February 7


Common Residential Electrical Code Violations

By pallardy

February 7, 2022

Some homeowners take on DIY projects to save money, while others enjoy handling tasks independently. Home improvement projects that involve electrical work are usually best left to licensed electricians. Safety concerns and code violations are common when DIYers or unlicensed contractors handle electrical work.
Some code violations stem from updates to the National Electrical Code (NEC), while others violate codes that have been on the books for many years. A subgroup of national fire codes, the NEC is a book of electrical installation and renovation safety standards established by the National Fire Protection Agency. NEC is considered the benchmark for safe electrical design, installation, and inspection to protect people and property from electrical hazards.
States and local municipal governments vary widely in adopting NEC standards, so understanding and complying with code requirements can be complex for homeowners.

Ten Common Code Violations
1. Unlicensed Workmanship
Many municipalities across the United States allow homeowners to do electrical work in their own homes. There’s usually no code violation for homeowners who handle basic electrical work as long as it is properly permitted and passes inspection. A code violation occurs when a DIYer or unlicensed contractor starts working for others.

2. Failure to Obtain Proper Permits
One of the most costly code violations is failing to procure permits. Certain types of electrical projects require permits and safety inspections. Failure to procure required permits could lead to a significant expense if an inspector discovers code violations when you decide to sell your home.

3. Failure to Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) shut off an electrical circuit when it becomes a shock hazard. GFCIs are required anywhere electrical appliances and water may be present, including kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and near sump pumps. All outdoor receptacles should be GFCI protected as well.

4. Failure to Install Arc Fault Current Interrupters
In new home construction, arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are required in bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and other gathering areas. The function of the AFCI is to protect the branch circuit wiring from dangerous arcing that can initiate an electrical fire. Unlike a standard circuit breaker, an AFCI uses advanced electronic technology to “sense” different arcing conditions.

common electrical code violations

5. Too Few Junction Boxes
Junction boxes help prevent short circuits by keeping wires away from combustible materials. Also referred to as an electrical box, junction boxes provide vital protection for spliced wires and minimize fire risk. Each junction box should state its approved volume to avoid overfilling it with too many wires.

6. Insufficient Service Panel Clearance
The electrical panel, also referred to as the service panel acts as the switchboard for a home’s electrical system. The panel receives the electrical power supply from the utility company and distributes it throughout your home. Service panels need sufficient clearance for easy access during an emergency.

7. Installing Too Few Receptacles
Reducing reliance on extension cords makes homes safer, so installing sufficient receptacles in each room is essential. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that about 3,300 residential fires originate in extension cords each year. Extension cords should never serve as permanent wiring for large appliances, including refrigerators, washers, dryers, air conditioners, or garage door openers.

8. Combining Old Wiring With New Fixtures
Installing new lighting fixtures and using the old wiring can create major problems. The electrical wiring found in older homes may not hold up under the heat that new lighting fixtures can draw. An electrician can replace outdated wiring to allow new fixtures to operate safely and efficiently.

9. Leaving Outdoor Receptacles Uncovered
Many property owners don’t think about the hazards of leaving an electrical receptacle exposed to the elements. Missing or damaged covers are a code violation that could delay the sale of your home and pose a significant safety hazard.

10. Poor Workmanship
Too often, poor workmanship leads to numerous NEC electrical code violations. High-quality electrical wiring requires training and experience. The best way to avoid electrical code violations that could jeopardize the safety of your family and property is to hire an experienced licensed electrician.

Call a Local Trusted Electrician
The NEC establishes codes to protect property and lives. By adhering to code requirements, homeowners help protect their families. Licensed electricians understand the importance of safety codes and have the skills to make older properties safer and more efficient.

When you need electrical work for your home or business, call on the experts at Pallardy Electric. We’ve been serving St. Charles and St. Louis counties since 2001. We’re licensed, bonded, and insured for your safety and protection. Call us at (636) 202-1794 to schedule a free estimate.