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Romex/NM cable with plug installed


msteger
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I was always told that Romex/NM cable should never have plugs installed because the cable is solid conductor and that repeated plugging/unplugging could lead to mechanical damage (leading to possible arcing or fire) to the solid copper conductors. This seems to make logical sense.

A listing agent today told me I was full of it after she consulted a licensed electrician who said I was also full of it. I had reported this issue in a home she was listing. I've called this issue out several times over the years.

Am I the only one who reports this as an issue? If this is indeed an issue, does anyone have any concrete documentation confirming my thoughts?

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I'm not sure there is anything that specifically says you can't put a plug on NM, but the NEC doesn't generally work like that. It mostly lists the allowable uses and methods for materials and doesn't try to guess every possible way of screwing things up. So...ask the agent to have the electrician point out in section 334 exactly where putting a plug on NM is listed as an allowable wiring method (hint...it ain't there). Or maybe he would like to try to find something in sections 400 and 402 decribing NM as an acceptable cord or fixture wire (good luck with that).

Stick to your guns. It's wrong.

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I was always told that Romex/NM cable should never have plugs installed because the cable is solid conductor and that repeated plugging/unplugging could lead to mechanical damage (leading to possible arcing or fire) to the solid copper conductors. This seems to make logical sense.

A listing agent today told me I was full of it after she consulted a licensed electrician who said I was also full of it. I had reported this issue in a home she was listing. I've called this issue out several times over the years.

Am I the only one who reports this as an issue? If this is indeed an issue, does anyone have any concrete documentation confirming my thoughts?

Ask the electrician to produce a plug that's listed for use with NM cable.

I suspect that he'll have a hard time finding one.

The code reference would be 110.3(B).

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Thanks Jim.

I took a look in the 2005 IRC for a reference to 110.3(b), but can't find anything specifically as you mention. All I find is that the wire has to be labeled and approved for its use. Really vague. Maybe NEC calls out my specific issue, but IRC apparently doesn't. I have the IRC books but not the NEC books. If possible, could you post the portion of 110.3(b) that pertains to my issue?

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Thanks Jim.

I took a look in the 2005 IRC for a reference to 110.3(b), but can't find anything specifically as you mention. All I find is that the wire has to be labeled and approved for its use. Really vague. Maybe NEC calls out my specific issue, but IRC apparently doesn't. I have the IRC books but not the NEC books. If possible, could you post the portion of 110.3(b) that pertains to my issue?

It's the same one that you found. I'm not applying it to the wire, I'm applying it to the plugs.

110.3(B) says, "Listed or labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions in the listing or labeling."

Ask your recalcitrant electrician to produce a plug that has listing or labeling instructions that include connecting it to NM cable.

I think he'll find that most, if not all, plugs' instructions refer to cords, not cables.

If he can find one, then I'd accept the plug but I'd look very carefully at the way that the cable was secured and protected from physical damage.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Matthew,

You can find a copy of the 2008 NEC here. http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files/PDF/ne ... PDraft.pdf

It's a draft and not the official version, but I don't believe there is much difference from the final version.

There is nothing specfic at all in 110.3 (B) other than what you see below, which is the whole paragpraph. Jim was just pointing out that there probably, most likely, almost definitely, isn't any plug listed for such use.

110.3 (B) Installation and Use. Listed or labeled equipment

shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions

included in the listing or labeling.

Section 334 lists the allowable wiring methods for NM cable. It also doesn't specifically mention plugs but, if you read through it, you can see that a NM appliance cord would break a few rules as far as allowable connections, securing the cable, etc, etc.

If you are after a code quote that actually says "NM cable is not allowed to be fitted with a plug and used as an appliance cord"...well, there just isn't one.

I was typing at the same time as Jim so some of my post is superfluous.

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