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does nec address paint/popcorn inside j-boxes?

Posted by fixizin (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 19, 11 at 12:48

Apparently, for the big Fortune 500 sleazebag tract-shack developers, having their undocumented faux-electricians take 3 seconds to pop one of those plastic rough-out covers on their freshly installed and wired ceiling boxes, makes the difference between their stock price soaring or crashing. :rolleyes:

Thus I've seen high levels of spray paint--and even that foam textured ceiling crap--coating the inside of j-boxes, and also every conductor, connector and wire-nut in that box. Best practices--NOT.

Seems like there's potential fire and wire-ID issues... what sayeth the NEC?

Just wondering, thanks in advance.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: does nec address paint/popcorn inside j-boxes?

The NEC does not address the issue. And if it did, how would the electrical inspector force the issue with drywall and painting contractors? While it may not be fair play, the electrician must protect himself/herself in these instances. There are companies that make foam inserts for one-time use that quickly stuff into the box and just as quickly pull out for disposal. Since you are the property owner, you have some leverage on these contractors. Supervise their work.

And there are protectors made of metal.

Here is a link that might be useful: Metal


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RE: does nec address paint/popcorn inside j-boxes?

Yowza... I think I smell "lobbying" by the Duh Big Sleazy NAHB members.

... how would the electrical inspector force the issue with drywall and painting contractors? While it may not be fair play, the electrician must protect himself/herself in these instances.

Exactly. If sparky installs listed protective cover, his work (and his butt) are "covered". The plastic ones I've seen just SNAP in place, and they seem to be made of that "oily" kind of plastic (polypro?) that would probably shed any buildup of paint/popcorn with a bit of flexing, making them very reusable.

I mean, doesn't this seem like an obvious topic for NFPA to lab test and incorporate into NEC? Down here in slacker-land, this "boxfill you can't calculate" is really out of control. =:O


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RE: does nec address paint/popcorn inside j-boxes?

I do not mean protect as in regulatory measures, I mean protect from the other trades that care only about their own work and do not hesitate to make the work of others more difficult. Wasn't that your initial emphasis?

Here is a link that might be useful: read this


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RE: does nec address paint/popcorn inside j-boxes?

The NEC is specific and does NOT permit this.
Article 110.12(B) reads: "Internal parts of electrical equipment, including busbars, wiring terminals, insulators, and other surfaces shall not be damaged or contaminated by foreign materials such as paint, plaster, cleaners, abrasives, or other corrosive residues."
It's a clear viloation, and as an inspector I would deviate this practice and order them to be cleaned out.


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RE: does nec address paint/popcorn inside j-boxes?

110.12 does not specifically address wall and ceiling boxes. Panel manufacturers often have a portion of the carton marked to be cut and used to shield the internals from the enumerated material. Inspectors have been known to require panel replacement in some cases.


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RE: does nec address paint/popcorn inside j-boxes?

Further on NEC 110.12(B) cited in part by enigma 2, the equipment listed definitely could be harmed and even rendered useless and/or dangerous by the factors mentioned. But wall and ceiling boxes are not "equipment" in the sense of 110.12(B).
How close I have come to assaulting, or being assaulted by,
others working on the site! It can get heated. We once shut off the temporary power for a plastering crew on a commercial project because of a dispute. They yielded.
On volunteer projects, well-meaning idiots can really screw up the wiring job.
"Daddy, I peeled all the bananas for your lunch next week". Good intentions do not always result in good ouitcomes.


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RE: does nec address paint/popcorn inside j-boxes?

I always required any type of electrical equipment to be cleaned out when I found this during an inspection.

Although NEC 110.12(B) states "equipment", I've always fallen back on the definition of equipment "A general term, including material, fittings, devices, appliances, luminaries, apparatus, machinery, and the like used as part of, or in connection to, an electrical installation."

To me, this means everything, including boxes, and no professional should mess up the work of other trades out of ignorance; IMHO.


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