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As you’ve learned, the National Electrical Code (NEC) is a reference manual that outlines requirements for the installation of electrical equipment. The NEC is published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and is updated every three years to reflect changes in the industry.
The exact requirements for the installation of electrical equipment in your area will vary depending on local regulations. You learned in your studies that the application of the Code is rarely an exact science, and that the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) is often the final determination of local code compliance. However, almost all electrical requirements are based on the NEC. Therefore, it’s very important to understand the NEC thoroughly and be able to apply it to your work.
One objective of this project is to help you appreciate that you don’t to have to memorize the various NEC codes. You’ll be asked to use the NEC in the way that it was designed, as a rule book of sorts, that you’ll apply step by step through some interesting and challenging problems. All of the submissions for this assignment are open-book, so you can relax and focus on developing your skills in using the NEC.
Before you begin, this is a good time to simply review the NEC and locate the articles that you would expect to apply to common building projects. Familiarize yourself with the locations of common applications in the codes, as you’ll need this information to complete this project.
In this project, you’ll also be looking at electrical wiring diagrams. Therefore, you may also want to review the material on how to read these diagrams before you begin this project. Interpreting the floor plan wiring diagram for a typical residence, then carrying out the required wiring, is no simple matter.
To remind you of the details that must often be addressed in a typical residential project, review this standalone wiring diagram. The standalone drawing shows a complete wiring diagram for one floor of a typical residence. As you can see, this typical residence contains many electrical outlets and devices. All of these devices must be installed to satisfy NEC requirements.
Note that this stand-alone drawing isn’t a part of the actual assignments that you’ll complete; it’s simply a good practice tool to brush up on your print-reading skills.
In this project, you’ll use your knowledge of the NEC to answer a variety of questions about electrical circuits. Because this is an application-type project that involves real-life scenarios, the project will take some time to complete. Using the NEC can be time-consuming when you’re first learning, so don’t become frustrated if this project takes a little longer to complete than you expected.
Completing Your Project
Throughout this project, you’ll be required to answer questions. There are a total of 40 questions (or combinations of questions) for you to answer, as well as an additional figure to be marked up. Grading of this project will be as follows:
Questions 1 through 40 (except Question 11 and Question 40)—2 points each
Question 11—7 points
Markup of Living Room figure—10 points
Question 40 (requires completion of the table that accompanies the question)—7 points
Total Possible Score: 100 points
You’ll submit your graded project online. Create a word-processing document containing your answers, scan your marked-up Living Room figure, and upload your project using the instructions at the beginning of this section. Make sure your answers are clearly labeled.
Part 1: Load Calculation, Single-Family Dwelling
When an electrician installs the wiring in a new building, he or she often needs to determine the service amperage. To accurately determine the service amperage, the electrician must be able to calculate all of the various loads associated with general lighting circuits, small-appliance branch circuits, and fixed-appliance circuits that supply ranges, dryers, and HVAC systems. The NEC has specific guidelines for performing these calculations.
In this exercise, you’ll use the Standard Method to perform the load calculations for a one-family residence. As you work through this exercise, please write out all of your calculations. To receive credit for the questions, you must show exactly how you arrived at each solution. (Use scrap paper for preliminary calculations, if you need to.)
Building Electrical Specifications
You’ll be required to determine specific circuit loads, the minimum service, and related conductor sizes for a single-family home with the following electrical specifications:
Building Size: 3,800 square feet (exclusive of an unfinished basement not adaptable for future use, an unfinished attic, and open porches)
Small Appliance–Branch Circuits: 3
Laundry-Branch Circuits: 1
Water heater (28 kVA)
Dishwasher (1,200 VA)
Food Disposal (1,200 VA)
Attic Fans (2) @ 750 VA (1,500 VA total)
Clothes Dryer: 5 kW
Ranges, Ovens, Cooktops: Range, 12 kW
HVAC System: 3.5-ton AC system 240 V, 17.9 A, Air handler 3.3 A
Determine the total general lighting and receptacle load by calculating the general lighting load, the small-appliance branch circuit load, and the laundry-branch circuit load. Apply any demand factor as applicable. Show your calculations in the word-processing document you created for your answers.
Determine the total fixed-in-place appliance load. Show your calculations in the word-processing document you created for your answers.
Determine the line and the neutral load for the dryer circuit in this residence. Show your calculations in the word-processing document you created for your answers.
Determine the line and the neutral load for the range in this residence. Show your calculations in the word-processing document you created for your answers.
Determine the total AC load for the HVAC system in this residence. Show your calculations in the word-processing document you created for your answers.
Determine the largest motor load for this residence. Do not consider the AC unit as a motor load. Show your calculations in the word-processing document you created for your answers.
Based on your calculations for questions 1–6, determine the total demand in VA for this residence, the minimum service size, and the minimum conductor sizes (THW) for the ungrounded and grounding electrode conductors (assume the neutral conductor to be the same as the ungrounded conductor). Show your calculations in the word-processing document you created for your answers.
Part 2: Residential Room Wiring
Now that you’ve completed your load calculations and determined service size for a single-family dwelling, you’ll move to Part 2 of this project, which will examine the wiring requirements for three basic residential room types: general living space (living rooms, dens, family rooms), a kitchen, and a bathroom.
General Living Space
To begin Part 2 of your project, you’ll examine some general living space, one of the most basic wiring assignments in a home. The figure illustrates some wiring that’s found in a typical living room. Study this diagram carefully and review the NEC codes that apply to this type of room. Note that several outlets are shown in the figure. These outlets are typically used for lighting and simple appliances, such as entertainment systems and computers. The placement of the outlets in the room is important. Once you’ve reviewed the NEC articles that apply to this room, answer the following questions.
An image of a living room diagramUse this living room diagram to answer Questions 8–14.
Which article of the NEC describes the proper placement of outlets in this type of room?
Part 1: According to the NEC. what’s the maximum wall space allowed between two adjacent outlets?
Part 2: How large must a wall space be to require an outlet?
Part 3: Should an outlet located at seven feet up the wall from the floor, used to power a light fixture, be included in wall-space requirement?
If the outlets in this room are supplied by a single 15 A or 20 A circuit, what’s the maximum current that can be supplied (in amps) to a cord-and-plug connected load?
Indicate which of the following items are considered to be wall space by the NEC. and which items aren’t considered to be wall space:
Fixed glass panel
Sliding segment of glass door
Wall space less than one foot wide
Wall space three feet wide
Part 1: In the figure of the general living space, note that a switch is located close to the door. This switch operates an overhead light fixture. This arrangement is a requirement of the NEC. Which article of the NEC covers this regulation for a room of this type?
Part 2: Other than the switch shown in the figure, what alternative method can be used to meet the NEC requirement?
If the branch circuits supplying the receptacles in the figure are rated at 20 A, what’s the minimum ampacity rating of the conductors in the branch circuit?
According to the NEC. how many branch circuits that supply the general living space shown in the figure are required to be GFCI-protected?
Now, you’ll apply your knowledge of the NEC to a simple kitchen layout. This figure shows some wiring in a typical kitchen found in a single-family dwelling. Electrical circuits in kitchens supply current to small appliances, electric ranges, dishwashers, and refrigerators as well as lighting and general branch-circuit outlets.
The NEC is very specific about the installation of wiring in kitchen areas. Study the wiring carefully and look up the codes that apply to this situation in your NEC codebook. Then, answer the following questions.
An image of a kitchen diagramUse this figure to answer Questions 15–27.
What section of the NEC covers the use of GFCI-protected outlets in a residential kitchen?
How many of the outlets shown in the figure are required to be GFCI-protected by the NEC? Identify the location of the outlets you selected on the figure.
What’s the maximum distance that can separate the two outlets located to the right of the sink in the figure?
The outlets along the countertop are to be used for small appliances. What’s the minimum number of branch circuits that would be needed to supply just these small-appliance outlets?
Part 1: What’s the maximum distance (in feet) that the receptacle intended for the refrigerator can be from that appliance?
Part 2: Name two common kitchen appliances that may require receptacle locations to be closer than required by 210.50 due to restrictions on cord lengths.
What’s the minimum circuit protection (in amps) and wire size needed for each of the required small-appliance circuits?
In the figure, note that an electrical outlet is shown on the island in the kitchen area. Is this outlet required by the NEC. or does it represent an NEC violation? Briefly explain your answer.
Look again at the island counter in the kitchen. If the countertop above the outlet were extended 12 inches beyond the base of the cabinet to allow bar-stool seating at the counter, would that change the NEC status of the outlet? Briefly explain your answer.
Suppose a built-in dishwasher is to be installed in this kitchen. Does the NEC allow the dishwasher to be connected to the existing small-appliance circuits?
Can any of the receptacles required for the countertop space be mounted in the actual countertop? Cite an NEC section and condition to support your answer.
Does the NEC allow the lighting circuit for a kitchen to be attached to the small-appliance circuits?
What’s the maximum height that the outlets on either side of the sink can be installed above the countertop surface?
If the distance between the outlets on either side of the range in the figure is less than four feet, are both outlets required per the NEC? Briefly explain your answer.
You’ve worked through the general living area and the kitchen, and next you’ll look at the electrical wiring of a small residential bathroom. The figure shows some wiring that’s to be installed in a bathroom. Study the wiring shown in the figure carefully, and review the NEC articles that apply in these situations. Once you’ve reviewed the appropriate articles, answer the following questions about this wiring diagram.
An image of a bathroom diagramUse this bathroom diagram to answer Questions 28–34
What section of the NEC covers the use of GFCI-protected outlets in a residential bathroom?
How many of the outlets shown are required to be GFCI-protected by the NEC? Specify which outlets.
In what situation would the NEC allow any one of the outlets in this bathroom to supply power to an outlet in another room?
The receptacle near the basin in the figure can be mounted on the countertop and, if a listed assembly, in the countertop. In what position may the receptacle not be mounted?
Look again at the receptacle near the basin. What’s the maximum distance the outlet can be from the outside edge of the basin?
You’re rewiring the bathroom shown in the figure as part of a remodeling project. The customer requests a GFCI receptacle on the back wall of the bathtub area, five feet from the top edge of the tub. Should you comply with the customer request? Cite an NEC section to support your answer.
Does the NEC allow the lighting circuit in the bathroom to be connected to the same circuit as the outlet receptacles?
Part 3: Branch-Circuit Sizing
You’ve had a chance to test your skills at load calculations and service sizing, as you’ve just completed your evaluation of some basic room wiring. The next important skill you’ll practice is the proper sizing of the various branch circuits that feed specialized equipment, such as ranges and water heaters.
In this part of your project, you’ll determine the proper size of the branch circuits for three wiring scenarios involving cooking equipment.
As you work through this exercise, show all of your calculations in your word processor document. To receive credit for the questions, you must show exactly how you arrived at each solution.
Example 1: Suppose that you’re working in a home that has a 15 kW oven that operates on 240 V. The oven is on a branch circuit by itself, as shown in the figure.
An image of a panel box and an ovenUse this circuit diagram to answer Questions 35–36
What’s the demand load for this circuit? (Again, show all of your calculations in your word-processing document.)
What size TW copper conductor should be used for the branch circuit? (Show all of your calculations in your word-processing document.)
Example 2: Suppose that you’re working in a kitchen that contains one 8 kW, counter-mounted cooking unit and two 6 kW wall-mounted ovens. All three appliances are served by the same 240 V branch circuit. This situation is illustrated in the following figure.
An image of a branch circuit with cooktop and two wall ovensUse this branch circuit diagram to answer Questions 37–38.
What would be the demand load for this branch circuit? (Show all of your calculations in your word-processing document.)
What’s the minimum-size TW copper conductor that should be used for this branch circuit? (Show all of your calculations in your word-processing document.)
Example 3: Suppose that you’re working in a building that contains commercial kitchen equipment. The kitchen contains three 3 kW ovens, a 20 kW water heater, and a 3 kW deep fryer, as shown in the figure.
An image of kitchen appliances with kW ratingsUse this diagram to answer Question 39.
What would be the demand load for all of these items? (Show all of your calculations in your word-processing document.)
Part 4: Determining Receptacle Locations
In this exercise, you’ll evaluate the floor plan for a living room in a typical home and determine the proper locations for the electrical outlets in the room. The NEC covers not only the electrical wiring of devices, but also (in many cases) the proper location for each device.
An image of a living room diagram with wall dimensions labeledUse this living room diagram to complete Part 4.
Look at the Living Room figure shown here. Imagine that you want to install in this room the minimum number of outlets required by the NEC. To complete the exercise, you’ll need to determine the minimum number of outlets needed for this room. You’ll also need to indicate the correct locations for their installation.
Mark the location of the outlets directly on the figure. To do so, print this resource and mark the outlets on the figure, then scan the page.
To receive full credit for this exercise, you’ll need to do four things:
Indicate the location of each outlet in the figure by using the appropriate symbol
Indicate the distance that the outlet should be placed along the adjoining wall
Show how the branch circuit(s) would be connected
Indicate the proper spacing between outlets to meet NEC code requirements
Keep in mind that there are several different ways that this job can be done correctly. However, remember that you’re trying to install the minimum number of outlets. Therefore, you may have to try several different patterns to determine which configuration uses the minimum number of outlets. (Try sketching your ideas on scrap paper first; then, mark your final answers directly on the figure.)
Part 5: NEC Violations
Part 5 of your NEC project will be similar to previous exercises in that you’ll be asked to evaluate simple electrical wiring diagrams. However, these diagrams will contain NEC violations. It will be your job to locate and identify the code violations.
For example, suppose that you’re looking at a kitchen wiring diagram and notice that GFCI outlets weren’t placed near the sink. Well, the NEC requires that any outlet near water must be fitted with a GFCI outlet for protection from electrical shock. For the exercise, you would recognize that this installation violates the NEC. You would then describe the violation and reference the article or section of the NEC that supports your answer.
The best approach to completing this exercise is to look over the illustrations in the project very carefully, paying attention to each and every detail. Then, use your knowledge of the NEC to check each circuit shown. Checking each circuit in an organized manner is the fastest and easiest way to complete the project.
Now you’re ready to begin this part of your project. Carefully study the wiring diagrams shown for question 40. At least one NEC violation is shown in each diagram. Identify and describe each violation. You’ll also need to indicate which article of the NEC is involved in the violation.
To be sure that you understand how this exercise works, one example has been completed for you. The figure for Part 1 of Question 40 shows a typical residential bathroom. As you can see in the figure, the outlet receptacle next to the basin isn’t GFCI-protected. This is a violation of the NEC. (Article 210.8(A)(1) indicates that all electrical outlets in bathroom areas must have GFCI protection.) So, you would describe the problem as shown for Part 1 of Question 40.
Review the figures, note all NEC violations in each one, and determine which NEC article has been violated. Organize your answers into a table like the one shown here. Note that the first part has been completed as an example.
Question Part Description of the NEC Violation NEC Article Violated
Part 1 Outlet not GFCI-protected Article 210.8(A)(1)
An image of a bathroom diagramThis figure was used to answer Part 1 in the table.
An image of a master bedroom diagramUse this figure to answer Part 2 in the table.
An image of a side-by-side bathroom diagramUse this figure to answer Part 3 in the table.
An image of a bedroom diagramUse this figure to answer Part 4 in the table.
An image of a kitchen diagram Use this figure to answer Part 5 in the table.