw- table lamp) is not an issue - put cable rams down & unplug them after 90 days for ten minutes. They are not part of the branch ciruit if they have a cord cap disconnecting means IMO
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
plugging in an extension cord to utilize or test portable electrical equipment (drill-tablesaw- table lamp) is not an issue - put cable rams down & unplug them after 90 days for ten minutes. They are not part of the branch ciruit if they have a cord cap disconnecting means IMO

Laugh out loud for real.

Do what you want, I am just telling you how it is here.
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
I don't see how any extension cord is ever a substitute for the premises wiring. It is attached to the premises wiring, but so is everything else that is plugged in, so I don't see it as a NEC violation.
This is going to be one of those rare occasions in which I agree with Bob (Iwire). :happyyes:


I think the basic concept behind the rule is this: If you are working in one location (say with a power tool, or maybe you are simply using a reading lamp close to a chair), and if in order to plug your electric thingy into a receptacle you need to use an extension cord (i.e., because the nearest receptacle is further away than the thingy's cord can reach), then what should happen is that you have another receptacle installed closer to your work location. If you continue to use an extension cord instead, then the extension cord is a substitute for the premises wiring device that you have chosen not to install.
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Placerville, CA, USA
Occupation
Retired PV System Designer
This is going to be one of those rare occasions in which I agree with Bob (Iwire). :happyyes:


I think the basic concept behind the rule is this: If you are working in one location (say with a power tool, or maybe you are simply using a reading lamp close to a chair), and if in order to plug your electric thingy into a receptacle you need to use an extension cord (i.e., because the nearest receptacle is further away than the thingy's cord can reach), then what should happen is that you have another receptacle installed closer to your work location. If you continue to use an extension cord instead, then the extension cord is a substitute for the premises wiring device that you have chosen not to install.

I am not saying you are wrong in any way, but the trend these days is for appliances, even many portable appliances and tools, to have such a short built in cord that you have to use an extension cord. I guess the result is that these devices cannot be used where they are routinely or permanently connected in the same place.
For cooking devices, I can see the short cord being compatible with a set of properly spaced countertop receptacles, so those are not a concern.
Except that you then cannot use them on a table or desk, only on a countertop.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I am not saying you are wrong in any way, but the trend these days is for appliances, even many portable appliances and tools,

I have not noticed this trend in the least.

I think most appliances have either a 6' or 2' cords for home kitchen appliances. I believe this is a coordinated issue between UL and the NEC.

Obviously extension cords are needed and fine in many instances but the AHJs (around my area) won't let them become permanent.

I have spent many hours at night adding fixed wiring methods in businesses after insurance or fire department inspections.
 
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