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Supporting Ceiling Light Fixtures From The Device Boxes

February 27, 2006

Q: Does the NEC allow you to support ceiling mounted lighting fixtures from the device box?

A: Yes, you are allowed to support ceiling mounted lighting fixtures from the device box, under some conditions. Part (A) of 410.16 allows outlet boxes or fittings installed as required by 314.23 to support lighting fixtures.

310.23(B)(1) allows nails and screws to support outlet boxes provided that the fasteners pass through the interior of the box within one-quarter of an inch of the back or ends of the box. Most device boxes may be purchased with nails already in place, ready to be installed.

There is also a requirement in 314.27 that says boxes for support of lighting fixtures must be designed for the purpose.

The device box must be designed or installed so that a light fixture may be attached. An exception to this rule allows boxes or plaster rings to support wall mounted light fixtures that do not weigh more than 6 pounds to be secured to the box with no less than two No. 6 or larger screws.

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Do I Need To Bond To My Cold Water Pipe?

February 26, 2006

Q: I installed a feeder from my main service disconnect to a new sub panel in my home. The underground water pipe that supplies the home is plastic but, it is copper in the house. The copper water pipe is not underground and there is no metal water pipe in contact with the earth. Does the NEC allow the water pipe to be bonded to the feeder grounded circuit conductor in the feeder sub-panel because the water pipe is not being used as a grounding electrode?

A: The interior metal water pipes must be bonded to the grounding electrode system. The requirement for bonding the metal water pipe is found in 250.104(A)(1) and reads like this: “The metal water piping system shall be bonded as required in (1), (2), (3) or (4) of this section. The bonding jumper(s) shall be installed in accordance with 250.64(A), (B) and (E). The points of attachment of the bonding jumper(s) shall be accessible.”

Part (1) of 250.104(A) specifies which parts of the grounding electrode system are suitable for bonding the water pipe. They are the service equipment enclosure, the grounded conductor at the service, the grounding electrode conductor if it is large enough, or to the one or more grounding electrodes used.

The size of the bonding jumper cannot be smaller than shown in Table 250.66. For example, a 200A service that consists of 3-3/0 Type THWN conductors would require a 4 copper bonding conductor. If the grounding electrode conductor is 6 copper because the grounding electrode is two 8-foot ground rods, the bonding conductor from the water pipe would have to terminate on the service equipment enclosure, or the grounded circuit conductor (neutral) at the service.

This is because the bonding conductor is required to be larger than the service grounding electrode conductor.

Do you have an electrical question you would like us to answer? We will answer the first question posted to this blog daily. Your answer will be posted in the next day’s blog. If you need your question answered sooner, visit

Receptacle Spacing In Single Family Dwelling Units

February 24, 2006

Q: I’m finishing my basement and getting ready to wire it. Where do I begin my measurement for the first receptacle, do I start where the door stops against the wall when the door is open?

A: No. All measurements must be taken along the wall where it starts at the door opening. This generally results in a receptacle being located about 3 or 3.5 feet from the edge of the door when it is open. Previous issues of the National Electrical Code used the phrase “useable wall space,” but these words no longer appear.

This is the requirement as it now appears in 210.52(A)(1): “Spacing. Receptacles shall be installed so that no point measured horizontally along the floor line in any wall space is more than 1.8m (6 feet) from a receptacle outlet.”

Part (2) of 210.52(A) clarifies the meaning of “wall space,” and reads like this: “Any space 600mm (2 feet) or more in width (including space measured around corners) and unbroken along the floor line by doorways, fireplaces and similar openings.” Notice that there is no exception for wall space that is located behind a door when it is open.

Do you have an electrical question you would like us to answer? We will answer the first question posted to this blog daily. Your answer will be posted in the next day’s blog. If you need your question answered sooner, visit

Journeyman Electrician Needed Immediately – Up To $2,000.00 Sign On Bonus

February 6, 2006

I has been almost 1 month since I last posted to this blog and I am sorry. I have been overwhelmed. The electrical contracting business has exploded. I’m not sure what happened, but all of a sudden it seems that every contractor wants us to wire their houses. As of today, we are booked solid until the end of August and we have work scheduled out as far as the summer of 2007.

We are currently looking for licensed Journeyman electricians to work in the Yellowstone Club (a private residential community) in Big Sky, Montana. Big Sky is a ski resort located approximately 45 miles south of Bozeman and growing rapidly.

The bulk of our work is wiring large custom homes. The majority of these houses are also getting home automation systems and some form of back up power. Most of them are getting generators and some solar. Every house has a complicated boiler system with several circulation pumps. Wiring these houses is considered to be residential and industrial wiring as there is so much motor and lighting control wiring.

Gilchrist Electric, Inc. is a Montana licensed unlimited electrical contractor. This means that we also engage in commercial and industrial wiring. However, the bulk of the work and growth here is residential wiring. There is plenty of work and tons of overtime offered.

You must posess an active Journeyman electricians license either in Montana or a state that will reciprocate with Montana. To see if your state will receprocate with Montana, please click on the link below to the Montana State Electrical Board’s website.

We are currently offering up to a $2,000.00 sign on bonus. The sign on bonus is paid at a rate of $100.00 for every year you have been in the electrical trade. So, if you have been in the electrical trade for 5 years, the sign on bonus is $500.00. If you have been in the electrical trade for 20 or more years, the sign on bonus is $2,000.00 We will only accept verifiable time. This means you either need to provide us with a notarized letter from your previous employers stating the amount of time that you worked for them or numbers for us to contact your previous employers. The catch to the sign on bonus is that you need to sign on for a minimum of 6 months or you forfeit the entire bonus.

The licensing regulations here in Montana are 3 – Journeyman electricians for every one apprentice electrician. All of our apprentice positions are currently full and we can not hire another apprentice electrician until we hire 3 more journeyman.

Please fax your resume to (406) 586-6724 or email: