National Electrical Codes You Should Follow
Updated every three years, the National Electrical Codes are not laws but standards that are adopted at the state level. When these codes are not used in a state in which they have been mandated, it can become a legal issue.
They are in place for a reason – to guarantee that you and your property are protected from electrical hazards. It’s always important to check out the National Electrical Code® (NEC®) for the most recent updates, which were formalized in late 2022 and went into effect in 2023.
The most recent NEC® was issued in 2022. Here are some key changes to note!
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), key changes focused on ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and arc-fault interrupters (AFCIs). Read below for more details on GFCIs and AFCIs.
New technologies were also part of the changes to requirements in 2023 to address “emerging electrical issues.” The NFPA lists:
- Cybersecurity for network-connected life safety equipment
- Wireless power transfer of electric vehicles
- Installation of photovoltaic (PV) arrays on bodies of water
- Installation of wiring systems and equipment, including utilization equipment, of Class 4 fault-managed power
There are several updates to know for marinas, swimming pools, and floating docks. All of these updates are made with security and safety of the users in mind based on the latest technologies. The code updates are complex and divided into many sections that specify voltage, amps, and other details.
Significant Changes Made in 2020 to Know:
Surge protection is required for dwelling units.
Surge protection guards against power surges, like lightning strikes or issues with transformers, which not only knock out the power, but also can cause extensive – and expensive – damage to your electrical system and equipment. Power surges are defined as sudden, brief spikes in voltage, typically very strong and detrimental to your home’s electrical system.
Read more about suitable types of surge protection.
As more and more homeowners are investing in Smart Home technology, surge protection is even more of a necessity. Smart home technology can make our lives easier and more comfortable, if it works! Whole home surge protection can keep your power running AND protect your investment.
Watch our video on the importance of Smart Home Surge Protection HERE!
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection is required in all 125-150-volt supplied by single-phase branch circuits.
GFCIs play an important role in electrical safety, helping to protect you from shock. Electricity is always trying to find a way to the ground, and sometimes the most direct route is through a human being. GFCIs constantly monitor the current running through a circuit. The GFCI cuts off power the moment that the level of current returning from the circuit drops below the level going out, which is an indicator that electricity is trying to escape to the ground and/or anything in its way…like a person.
Read more about limiting the danger of electrocution with GFCIs.
Outdoor emergency disconnects are required for new construction, home renovation and home service replacement.
This is especially important because it helps first responders to respond to emergencies without the threat of electrical harm.
It’s also always a good idea to remember these oldies but (necessary!) goodies!
Install Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs).
In addition to GFCIs, AFCIs are also important in ensuring the safety of your home. Arcing refers to the act of electricity jumping from one connection to another. This “jump” can reach incredibly high temperatures, which in turn can burn off the insulation around wires providing a path for the electricity to get into your home – resulting in sparks and fire. If your outlet is buzzing, this could be a sign of arcing and should be addressed immediately.
AFCIs continuously monitor possible arcing anomalies or faults that could result in sparks or fire.
Both GFCIs and AFCIs go along way in improving the electrical safety of your home. Think about adding Combination GFCI/AFCI breakers for double the protection.
Read our blog about GFCI/AFI combination breakers.
Equip your home with Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRRs) to keep your young ones safe.
TRRs are the best way to childproof outlets in the home. Whereas children can easily remove plastic outlet caps (which also can be a choking concern), TRRs have a built-in safety shutter that blocks objects from being inserted into the outlet/receptacle.
Having enough receptables is not only more convenient and less messy, but it’s safer.
As we add gadgets (lamps, laptops, smart phones, tablets, etc.) to our lives, this doesn’t mean that we should use more extension cords, which are meant for temporary use. In fact, when extension cords are overloaded or are connected to appliances that can’t handle the power load, they can overheat and cause fires. Having the right number of outlets to compete and handle your power usage is more likely to keep your power on, running smoothly and correctly, and reduces the chance of electrical fire.
Add USB outlets to reduce the use of extension cords.
Please refer to the NEC® 2020 for more details. *
The NEC® is updated every three years and has been adopted in all 50 states. There have been 15 revisions since the code’s inception in 1977. That’s 43 years of sound electrical safety advice! Approximately 51,000 electrical fires occur in the home each year, resulting in an estimated 500 deaths. Therefore, it’s important to educate yourself on the code. It may save your home; it may event save your life.
If you’re in need of electrical repair or updates to your home – or if you’re uncertain about whether or not your home is up to code – contact Mister Sparky! One of “America’s On-Time Electricians” will be sure to help you out.
For more information, check out these helpful resources:
Order the NEC 2023 Book for all the details.