Torque for receptacles and switches

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
Its enforceable, I’ve had to prove breakers where torqued by retorting in the presence of an inspector/EE. If we know that the torque is going to be inspected, we will only leave lugs finger tip tight, and actually do the torquing in front of inspector and also mark lug as torqued
How is that enforceable? You torque one device in the presence of the inspector and tell him, yeah, I did them all the same. About all they can check is that you own a torque screwdriver and know how to use it.

I also can't believe most inspectors workloads are so light that they have the time to stand there and watch you torque a whole panel.

-Hal
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
If they make torquing part of the tradesman licensing process, they shouldn't need to watch.
They want you to take tests to prove you know what you are doing. They want you to take CEU's to make sure you keep learning about what you are doing. But they still don't trust you and want to see everything you do.

Nothing wrong with a second set of eyes to come through and look over things, sometimes they catch things that simply were missed. But wanting to witness of tightening of every connection is ridiculous. Some really large projects could result in needing multiple inspectors being there on a near full time basis at times if they want to see all those connections being made up. And even if they did that that would be boring enough task they will still miss some of what was done because they weren't paying close enough attention.

Wanting to just witness connections to breakers is also stupid. I am more concerned about what happens to a poor connection in some switch or receptacle box that is weak than in a panelboard. Usually more possibility of combustible material being nearby the switch/receptacle that can be ignited and spread the fire than there is in a panelboard.
 

mlnk

Senior Member
Discussion with inspector was regarding a new house in which some lights were blinking and a spot check showed other very loose connections. Homeowner wanted EC to tighten all receptacle and switch connections. It was agreed to allow EC to sign a statement that all connections, including lugs and circuit breakers, were torqued to factory specs after he re-tightened them all.
 

qcroanoke

Sometimes I don't know if I'm the boxer or the bag
Location
Roanoke, VA.
Occupation
Engineering
I believe the NEC section is 110.14 (D) Which gets my vote as the most violated section of the Code. BTW, some electricians think torque tools should be re-calibrated each year, but the Code just says "calibrated" which means the factory calibration certificate is all you need.
We are required by the MIL specs we work by to have all testing and measuring equipment re-calibrated once a year. They must have a tag on them and we had better to be able to provide the paperwork that says they are within spec.
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
Discussion with inspector was regarding a new house in which some lights were blinking and a spot check showed other very loose connections. Homeowner wanted EC to tighten all receptacle and switch connections. It was agreed to allow EC to sign a statement that all connections, including lugs and circuit breakers, were torqued to factory specs after he re-tightened them all.
Don't get me wrong if you leave enough clues that you don't necessarily like to follow the rules then it is fair game for them to start to look a little harder for finding things that are wrong IMO
-Hal
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
We have one customer, a major bank, that requires receptacles and switches be torqued and documented. Double custody if you have to turn anything off. Sign off sheet, and a permit from the facilities service group.
 

jvf

Member
Location
Maui
Occupation
electrician
Back stab connections, even when limited to #14 wire, have a terrible reputation. So why do Wago, or other brands of stab in splicing blocks have a good reputation? They both seem to use the same method of connection.
It’s likely that Wagos use a better (or at least stronger) design. Their DIN rail cage clamp connectors, although admittedly not the same design as the stab-ins, are killer. So, when I saw Wagos at a trade show many years ago I immediately tried them and was quite satisfied. I haven’t seen any failures yet. They also seem to grip better than the Ideals (everybody seems to be jumping on the bandwagon) but I do like the fact tha the Ideals are flat which helps the inevitable space issue.



I came upon this page looking for a discussion of torque requirements because I have a couple of concerns. When wearing my mechanic’s hat, I’m all about tightening bolts to the proper torque. I have four torque wrenches ranging from 20 in-lbs. to 250 ft-lbs. and it looks like I’ll be getting a torque screwdriver soon. However, when torquing loose lugs in a panel I’ve had them start turning and had to hold them still with pliers, etc. Also, when attempting to torque some larger junction blocks, I’ve had the hex wrench start to turn and strip the aluminum allen screw way before approaching the correct torque. For that job, I think I went and got some harder material screws. In general, it also seems difficult to tighten flat blade screws so if we have to start torquing everything I’d appreciate if UL would revise equipment listings to eliminate flat blade screws.



But, my main concern could possibly be answered by someone who had some experience torquing residential receptacles and circuit breakers. I’ve always done these by feel. When torqued to specs do the screws seem “tight enough”? My fear is that, having torqued them down I might thing they’re too loose if I tested them with a screwdriver.



Thanks,

jvf
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
It’s likely that Wagos use a better (or at least stronger) design. Their DIN rail cage clamp connectors, although admittedly not the same design as the stab-ins, are killer. So, when I saw Wagos at a trade show many years ago I immediately tried them and was quite satisfied. I haven’t seen any failures yet. They also seem to grip better than the Ideals (everybody seems to be jumping on the bandwagon) but I do like the fact tha the Ideals are flat which helps the inevitable space issue.



I came upon this page looking for a discussion of torque requirements because I have a couple of concerns. When wearing my mechanic’s hat, I’m all about tightening bolts to the proper torque. I have four torque wrenches ranging from 20 in-lbs. to 250 ft-lbs. and it looks like I’ll be getting a torque screwdriver soon. However, when torquing loose lugs in a panel I’ve had them start turning and had to hold them still with pliers, etc. Also, when attempting to torque some larger junction blocks, I’ve had the hex wrench start to turn and strip the aluminum allen screw way before approaching the correct torque. For that job, I think I went and got some harder material screws. In general, it also seems difficult to tighten flat blade screws so if we have to start torquing everything I’d appreciate if UL would revise equipment listings to eliminate flat blade screws.



But, my main concern could possibly be answered by someone who had some experience torquing residential receptacles and circuit breakers. I’ve always done these by feel. When torqued to specs do the screws seem “tight enough”? My fear is that, having torqued them down I might thing they’re too loose if I tested them with a screwdriver.



Thanks,

jvf
been 30+ years ago, but was using a torque screwdriver on an installation of several Square D NEMA starters - all size 1 or 2 as well as the breakers supplying them. All in like 20-25 in-lb range for recommended tightening torque. That is pretty fair tightening torque for a screwdriver, and was definitely more than I would have tightened them with a non torque screwdriver. Had a used a torque "wrench" at same setting it probably doesn't seem that tight though, more leverage on the handle of that type of tool.
 

jvf

Member
Location
Maui
Occupation
electrician
Sounds Hopeful. I had a lot of trouble trying to torque smaller electrical items with my ¼” torque wrench, especially straight blade screws, because the lever arm really works against applying pressure to the screw while keeping the bit aligned. So, enter the torque screwdriver. I’m looking at a Capri which has a ¼” tee handle that connects to the end which, it is said (and I believe it) helps turning the higher torque values.



jvf
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Sounds Hopeful. I had a lot of trouble trying to torque smaller electrical items with my ¼” torque wrench, especially straight blade screws, because the lever arm really works against applying pressure to the screw while keeping the bit aligned. So, enter the torque screwdriver. I’m looking at a Capri which has a ¼” tee handle that connects to the end which, it is said (and I believe it) helps turning the higher torque values.



jvf
It should. Leverage with a conventional screwdriver handle is based on radius of the handle, good chance the T handle is longer than radius of screwdriver so that means more leverage, just one more inch longer than radius of screwdriver handle will make a pretty noticeable difference on how much effort you need to put into it to get same torque on the screw you are driving, or even without torque measuring tool, makes a big difference in how easy a stuck screw is to break loose...or just break off whichever comes first :) .
 
Top