Unsheathed wire to code?

cianaNovember 24, 2009

Sorry in advance for the lengthy posting. I don't know how to describe this more concisely. :-) And please forgive any electrical ignorance. That's why I love this site. I know I can get some good advice.

We're in the middle of a partial kitchen remodel (keeping most of the cabinets, but modifying lights, countertops, tile, appliances). Our kitchen is beneath a second story bedroom and bathroom, so there's no access from the ceiling and we have a slab floor. We did have to cut a 3x2 foot opening in the ceiling when we took down the walled pantry to replace with a pantry cabinet.

We are redoing all of the lighting. Previously, we had just some fluorescent overhead lights and undercabinet lights. We are replacing with pendants over the island, canned lights, cabinet uplights and undercabinet lights. We are also replacing the outlets in the counter backsplash with plugmolds.

I've got a few questions:

1) When we were running new wiring for the canned lights, we found a run of Romex that was unsheathed (visible from the 3x2 opening). This goes from our dining room light switch to its sister 3-way switch. Is this to code? Should we try to replace this with sheathed Romex? My concern is that access is very difficult, so it's hard to pull new wires through.

2) What's the best way to run wiring from ceiling to upper wall if we don't have easy access to the ceiling? We need to run outlets to above our cabinets for the uplights, but can't figure out how to do that easily. We have access in the ceiling about 3-5' away through some AC vents.

3) We have two circuits to our countertops now, one on each end of a 5' run, sink, then 9' run. We were going to hardwire plugmold strips to each run with a GFCI starting at each end. For the 9' run, will that be too many outlets for one circuit? The 9' circuit will also power an undercounter wine fridge and two wall outlets in our breakfast nook.

Thanks in advance!

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Sorry for the not quite accurate subject heading. I started this thread to just ask about question 1, but then added the other questions.

Also, for the plugmold, it comes to about 8 outlets on the 5' run and 12 outlets on the 9' run. We wouldn't use all the outlets at the same time - probably only 1-2 maximum simultaneously. My concern is that the 9' run also has the wine fridge and the two wall outlets on the same circuit. What's the max we should have on each circuit?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 11:12PM
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What do you mean by unsheathed Romex? Are you saying you see individual wires (white, black, and bare or paper-covered ground)?

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 3:34AM
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Yes,I see individual wires - red, black, white and copper - that powers a 3-way switch in our dining room that is not wrapped together. The individual wires are coated except for the copper.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 9:45AM
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Code requires the wires to run together in a sheathing as in NM (Romex) or in a conduit. Individual wires should only be visible inside a box.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 3:08PM
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Sometimes individual wires are run that are stranded, rather than solid. However, they can only be used in conduit, armored cable, or similar. So, bottomline, whatever you have is not to code.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 7:45PM
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Thanks for all your responses. We suspected as much and DH and BIL ran new Romex Thanksgiving morning. It' kept them busy while waiting for dinner and they finished up right in time to eat. :-)

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 4:02PM
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