Getting power to exterior floodlight

rangemarkMarch 17, 2014

I have gotten approval from my homeowners association to replace an exterior floodlight used to illuminate the U.S. flag. I had been using an outside extension cord to power the light, but was told by a licensed contractor that did not meet the NEC code for permanent exterior lighting. He said I should use unsheathed wire contained in ENT conduit concealed in the wall.
> The architectural control committee says no holes are to be drilled through the stucco and concrete cinder block even though the hole will be covered up, and to use the existing cord. It seems like they are telling me to violate the NEC code. What do you think? Thanks for any guidance you can give me. (Other exterior lights in this community are correctly installed.)

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Ron Natalie

Yes, cords are NOT permitted as permanent wiring. ENT isn't required by the NEC but it may be advisable.

The other NEC legal options would be to run the wiring on the surface (either in conduit or as cable on the surface provided that it is rated appropriately). The other is to run it interior to the house and out through the wall. I'd ask the HOA if they really want you to have LEGAL but exposed and potentially ugly wiring in lieu of drilling through the wall behind where the light would be located.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 4:12PM
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I don't see why putting a floodlight on the ground or on a pole and plugging it in violates any building code. It just violates aesthetic code and doesn't make sense for a permanent installation.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 9:40PM
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The electrical code only allows extension cords to be used for temporary purposes, not permanent ones.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 2:13AM
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Assuming that some of this is mounted on the ground, which may not be the case, how was the cord protected from mowers and other landscaping equipment? No doubt the HOA assumes control of all exterior areas. Are you and they aware of burial/protection requirements for wiring that runs across lawns? Will they permit trenching through the sod?
Is there a basement under your dwelling unit? What is the floor system for your dwelling unit? Could the wiring exit your dwelling below grade level and thus be invisible on the exterior?

This post was edited by bus_driver on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 9:26

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 7:33AM
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The word "stucco" suggests to me there is probably no basement and probably no lawn. It also suggests trenching will probably involve a jack hammer!

Can you come off an outside receptacle with an extension and run underground conduit to the location, or, if the location is close to your building can you install an outdoor outlet in the wall powered from a nearby indoor outlet and plug your floodlight into that? Is this a cord and plug floodlight with a stake that goes into the ground?

If the HOA has approved a new light they can hardly force you to do it illegally and unsafely.

This post was edited by joefixit2 on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 9:39

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:38AM
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"The electrical code only allows extension cords to be used for temporary purposes, not permanent ones."

Oh, I thought the building codes control stopped at the receptacle and I can plug in what I choose. I'd be behind a constitutional amendment to stop that kind big brother activity in my house.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:55AM
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Ron Natalie

You are wrong. The building codes do not stop at the receptacle. While kudzu's statement isn't quite exact, running cordage (whether ultimately plugged into a receptacle or not) in the place of permanent wiring or through structure etc... is certainly in violation of the NEC which is law in many locations.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 12:27PM
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Between the electrical codes and a HOA, there is nothing left to your discretion. Remember the days when you always had to ask mother "May I"?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 2:59PM
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