A Brief Look at 2011 Electrical Installation Regulation Updates
Homeowners and electricians need to keep current on installation regulation changes and updates. The easiest way to do so is by checking out the latest version of the NEC handbook.
As with many editions of the NEC regulations, there has been an update on the definitions for certain terms used throughout. This helps to clarify any gray areas and makes the guide easier to understand. A few examples of these changes include the word bathroom, which is now described as an area that contains at least one basin and at least one or more of the following plumbing devices: toilet, shower, tub, bidet (etc.), and the word nonautomatic meaning that human manipulation is required in order to cause a specific function.
One notable change that will likely prove beneficial to homeowners is that new electrical installation requires that any ground fault circuit interrupter is located where it can be easily accessed by an individual. The reason behind this directive is to make testing the device easier so it will encourage homeowners to check it on the suggested monthly basis. It is unclear how this regulation will be policed as it is still possible to block the GFCI by moving the object or placing furniture in front of it. However, it will likely still be easier to reach than when placed underneath of to the back of certain appliances.
If you've been dying to get your hands on some nonmetallic-sheathed cable for your home but were restricted by NEC regulations in the past to keeping it all hidden behind walls, ceilings, and floors, you're in for some good news. Non-metallic sheathed cable is now permitted in homes without requiring concealment. Exposed wiring will also be acceptable in attached garages, sheds, and similar structures that are overall part of the home.
A good example of some practical changes to electrical installation regulations is article 550 concerning arc-fault circuit-interrupter protection for mobile homes. In the past laws have differed greatly between residential and mobile homes, and not usually for the better. What is required of a residential property is generally much more rigorous, resulting in fewer hazards. Mobile homes and parks, however, have had higher rates of fire (specifically fatal accidents) due to faulty electrics. It is hoped that AFCI protection will help reduce these tragedies and increase overall safety.
It can be frustrating keeping up with all of these new rules regarding electrical installation, but it is imperative for homeowners as well as professionals to remain updated. Technology, techniques, and experience are constantly evolving, which means higher safety and quality standards for everyone involved.
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