Electrical Questions and Concerns

What electrical work can I do that doesn't require a building permit?

You can do minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles, section R105.2, I.R.C.

I'm remodeling my master bath and have decided to add a ceiling mounted pendent (hanging) light fixture above my bath tub. Is there any code regulation that prohibits this?

Yes. No parts of cord-connected (light) fixtures, chains-, cables-, or cord-suspended fixtures, lighting tracks, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall be located within 3 feet horizontal and 8 feet vertical from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold, reference section E4003.11, I.R.C.

I am installing recessed lighting fixtures in my ceiling and need to know if they have to be "IC-rated" and labeled?

Yes. In reference to section N1102.4.4, I.R.C., only listed and labeled “IC-rated” recessed light fixtures are allowed.

To encourage energy efficient "hot water on demand", some jurisdictions require an electrical receptacle outlet under each bathroom lavatory. Is this a requirement in your City?

Yes. The City has amended the code to require a 125-volt, 15 ampere-rated GFCI receptacle outlet in an accessible location under each bathroom lavatory to allow for the operation of a point-of-service hot water re-circulating pump. Note: If a central hot water re-circulating pump is installed at the time of the "final inspection," the outlets will not be required. See City amended section E3901.6, I.R.C.

I'm in the process of adding a living room addition to my residence and have a very short wall section only 2 1/2 feet wide between two arched openings that lead into the living space. I was told I need a wall receptacle outlet located within that 2 1/2 foot wide wall space, is that true?

Yes. Any wall space, in a living room, family room, dining room, bedroom, recreation room, den, sun room, or similar room of a dwelling unit, must comply with the receptacle outlet distribution spacing requirements of section E3901.2, I.R.C. This includes the requirement that any wall space 2 feet or more in width (including wall space measured around corners) must have a receptacle outlet.

I'm rebuilding/remodeling an exterior wall in my family room which will contain five (5) 3-foot wide x 8-foot high fixed (tempered) windows with a window sill that is within 6 inches of the floor. I have no wall space to add receptacle outlets in compliance with Section E3901.2, I.R.C. Am I exempt from the receptacle spacing regulation?

No. When wall space is not available a listed floor receptacle(s) (within 18 inches of the wall) must be added. The location of this added floor receptacle(s) must comply with sections E3901.2.1 and E3901.2.3, I.R.C.

I'm redesigning my kitchen counter layout and will end up with a small 18-inch wide section of counter top at one end of my refrigerator. Do I need a receptacle outlet here to serve this small counter section?

Yes. A receptacle outlet shall be installed at each wall counter space 12 inches or wider. ***Please note: This 20-ampere receptacle outlet must be ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) protected, sections E3901.4.1 and E3902.6, I.R.C.

I want to change an already existing portion of my residence to include a bedroom. I know I need a building permit and must submit to the City construction drawings and documents. In preparing the new proposed floor plan layout, are there are any nonstructural life safety code issues I should cover in my design?

Yes. The following code regulation must be addressed:

  • The new bedroom must have an "emergency escape and rescue" window or door directly to the building's exterior, (along with a window well and a fixed in-place ladder, if located in the basement) in compliance with section R310.1., I.R.C.
  • Hard-wired, interconnected with battery back-up smoke alarms will be required in compliance with section R314, I.R.C. ***Please note: The new bedroom and adjacent hallway smoke alarms need to be interconnected with complying smoke alarms throughout the existing dwelling unit, see exceptions, section R314, I.R.C.
  • If the residence has an attached garage or contains fuel-fired appliances, carbon monoxide alarms installed outside of the new bedroom and all other existing bedrooms are required, section R315.3, I.R.C.
  • The electrical outlets in the new bedroom must be arc-fault circuit-interrupter protected (combination type), in compliance with section E3902.12, I.R.C.
  • Any existing interior gas-fired applicances (gas-fired furnace and/or hot water heater) can not be located in, nor be in a space that opens only into the new bedroom. See section G2406.2, I.R.C., for exceptions.

My A/C unit circuit breaker periodically trips. What is wrong?

You need to consult with your heating/ventilation/air-conditioning (HVAC) service contractor/installer. It could be that the circuit breaker amperage size doesn’t match the amperage rating as identified on the A/C unit.