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NEC Quiz: Article 406, Part 3 Answers

by Mark Lamendola

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  1. Receptacle faces must be flush with, or project from, faceplates of insulating material 406.5(D).

  2. It can't be face-up [406.5(E)]. The same is true of seating areas [406.5(F)]. The reason should be obvious. You want liquids to spill into those receptacles. We often handle liquids on countertops, and of course seated people may be drinking a beverage.

  3. The faceplate must cover the opening and be flush against the mounting surface [406.6]. This doesn't mean tighten down the screws and bend the thing back if the receptacle sticks out too far. Properly align the receptacle, using its mounting tabs (bend them or use spacers) and if this is not sufficient for proper distance you'll need to open the wall and remount the box.

  4. An outdoor receptacle installed in a location where it's protected from the weather still requires a special enclosure that is weatherproof when the receptacle is not in use [406.9(A)]. This is considered a damp location, and damp location rules apply. But will your cousin ever use the garden hose to wash down this porch? Then treat it as a wet location and apply the rules of 406.9(B).
  5. This is a trick question. You cannot install a receptacle above a tub [406.9(C). The idea behind this rule is you plug things into receptacles. So something that's plugged in could fall into the tub. Bathrooms are notoriously under-receptacled and under-lit, at least in residential applications. For the conscientious home builder or renovation designer, the solution is to lay out the bathroom so that people can do things away from the sink and away from the tub.

    A sinkless vanity, for example, with a duplex receptacle on either side of it. Yes, bathroom space is often tight in median-priced or lower homes but in upscale homes there is usually plenty of room to make the bathroom take into consideration the 1950s are long behind us. Hair dryers, curling irons, body shavers, and a host of other appliances do not need a sink.

    Around the sink (or maybe more than one sink), the typical homeowner may have two dental flossers (his and hers) in the master bathroom and those alone use up the standard single duplex receptacle. Not that all the appliances must be plugged in at the same time, but many of them will be; to charge batteries or just for convenience. Why encourage people to use extension cords and surge strips when you can simply make the bathroom receptacle scheme make sense?



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How the NEC is arranged

  1. The first four Chapters of the NEC apply to all installations.
  2. Article 90 precedes Chapter One, and establishes the authority of the NEC.
  3. Article 80 follows the body of the NEC; it exists as Annex H. It provides the requirements for administration.
  4. Chapters 5, 6, and 7 are the "special" chapters, covering special: occupancies, equipment, and conditions (in that order).
  5. Chapter 8 provides the requirements for communications systems.
  6. Chapter 9 provides tables.
  7. The appendices provide mostly reference information.
  8. Appendix D contains examples that every NEC user should study.

Try your NEC moxy:

  • Do you know the difference between bonding and grounding? Hint: Look in the NEC, Article 100.
  • Does the NEC refer to grounding incorrectly in any of its articles? Yes! So be careful to apply the Article 100 definitions. Don't ground where you should bond.
  • When doing motor load calculations, which Article covers hermetic motors? Answer: While Article 440 covers the application of hermetic motors, it does so only by amending Article 430 because hermetic motors are a special case of motors. For motor load calculations, refer to Article 430.
  • Does the NEC provide a voltage drop requirement? Yes! It does so in a special case, which is Article 648 Sensitive Electronic Equipment. But for general applications, it does not provide a requirement; it merely provides a recommendation in a couple of FPNs.
  • Take our Code Quizzes.

Remember other applicable codes, rules, standards, and references:

  • OSHA's electrical worker safety rules.
  • IEEE standards.
  • NETA standards.
  • NFPA standards.
  • International Codes (if applicable to the installation).
  • State Codes (if the state has them).
  • Local ordinances and permit requirements.
  • Local fire codes.
  • Manufacturer requirements or guidelines.
  • Customer security requirements.
  • Industry standards.
  • Your company's own internal standards, practices, and procedures.
  • Engineering drawing notes.



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