Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

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mr_breen
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Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by mr_breen » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:54 pm

I would like to add an electrical outlet to a room in my home. I have done this type of job before (cutting into my plaster wall, running the wire, adding the box, etc.) The problem I have is knowing whether the method of running the actual wire is in compliance with electrical code.

My house is very old and the room which needs a new outlet has no usable crawlspace below or attic above. In the late 1990's, I had an electrician install a new outlet into this room. It was a real challenge for him. He put a brand new 20 AMP breaker into the main panel in the basement and then ran some 12/2 UF-B Wire w/ground. He took this wire through my basement and then drilled through my basement wall and kept running the UF-B wire along the outside of my house through a series a wire anchors that he screwed into the outside wall. The wire is not visible to the eye (but still exposed to the outside elements) for the vast majority of its run as it is kind of hidden along the bottom of the outside wall. When he reached the desired outlet location, he ran it up the outside wall and drilled a hole into the room. If you want to see the work the original electrician did, here is a link to a photo of the point where the wire enters the room with the outlet:

http://i.imgur.com/iXM95ga.jpg

Note that this electrician did not use any conduit to protect this wire. So, now I want to add another outlet to this room. My plan is to use this existing wire and continue the run. So, I plan to remove this outlet and box from the wall and pull the wire through the outside wall. I will make the hole a little bigger and then put another 12/2 UF-B cable in and run it down the wall along the bottom of the house wall and then bring it back up to the point where I want my new outlet. I will use the outlet as a junction point to continue the run. So, when I am done, the hole shown in this photo will have two wires coming out of it and there will be a new hole in my wall about six feet away with one wire running into it.

So, my question is if this work now requires conduit? The guy who did the original work in the 1990s was a licensed electrician, but I imagine electrical codes do change over time. 12/2 UF-B Wire is pretty tough and it is designed to be buried. But can it be left alone on the outside of a wall? Does sunlight degrade it? Is it unsafe to have it run like this exposed? Please note that it never goes into the soil. It is just attached to the bottom of the outside wall. The main concern I would have is if someone was using a weed wacker around it. But since it does not come up from the ground, that kind of damage is unlikely I would think. This is being done in the state of PA, btw. Also, that tiny wire in photo is an old telephone cable that is no longer used.

Thanks
Last edited by mr_breen on Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sandtrap
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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:31 pm

The installation pictured is vulnerable to weather, mechanical damage, and represents liability risk for shock and fire. The cable is not anchored. There is no "J" box at entry so it is vulnerable to flex and internal conductor breakage (fire/spark/shock). And so forth.

It would be best to have run non-metallic conduit from the exit point of the basement to the exterior and then to all entry points into the home. The points of penetration as well as all terminations and splices should have a weatherproof non metallic "junction box" with a cover for access.
The conduit should be anchored every "x" distance per UBC.

While underground cable is legal per UBC depending on area and installation, it must be protected "x" distance where it penetrates the ground (sometimes terminating below front line depending on area) and the "x" distance above ground to protect it (from weedeaters, etc).

While it may be marginally "legal" in your area (or accepted practice) , as installed now, for insurance and liability reasons I would upgrade the installation to protect the installation from water, moisture, elements, and mechanical damage. It will also pay off if you should someday want to sell the home.

Local building codes vary but more and more states are upgrading to the stricter UBC codes in Calif, HI, west coast, etc.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by Spirit Rider » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:08 pm

I agree with the previous post. UF-B is sun resistant outdoor cable. In many jurisdictions, this could possibly still be run in the manner you describe. However, the key distinction would be the interpretation of "subject to damage", which would require conduit.

Remember, the codes are minimums. I would never run external wiring without it being in a conduit. I cringed when I saw the manner in which the cable exited the house. Personally, I would also install GFCI outlets, but then I tend to over-engineer.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by mr_breen » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:16 pm

Spirit Rider wrote:I agree with the previous post. UF-B is sun resistant outdoor cable. In many jurisdictions, this could possibly still be run in the manner you describe. However, the key distinction would be the interpretation of "subject to damage", which would require conduit.

Remember, the codes are minimums. I would never run external wiring without it being in a conduit. I cringed when I saw the manner in which the cable exited the house. Personally, I would also install GFCI outlets, but then I tend to over-engineer.


That's interesting. When I look at it myself, I get a little nervous about possible damage that could occur to it. But, then I think back to the person who did the original job. He was a licensed electrician who worked for a major and well known electrical contractor in my area. I remember specifically at the time I asked him about this issue and he assured me it was allowed within code.

I couldn't imagine a reputable electrician doing work that was dangerous or against code. So, I'm kind-of left in a quandary. I could continue using this style and I could rather easily add another outlet. Or I would have to go back and undo all the old work and add conduit to the entire length of exposed wire in the old work and use conduit in the new work. That would be a much bigger job.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by Spirit Rider » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:31 pm

I'm not saying it was not to code in 1997 and it still may be for new work. That you will have to investigate in your local jurisdiction. My pretty small town has which code they are currently enforcing on their web site.

In my town it would be perfectly acceptable to do what you are suggesting. I'm just giving my opinion. I was an electronic technician in the Navy and the first five years of my career, but I am not a licensed electrician. So my view has always been safety first.

I'm always willing to spend a little more money and do a little more work, if it provides additional margins of safety.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by jimb_fromATL » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:47 pm

mr_breen wrote:
Spirit Rider wrote:I agree with the previous post. UF-B is sun resistant outdoor cable. In many jurisdictions, this could possibly still be run in the manner you describe. However, the key distinction would be the interpretation of "subject to damage", which would require conduit.

Remember, the codes are minimums. I would never run external wiring without it being in a conduit. I cringed when I saw the manner in which the cable exited the house. Personally, I would also install GFCI outlets, but then I tend to over-engineer.


That's interesting. When I look at it myself, I get a little nervous about possible damage that could occur to it. But, then I think back to the person who did the original job. He was a licensed electrician who worked for a major and well known electrical contractor in my area. I remember specifically at the time I asked him about this issue and he assured me it was allowed within code.

I couldn't imagine a reputable electrician doing work that was dangerous or against code. So, I'm kind-of left in a quandary. I could continue using this style and I could rather easily add another outlet. Or I would have to go back and undo all the old work and add conduit to the entire length of exposed wire in the old work and use conduit in the new work. That would be a much bigger job.


Most jurisdictions go by the NEC. That's not compliant with the NEC now, and I seriously doubt that it was then.

    "... 300.5(D)(1) Emerging from Grade. Direct-buried conductors and enclosures emerging from grade shall be protected by enclosures or raceways extending from the minimum cover distance required by 300.5(A) below grade to a point at least 2.5 m (8 ft) above finished grade . In no case shall the protection be required to exceed 450 mm (18 in.) below finished grade..."

Even if were legal --which I doubt-- it's not very safe since somebody with a weed-wacker or a child playing or a gnawing animal like a rat or squirrel could damage it.

If I were doing it, I would protect both the old and new with the appropriate conduit.

jimb

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by Spirit Rider » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:59 pm

jimb_fromATL wrote:Most jurisdictions go by the NEC. That's not compliant with the NEC now, and I seriously doubt that it was then.

    "... 300.5(D)(1) Emerging from Grade. Direct-buried conductors and enclosures emerging from grade shall be protected by enclosures or raceways extending from the minimum cover distance required by 300.5(A) below grade to a point at least 2.5 m (8 ft) above finished grade . In no case shall the protection be required to exceed 450 mm (18 in.) below finished grade..."

Even if were legal --which I doubt-- it's not very safe since somebody with a weed-wacker or a child playing or a gnawing animal like a rat or squirrel could damage it.

If I were doing it, I would protect both the old and new with the appropriate conduit.

Yes, as you quoted, below grade to above grade requires a conduit, but is not applicable here. From the description and the picture, this is all above grade. However, as I stated earlier, I agree with your conclusion.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by mr_breen » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:59 pm

jimb_fromATL wrote:
mr_breen wrote:
Spirit Rider wrote:I agree with the previous post. UF-B is sun resistant outdoor cable. In many jurisdictions, this could possibly still be run in the manner you describe. However, the key distinction would be the interpretation of "subject to damage", which would require conduit.

Remember, the codes are minimums. I would never run external wiring without it being in a conduit. I cringed when I saw the manner in which the cable exited the house. Personally, I would also install GFCI outlets, but then I tend to over-engineer.


That's interesting. When I look at it myself, I get a little nervous about possible damage that could occur to it. But, then I think back to the person who did the original job. He was a licensed electrician who worked for a major and well known electrical contractor in my area. I remember specifically at the time I asked him about this issue and he assured me it was allowed within code.

I couldn't imagine a reputable electrician doing work that was dangerous or against code. So, I'm kind-of left in a quandary. I could continue using this style and I could rather easily add another outlet. Or I would have to go back and undo all the old work and add conduit to the entire length of exposed wire in the old work and use conduit in the new work. That would be a much bigger job.


Most jurisdictions go by the NEC. That's not compliant with the NEC now, and I seriously doubt that it was then.

    "... 300.5(D)(1) Emerging from Grade. Direct-buried conductors and enclosures emerging from grade shall be protected by enclosures or raceways extending from the minimum cover distance required by 300.5(A) below grade to a point at least 2.5 m (8 ft) above finished grade . In no case shall the protection be required to exceed 450 mm (18 in.) below finished grade..."

Even if were legal --which I doubt-- it's not very safe since somebody with a weed-wacker or a child playing or a gnawing animal like a rat or squirrel could damage it.

If I were doing it, I would protect both the old and new with the appropriate conduit.

jimb


This is the issue. This wire is not emerging from grade. I probably cropped that photo too much. If you look closely at the bottom of the photo, you can see the bottom of my outdoor stucco wall. Underneath that stucco wall is a lip and then about 12 more inches of concrete at the base of the house. The wire is stapled on the underside of that lip. At no point is any part of that cable ever buried. That cable is stapled underneath that lip about twelve inches above the ground.

Since it never emerges from the ground, I think it is somewhat safe from weed-whackers and garden tools, but it still is exposed. I need some ruling on whether a cable not emerging from grade still must be in conduit.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:11 pm

1
Homeowner option 1 - Conforms to minimum code standard. "Grandfathered in?". But subject to inspector request for NEC code upgrade if permit and inspection for future work is needed.
2
Homeowner option 2 - Exceed NEC/UBC current code standards and go with "best practice" in the interest of liability, insurance, and safety.
3
Professional licensed contractor/electrician to minimum marginal standards - aka: "that'll work".
4
Large professional licensed electrical contracting company concerned with liability, safety, call backs. - conduit and "J" boxes throughout.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:15 pm

jimb_fromATL wrote:. . . . . . . <snip>
Most jurisdictions go by the NEC. That's not compliant with the NEC now, and I seriously doubt that it was then.

    "... 300.5(D)(1) Emerging from Grade. Direct-buried conductors and enclosures emerging from grade shall be protected by enclosures or raceways extending from the minimum cover distance required by 300.5(A) below grade to a point at least 2.5 m (8 ft) above finished grade . In no case shall the protection be required to exceed 450 mm (18 in.) below finished grade..."

Even if were legal --which I doubt-- it's not very safe since somebody with a weed-wacker or a child playing or a gnawing animal like a rat or squirrel could damage it.

If I were doing it, I would protect both the old and new with the appropriate conduit.

jimb


Thanks "jimb".
That's what I was thinking of. Issue comes up on many jobsites. Codes have tightened up and become more uniform over the nation these past years.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by jimb_fromATL » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:17 pm

mr_breen wrote:
jimb_fromATL wrote:
mr_breen wrote:
Spirit Rider wrote:I agree with the previous post. UF-B is sun resistant outdoor cable. In many jurisdictions, this could possibly still be run in the manner you describe. However, the key distinction would be the interpretation of "subject to damage", which would require conduit.

Remember, the codes are minimums. I would never run external wiring without it being in a conduit. I cringed when I saw the manner in which the cable exited the house. Personally, I would also install GFCI outlets, but then I tend to over-engineer.


That's interesting. When I look at it myself, I get a little nervous about possible damage that could occur to it. But, then I think back to the person who did the original job. He was a licensed electrician who worked for a major and well known electrical contractor in my area. I remember specifically at the time I asked him about this issue and he assured me it was allowed within code.

I couldn't imagine a reputable electrician doing work that was dangerous or against code. So, I'm kind-of left in a quandary. I could continue using this style and I could rather easily add another outlet. Or I would have to go back and undo all the old work and add conduit to the entire length of exposed wire in the old work and use conduit in the new work. That would be a much bigger job.


Most jurisdictions go by the NEC. That's not compliant with the NEC now, and I seriously doubt that it was then.

    "... 300.5(D)(1) Emerging from Grade. Direct-buried conductors and enclosures emerging from grade shall be protected by enclosures or raceways extending from the minimum cover distance required by 300.5(A) below grade to a point at least 2.5 m (8 ft) above finished grade . In no case shall the protection be required to exceed 450 mm (18 in.) below finished grade..."

Even if were legal --which I doubt-- it's not very safe since somebody with a weed-wacker or a child playing or a gnawing animal like a rat or squirrel could damage it.

If I were doing it, I would protect both the old and new with the appropriate conduit.

jimb


This is the issue. This wire is not emerging from grade. I probably cropped that photo too much. If you look closely at the bottom of the photo, you can see the bottom of my outdoor stucco wall. Underneath that stucco wall is a lip and then about 12 more inches of concrete at the base of the house. The wire is stapled on the underside of that lip. At no point is any part of that cable ever buried. That cable is stapled underneath that lip about twelve inches above the ground.

Since it never emerges from the ground, I think it is somewhat safe from weed-whackers and garden tools, but it still is exposed. I need some ruling on whether a cable not emerging from grade still must be in conduit.


Then I doubt that the wire under the lip is actually protected to code specs either. If a gnawing varmint can get to it, it's not adequately protected, IMO.

I think at the very least I'd want to protect with some surface conduit like you can use on inside walls. Or perhaps add a GFI or ACFI at the power supply end of the line. And since it probably never was inspected, I wouldn't be too surprised to have to bring it up to code if it were caught by an inspection if I were selling the house. Not sure what the insurance company would say if there were a claim caused by the wire being damaged, but I feel sure a GFI or ACFI would be in your favor.

jimb

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by mr_breen » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:43 pm

ChuangTzu wrote:
jimb_fromATL wrote:. . . . . . . <snip>
Most jurisdictions go by the NEC. That's not compliant with the NEC now, and I seriously doubt that it was then.

    "... 300.5(D)(1) Emerging from Grade. Direct-buried conductors and enclosures emerging from grade shall be protected by enclosures or raceways extending from the minimum cover distance required by 300.5(A) below grade to a point at least 2.5 m (8 ft) above finished grade . In no case shall the protection be required to exceed 450 mm (18 in.) below finished grade..."

Even if were legal --which I doubt-- it's not very safe since somebody with a weed-wacker or a child playing or a gnawing animal like a rat or squirrel could damage it.

If I were doing it, I would protect both the old and new with the appropriate conduit.

jimb


Thanks "jimb".
That's what I was thinking of. Issue comes up on many jobsites. Codes have tightened up and become more uniform over the nation these past years.


I just checked my townships website. I found some info on the electrical code they use. Here is a quote:

[My Township] hereby adopts and incorporates herein by reference the 2008 edition of the National Electrical Code as published by the National Fire Protection Association as the Electrical Code of [My Township].


Not sure if that provides any more useful info on whether it allowed or not.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by SimonJester » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:14 am

As other nave noted its probably marginally acceptable per code, however it looks bad and a second wire is only going to look worse.
Think about when you goto sell your house, a home inspector is going to point it out, anyone looking at your house is going to suspect additional short cuts were taken elsewhere in the house.

So do the right thing and put in a small piece of non metallic conduit with proper j boxes, Something like this:

Image

It will also allow you to better seal up the penetration through the stucco to prevent water intrusion there as well.

When done paint the conduit the color of the exterior and it will blend in....
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:56 am

You do not have to conduit the entire existing run--direct burial romex is perfectly safe to run inside walls, and it's very rare for codes to prohibit doing so (usually only in areas with a large union presence). However, code or not, I would absolutely encase every inch of the exterior run in non-metallic conduit, which should not be horribly time consuming or expensive.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by dpc » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:50 am

If you want to know if the present installation meets code (it clearly does not, IMO), just contact your local building department and ask their electrical inspector. Was a permit pulled when this was installed? The local inspector is the "Authority Having Jurisdiction" or AHJ in NEC-speak.

If you want to extend this circuit to another receptacle, you could also run surface-mounted plastic Wiremold inside the wall.

If you ever sell this house, I would expect this wiring to be noted in the inspection.
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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by mr_breen » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:01 pm

dpc wrote:If you ever sell this house, I would expect this wiring to be noted in the inspection.


That is interesting. But what if the wiring install did meet code at the time of install (late 1990's)? Could an inspector in the future hold all wiring in the house to standards at time of sale? Keep in mind this house is over 100 years old. There is still knob and tube wire in use in my house that was probably installed in the 1930s.

If an inspector could hold the entire home's electrical systems to modern codes, then the whole house would probably have to be re-wired before sale.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by corysold » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:11 pm

mr_breen wrote:
dpc wrote:If you ever sell this house, I would expect this wiring to be noted in the inspection.


That is interesting. But what if the wiring install did meet code at the time of install (late 1990's)? Could an inspector in the future hold all wiring in the house to standards at time of sale? Keep in mind this house is over 100 years old. There is still knob and tube wire in use in my house that was probably installed in the 1930s.

If an inspector could hold the entire home's electrical systems to modern codes, then the whole house would probably have to be re-wired before sale.


In my city, you can be grandfathered in, as long as you don't disturb the out of date work.

So if you are just selling the house, they can't make you bring it up to code. But if you open walls to renovate the kitchen, you would have to replace the old knob and tube electrical in the walls.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by mouses » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:19 pm

By coincidence, I was reading recently about electrical problems and a comment was as follows:

"We had a weird electrical thing at this place years ago. Power would wane and spike, with fire shooting out of a kitchen outlet at one point. Emergency situation, to say the least. Electrician determined that there was a problem, but couldn't diagnose it. Called the power company. Everything was okay at the meter, but was it? Turns out that the problem was a deteriorated line between the meter and the panel box in the brick wall of our house, which had been installed decades ago without any sort of conduit. Electrician coordinated with power company to remove meter, huge power line was replaced (in conduit this time), everything was hooked back up, and power returned to normal."

Personally, I would go to a lot of work if it prevented fire shooting out of outlets.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by jimb_fromATL » Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:15 pm

mouses wrote:By coincidence, I was reading recently about electrical problems and a comment was as follows:

"We had a weird electrical thing at this place years ago. Power would wane and spike, with fire shooting out of a kitchen outlet at one point. Emergency situation, to say the least. Electrician determined that there was a problem, but couldn't diagnose it. Called the power company. Everything was okay at the meter, but was it? Turns out that the problem was a deteriorated line between the meter and the panel box in the brick wall of our house, which had been installed decades ago without any sort of conduit. Electrician coordinated with power company to remove meter, huge power line was replaced (in conduit this time), everything was hooked back up, and power returned to normal."

Personally, I would go to a lot of work if it prevented fire shooting out of outlets.


As an aside, a lot of folks don't realize that the "fire shooting out of outlets" is often an engineered safety feature in action.

Outlets are designed to arc over at something like (I vaguely recall) 600 volts, as last-ditch surge suppression. One of the quality control tests in manufacturing electrical outlets is testing to make sure the gap is correct so that it will arc over correctly.

When I was a child we lived in a remote area on a hill that was served by overhead power lines. Power companies have better surge protection these days, but back then we were taught to stay away from the electrical outlets during thunderstorms because it was not unusual at all for "fire to shoot out of the outlets ... which I learned years later was because lightning strikes were causing the voltage on the power lines to go high enough to cause the arc-over.

jimb

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by guitarguy » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:01 pm

I didn't read all of the above posts.

OP: Would it not cost like $20 and an extra half hour of time to just run the conduit?

Required by local code or not...I really don't see a reason not to use it.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by mancich » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:44 pm

guitarguy wrote:I didn't read all of the above posts.

OP: Would it not cost like $20 and an extra half hour of time to just run the conduit?

Required by local code or not...I really don't see a reason not to use it.


Totally agree. Electricity is not a place to save a few bucks.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by Ged » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:56 pm

My house has a similar installation - I needed a 30 amp outlet in my living room for a fairly elaborate home theater setup and the solution was to run the service through my attic and down the outside of the house. The cable that runs down the outside of the house appears to be something like a plastic coated MC or BX cable.

Not conduit but looks way more robust than Romex.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by just frank » Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:11 pm

jimb_fromATL wrote:
As an aside, a lot of folks don't realize that the "fire shooting out of outlets" is often an engineered safety feature in action.

Outlets are designed to arc over at something like (I vaguely recall) 600 volts, as last-ditch surge suppression. One of the quality control tests in manufacturing electrical outlets is testing to make sure the gap is correct so that it will arc over correctly.

When I was a child we lived in a remote area on a hill that was served by overhead power lines. Power companies have better surge protection these days, but back then we were taught to stay away from the electrical outlets during thunderstorms because it was not unusual at all for "fire to shoot out of the outlets ... which I learned years later was because lightning strikes were causing the voltage on the power lines to go high enough to cause the arc-over.

jimb


Thanks for the info. I have a whole house surge suppressor and I still had the 'fire out of outlets' experience a while back.

For the OP...code is the minimum allowed by law. And then many places intentionally use out of date codes, and enforcement is lax...

I had two wires like that on the outside of my house, except they weren't weatherproof romex, the wire was not well anchored (and so fell onto the ground) AND the hole wasn't sealed. I have indeed cut through it while cutting shrubbery. Fun.

I got fed up with it and just got rid of it. Have someone put in a conduit, or do it yourself DIY. You won't regret it.

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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by mr_breen » Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:37 pm

Ged wrote:My house has a similar installation - I needed a 30 amp outlet in my living room for a fairly elaborate home theater setup and the solution was to run the service through my attic and down the outside of the house. The cable that runs down the outside of the house appears to be something like a plastic coated MC or BX cable.

Not conduit but looks way more robust than Romex.


Are you sure it is 30 amps? In the U.S., I think that 20 amps is the maximum current draw allowed in 120 volt outlets. The 20 amp rated outlets look at little different in fact, they have an extra little slot.

If you have an appliance that needs more than 20 amps, it usually will be a 240 volt appliance and will require a 240 volt outlet.

whomever
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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by whomever » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:02 pm

For 120V outlets greater than 20A, see the NEMA 1-30, NEMA 5-50, etc.

http://www.stayonline.com/reference-nem ... blade.aspx

As far as the OP's question: that gray plastic conduit is super easy to work with. Indoors Romex is nice because you can fish it between studs, but when you're running on top of surfaces I'd just use the conduit.

mr_breen
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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by mr_breen » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:29 pm

whomever wrote:For 120V outlets greater than 20A, see the NEMA 1-30, NEMA 5-50, etc.

http://www.stayonline.com/reference-nem ... blade.aspx

As far as the OP's question: that gray plastic conduit is super easy to work with. Indoors Romex is nice because you can fish it between studs, but when you're running on top of surfaces I'd just use the conduit.


Interesting, I had never seen outlets like a NEMA 5-50. It's good to know they exist.

whomever
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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by whomever » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:45 pm

"I had never seen outlets like a NEMA 5-50"

I've seen 30A 110 in the wild, but I've only seen the 50's in catalogs.

I expect that in general at those loads the wire gets to be expensive enough that it makes sense to go to 220 and use the smaller wire.

Yooper
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Location: Nothern Michigan

Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by Yooper » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:21 pm

Welcome to my world, where hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back, you might wish you'd said, "You know, let's put that in conduit. In fact, if I have to run it once chances are I'll have to run another one again, so make that conduit large enough for another wire or two. Better yet, leave a pull string inside so I can pull the wire easier." I try to think ahead, but every time I take the path of least resistance it inevitably bites me (grin). What's done is done and I (in my completely unprofessional opinion) think you're OK - - with the part that's tucked up underneath the side of the house. The part that comes out of the wall and runs down - I'd enclose that and the second run in conduit/J box to the point where it disappears under the lip of the outside wall. Just looks a little neater and if someone with a critical eye does come along, it'll demonstrate that you attempted due diligence when it came to safety. Yeah, it'll be a pain and a little more monkeying around, but after you're done you'll be glad you did. I would be anyway.

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tadamsmar
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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by tadamsmar » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:22 pm

mr_breen wrote:I couldn't imagine a reputable electrician doing work that was dangerous or against code. So, I'm kind-of left in a quandary. I could continue using this style and I could rather easily add another outlet. Or I would have to go back and undo all the old work and add conduit to the entire length of exposed wire in the old work and use conduit in the new work. That would be a much bigger job.


Was a building permit required for that 1990 work? Did the electrician get the permit?

There should be a record with the county if there was a permit, maybe even mentioned in your tax assessments. These days in our area, the permits are online and easy to search, but not sure about a 1990 one.

Sandtrap
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Re: Running electrical wire (Romex) on outside of house without conduit. Allowed?

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:42 am

Yooper wrote:Welcome to my world, where hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back, you might wish you'd said, "You know, let's put that in conduit. In fact, if I have to run it once chances are I'll have to run another one again, so make that conduit large enough for another wire or two. Better yet, leave a pull string inside so I can pull the wire easier." I try to think ahead, but every time I take the path of least resistance it inevitably bites me (grin). What's done is done and I (in my completely unprofessional opinion) think you're OK - - with the part that's tucked up underneath the side of the house. The part that comes out of the wall and runs down - I'd enclose that and the second run in conduit/J box to the point where it disappears under the lip of the outside wall. Just looks a little neater and if someone with a critical eye does come along, it'll demonstrate that you attempted due diligence when it came to safety. Yeah, it'll be a pain and a little more monkeying around, but after you're done you'll be glad you did. I would be anyway.


wife: "the barn electric is out"
husband: "I checked it, the line is compromised underground somewhere"
wife: "how far"
husband: "somewhere in 100 yards, maybe gopher, who knows"
wife: "now what"
husband: "we have to trench and put in another underground line"
wife: " if you'd have put in a conduit with pull boxes every 30 feet, like you said 4 years ago would it be easier to replace?"
husband: . . . . . . . . . "uh huh". :oops:

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