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Posted: 12/16/2016 1:43:07 AM EST
Fire dept checked the school I work at today and said the ceiling mounted retractable extension cords must be unplugged from the in ceiling outlet daily. Any truth to this? If not can anyone point me to some evidence I can argue back with? I don't really see the point because if the other end of the cord isn't plugged into anything no electrons will be flowing down the cord anyway right?
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 1:54:48 AM EST
Had a couple fire inspectors at our warehouse/office over the years. Every single inspector is entirely different and you wont get a single thing the same. From my experience its whatever the damn inspector wants you to do regardless of sense. I have nothing against women but we had ONE woman inspector one year and she was the WORST. She made companies do crap that made no sense, a couple square miles in each direction had to do the same crap that she deemed neccissary and when id see it i'd laugh and ask them about "melissa". Called a friend whom was also a fire inspector for the same dept. and he said there was basically nothing to do other than bark up her supervisors tree which wouldnt yeild any results because shes a woman and the supervisor probably could correct her or anything because of her gender.

If you got written up for it, just make sure theyre unplugged when the inspector comes to reinspect. Chances are they wont come back for such a small thing.
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 1:55:40 AM EST
Can you just pull the breaker?
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 2:12:11 AM EST
Fire inspectors hate extension cords. I'm sure they have a reason, because it's one of only two things that every fire inspection will be guaranteed to look for. The other is the date on your fire extinguisher servicing.

Being "permanent" equipment they may allow you to hard wire the ceiling connection. Im guessing this is for the schools theatre or shop. Not a school, but I run an art studio and our current inspector is ok with a few "extension" cords as long as they are the thick rubber coated appliance whip style of cord and they have to be hard wired. No commercially made extension cords allowed regardless of gauge.


But as usual, FPNI... every inspector has their own set of rules.

Link Posted: 12/16/2016 2:27:13 AM EST
Don't know if there is any truth to this, but I rebuilt a house that caught fire were a wound up plugged in extension was. Fire inspector said it creates an electro magnet making the wire heat up burning the insulation.
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 2:32:52 AM EST
How is it different from a coiled extension cord plugged into the wall running all the power tools?
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 2:55:14 AM EST
fuck the fire code

with that said, your last sentence would be a good arguement I believe. If the inspector still says no appeal in writing to the actual Fire Marshall.

If that all fails you should be able to hard wire the retractable cord.
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 3:36:47 AM EST
your inspectors are being assholes.  

as a FF/ Building codes inspector... I will usually harp on just regular extension cords laying on the floor.   the rule is basically this - extension cords are not to be in place of fixed wiring, and only be used on a temporary basis  (thats at least how I role)  

IE:  extension cords used to run a fridge that doesn't move, or a desk with computer stuff etc.   ill let slide things like temporary decorations or an AC window unit (will eventually be pulled out)


the coiled extension cord reels i usually leave alone....   a better more permanent fix would be hard wiring the other end into a box.  would take much since theres likely a box right there where the cord end is plugged into. 


some places are strict by the book and others are so far past soft its pointless to even have a codes division....  i try my hardest to ride the middle and see it as a case by case basis.... these people pay my salary i keep that in mind...
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 6:03:41 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ydididothis:
Don't know if there is any truth to this, but I rebuilt a house that caught fire were a wound up plugged in extension was. Fire inspector said it creates an electro magnet making the wire heat up burning the insulation.
View Quote


If you coil up a long extension cord and pull a heavy load through it for a long time it will heat up. A friend of mine works fleet maintenance for a village and their entire shop burned down a few years ago. They believe the cause was a coiled extension cord that was plugged into a truck's block heater.

Link Posted: 12/16/2016 6:33:59 AM EST
Ask them how they keep the fire trucks plugged in all day?






Hint: every fire station uses cord reels.
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 6:46:46 AM EST
In a previous life I used to service fire extinguishers so I had several run-ins with the local Fire Inspectors. My favorite was when I showed up to install new extinguishers and the property owner said "the fire inspector is here and he wants to see you, now". Ok. I walked around the corner and the owner introduces me expecting I am about to get my head chewed off. "Hey XXX, how is your mom and dad doing? I haven't seen them in years." "Can you make sure that X gets done before I issue this permit? Thanks. Tell your dad I said Hi." The owner had gotten reamed hard for some other work that was being done and he wanted to spread the love.

I had another inspector trying to tell a property owner that they could not use a specific fire extinguisher on his property. The inspector had stated that a specific rating was required. The property owner asked our opinion and we suggested a larger rating due to the work they were doing with flammable materials. The inspector threatened to shut the guy down unless the "proper" rated extinguisher was installed. In front of the owner I asked the inspector to show me the code section that required his specified rating. He hemmed and hawed and said stupid stuff about how he was right. I pulled out my copy of the code and showed him that his rating was the minimum and that larger was permitted. He did not understand how the ratings worked and was making shit up as he went along. I never really had any problems with that inspector from then on.

OP, check to see if putting the reels on a separate switched circuit and hard wire them in would suffice. If you can turn them off by flipping the breaker or switch it should not matter if they are plugged in at night.
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 6:47:34 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By TrainSafe:
Ask them how they keep the fire trucks plugged in all day?<img src=http://www.ar15.com/images/smilies/smiley_abused.gif border=0 align=middle>Hint: every fire station uses cord reels.
View Quote


This...
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 6:57:43 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Shott8283:
a better more permanent fix would be hard wiring the other end into a box.  would take much since theres likely a box right there where the cord end is plugged into. 
View Quote


Which voids the UL listing on the retractable cord reel.

Inspector is wrong. Cord reels are not being used in place of permanent building wiring.

Is the inspector not required to cite a code section? In most states that's actually the only thing they are required to do. Asking for the code section should not ruffle any feathers. Tell them your insurance company is asking.
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 7:08:12 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Glassaholic:
Fire inspectors hate extension cords. I'm sure they have a reason, because it's one of only two things that every fire inspection will be guaranteed to look for. The other is the date on your fire extinguisher servicing.

Being "permanent" equipment they may allow you to hard wire the ceiling connection. Im guessing this is for the schools theatre or shop. Not a school, but I run an art studio and our current inspector is ok with a few "extension" cords as long as they are the thick rubber coated appliance whip style of cord and they have to be hard wired. No commercially made extension cords allowed regardless of gauge.


But as usual, FPNI... every inspector has their own set of rules.
View Quote


They also hate extension cords lying on the ground and will bitch about and write that up as well. Or was that the state safety inspector who said the shop should have drop down power cords?
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 7:24:05 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 7:26:49 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/16/2016 7:30:46 AM EST by krpind]
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 7:34:08 AM EST

Just remember, there's a reason that they're actually called AHJs rather than Inspectors.

Authorities Having Jurisdiction.

Link Posted: 12/16/2016 10:12:53 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By krpind:


Components that use SO cord as the feed wire should not be hardwired in. This is crazy this is a thread today because I'm having to rewire parts of my shop that was built in the 80's. The electrician used SO cord to jump from the junction boxes to at least two set of florescence lights. It was covered in spray foam so I couldn't even tell.

I'll add the pics of the so cord in another post. the insulation just falls off the wire if you flex the wire. It doesn't age well and will get old and crack. That is why you never want it to be permanent.
View Quote

What are you replacing it with?
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 10:18:43 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 10:21:00 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By USNDOC:

OP, check to see if putting the reels on a separate switched circuit and hard wire them in would suffice. If you can turn them off by flipping the breaker or switch it should not matter if they are plugged in at night.
View Quote


Or would he take plugging them into a mechanical time control would be cheapest
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 10:22:35 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ydididothis:
Don't know if there is any truth to this, but I rebuilt a house that caught fire were a wound up plugged in extension was. Fire inspector said it creates an electro magnet making the wire heat up burning the insulation.
View Quote


I could see the point in this if, and only if, the circuit were closed - with something plugged into the cord reel and being used.

Otherwise, electricity doesn't ever see or reach the cord reel, while it is unused and an open circuit.

A.W.D.
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 10:32:42 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 10:39:09 AM EST
A bunch of guys already touched on it.

Extension cords shall not be used in place of permanent wiring.  I am pretty sure that's the national standard with regards to building or electrical codes (I am not an electrician). I will write a notice of violation when I see extension cords plugged into non portable items.  Refer, computers, tv, table saw, etc.

I will not write an NOV if the cord is plugged into radios, hand drills, hand saws, etc.

sounds like your inspector is either dumb or breaking balls.  I would look up your local code and appeal it citing the code itself.
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 10:39:13 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By krpind:


It doesn't make sense. Either the cord is rated for that use or it isn't. If it isn't rated for use in a reel, the reels shouldn't even be in use.
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By krpind:
Originally Posted By Wiz-of-Awd:
Originally Posted By ydididothis:
Don't know if there is any truth to this, but I rebuilt a house that caught fire were a wound up plugged in extension was. Fire inspector said it creates an electro magnet making the wire heat up burning the insulation.


I could see the point in this if, and only if, the circuit were closed - with something plugged into the cord reel and being used.

Otherwise, electricity doesn't ever see or reach the cord reel, while it is unused and an open circuit.

A.W.D.


It doesn't make sense. Either the cord is rated for that use or it isn't. If it isn't rated for use in a reel, the reels shouldn't even be in use.


Yeah, it doesn't really, but I imagine inspectors and fire related folks do have a special bit of hate for extension cords of all types. Mostly due to stupid people using them in an unsafe manner.

A.W.D.
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 10:42:16 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Subcanis:
Can you just pull the breaker?
View Quote


Because that's easier and safer? You have gotta mean turn off the breaker, right?
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 10:44:25 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Orion_Shall_Rise:
Or would he take plugging them into a mechanical time control would be cheapest
View Quote


That would be my thought. I have 2 very heavy duty reels in my home garage, so no inspections. I put them on switches.
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 10:59:17 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/16/2016 11:01:01 AM EST by Madcap72]
While I won't say it's true in this particular case, I learned a lot about what inspectors look for in commercial buildings in my area is predicated of occupant and firefighter safety. Their rational might be that if a fire happens, its one less energy source to zap people Who knows. 

As mentioned earlier in the thread, they seem to have a hard on for extension cords. 
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 11:19:19 AM EST
I hope you don't mind be butting in here.

I needed a second 220 outlet in my garage near the main door. This was to allow me to weld outside the garage. I had a 220 extension cord laying around. This thing is 1 1/4" diameter with 8 gauge wires. I ran it between the studs and over to the wall I needed it. Permanent install. The circuit has its own breaker.

When I hired a electrician to do so more he said it was nit up to code. That I would have to install romex wire. The romex wire is only 12 gauge with less insulation. Is this a true statement?
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 11:19:53 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/16/2016 11:21:47 AM EST by FFMedic]
Here is the law:

(5) 605.5 Extension cords. Extension cords and flexible cords shall not be a substitute for permanent wiring. Extension cords and flexible cords shall not be affixed to structures, extended through walls, ceilings or floors, or under doors or floor coverings, nor shall such cords be subject to environmental damage or physical impact. Extension cords shall be used only with portable appliances.

(a) 605.5.1 Power supply. Extension cords shall be plugged directly into an approved receptacle, power tap or multiplug adapter and, except for approved multiplug extension cords, shall serve only one portable appliance.

(b) 605.5.2 Ampacity. The ampacity of the extension cords shall not be less than the rated capacity of the portable appliance supplied by the cord.

(c) 605.5.3 Maintenance. Extension cords shall be maintained in good condition without splices, deterioration or damage.

(d) 605.5.4 Grounding. Extension cords shall be grounded when serving grounded portable appliances.

And here is your out:

(9) 605.9 Temporary wiring. Temporary wiring for electrical power and lighting installations is allowed for a period not to exceed 90 days. Temporary wiring methods shall meet the applicable provisions of NFPA 70 as listed in rule 1301:7-7-47 of the Administrative Code.

Exception: Temporary wiring for electrical power and lighting installations is allowed during periods of construction, remodeling, repair or demolition of buildings, structures, equipment or similar activities.

(a) 605.9.1 Attachment to structures. Temporary wiring attached to a structure shall be attached in an approved manner.

You did unplug the cord reels once in the last 90 days didn't you? Are you renovating the room they are in?
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 11:27:07 AM EST
The obvious fix is to run an extension cord from the ceiling to the floor, then another extension cord from the floor back to the reel. This makes unplugging the reel easy.
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 11:29:26 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Kubota3430:
fuck the fire code.
View Quote


You heard it first in Oakland.........
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 11:31:36 AM EST
Are the outlets in the ceiling GFCI?

The bigger worry (to me) is someone standing on wet/damp concrete and using an electrical device that's plugged into an outlet that not GFCI protected. The old code allowed outlets over a certain height to be standard. The code was changed and one of the reasons was due to the retractable reels
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 11:31:38 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 11:32:20 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Glassaholic:
Fire inspectors hate extension cords. I'm sure they have a reason, because it's one of only two things that every fire inspection will be guaranteed to look for. The other is the date on your fire extinguisher servicing.

Being "permanent" equipment they may allow you to hard wire the ceiling connection. Im guessing this is for the schools theatre or shop. Not a school, but I run an art studio and our current inspector is ok with a few "extension" cords as long as they are the thick rubber coated appliance whip style of cord and they have to be hard wired. No commercially made extension cords allowed regardless of gauge.


But as usual, FPNI... every inspector has their own set of rules.
View Quote


This. I'd look at removing the outlet they're plugged into and installing a box instead for permanent wiring. You should take a look at NEC and talk to them about it. Cheap and easy.
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 11:35:21 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By TrainSafe:
Ask them how they keep the fire trucks plugged in all day?<img src=http://www.ar15.com/images/smilies/smiley_abused.gif border=0 align=middle>Hint: every fire station uses cord reels.
View Quote


Link Posted: 12/16/2016 11:36:27 AM EST
We had the same complaint from the fire inspector. He allowed us to put a wall mounted, key operated switch on the wall that energized the ceiling cords so long as we only turned them on when needed.

He'll stand there and bitch about that stuff while staring right at multiple firewall penetrations without fire stop containing PVC jacketed wire.
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 11:43:40 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By dillehayd:


This. I'd look at removing the outlet they're plugged into and installing a box instead for permanent wiring. You should take a look at NEC and talk to them about it. Cheap and easy.
View Quote View All Quotes
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By dillehayd:
Originally Posted By Glassaholic:
Fire inspectors hate extension cords. I'm sure they have a reason, because it's one of only two things that every fire inspection will be guaranteed to look for. The other is the date on your fire extinguisher servicing.

Being "permanent" equipment they may allow you to hard wire the ceiling connection. Im guessing this is for the schools theatre or shop. Not a school, but I run an art studio and our current inspector is ok with a few "extension" cords as long as they are the thick rubber coated appliance whip style of cord and they have to be hard wired. No commercially made extension cords allowed regardless of gauge.


But as usual, FPNI... every inspector has their own set of rules.


This. I'd look at removing the outlet they're plugged into and installing a box instead for permanent wiring. You should take a look at NEC and talk to them about it. Cheap and easy.

If the extension cord reel is UL listed and ships with a plug attached to it, it cannot be hardwired. Modifying any part of a UL listed item voids that listing.
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 11:50:51 AM EST
Cord reels should be fully extended when in use.

Especially with heavy loads.

And do not allow the cord to coil back on itself.

There is a very small leakage current as long as voltage is applied to the cord even with no other load on the cord.

Unless the cord is old and the insulation is already starting to fail it is not an issue.

I made ground support equipment for aircraft electronics for 35+ years.

All cordage was general;y inspected every month for wear and damage.

Using any cordage in a concealed location in place of permanent wiring is an invitation to trouble.

There are real reasons that lamps and other fixtures have metal tubing to contain cordage.

When was the last time you even checked the zip cord behind the couch for the end table light?








Link Posted: 12/16/2016 4:26:22 PM EST
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Originally Posted By brian4wd:


You heard it first in Oakland.........
View Quote



that was more than just a fire code issue
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 4:31:17 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By brian4wd:


You heard it first in Oakland.........
View Quote View All Quotes
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By brian4wd:
Originally Posted By Kubota3430:
fuck the fire code.


You heard it first in Oakland.........




Link Posted: 12/16/2016 4:33:26 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Kubota3430:



that was more than just a fire code issue
View Quote View All Quotes
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Kubota3430:
Originally Posted By brian4wd:


You heard it first in Oakland.........



that was more than just a fire code issue


Agreed but it sure sounds like extension cords/electrical issues could be contributing factor along with the general attitude of "fuck fire/building codes"
Link Posted: 12/16/2016 4:34:51 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By rjbergen:

If the extension cord reel is UL listed and ships with a plug attached to it, it cannot be hardwired. Modifying any part of a UL listed item voids that listing.
View Quote


It's amazing how many people don't understand that. Even in the industry.


Link Posted: 12/16/2016 4:39:43 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By TrainSafe:
Ask them how they keep the fire trucks plugged in all day?<img src=http://www.ar15.com/images/smilies/smiley_abused.gif border=0 align=middle>Hint: every fire station uses cord reels.
View Quote


Yep. And every station has at least one driver who has dragged one of those cords to the scene when the auto eject didn't work. I always pulled the plug myself before I got in the driver's seat.
Link Posted: 12/17/2016 12:24:24 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/17/2016 12:26:01 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/17/2016 12:27:28 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/17/2016 8:53:02 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By scuba_steve:


Yep. And every station has at least one driver who has dragged one of those cords to the scene when the auto eject didn't work. I always pulled the plug myself before I got in the driver's seat. <img src=http://www.ar15.com/images/smilies/icon_smile_wink.gif border=0 align=middle>
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Luckily fire stations are exempted from the fire code
Link Posted: 12/17/2016 9:11:30 AM EST
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Originally Posted By FFMedic:



Luckily fire stations are exempted from the fire code <img src=http://www.ar15.com/images/smilies/icon_smile_blush.gif border=0 align=middle>
View Quote



I have been dispatched to a structure fire at the address of the fire station I was in. It's pretty confusing when you get woken up by the tones in the middle of the night and dispatch has given you your own address. Wait, what was that fucking address?
Link Posted: 12/17/2016 9:22:51 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/17/2016 9:28:23 AM EST by Frank_B]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ydididothis:
Don't know if there is any truth to this, but I rebuilt a house that caught fire were a wound up plugged in extension was. Fire inspector said it creates an electro magnet making the wire heat up burning the insulation.
View Quote

That's incorrect because the magnetic field cancels itself out. However, if the cord is operated near it's free air limit, it will overheat if coiled up. Wires or cables laid in bunches (cable trays) or pulled in conduit have to be de-rated because of heat build-up. The reel itself should have a current rating, and would probably be less from that of the cord.
Link Posted: 12/17/2016 9:56:55 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By krpind:
https://www.AR15.Com/media/mediaFiles/52805/image-108617.jpg

The SO cord would just crumble as I flexed it. That cut wire was in a junction box that was covered in 40 year old spray foam. The other end that was in the light fixture was even worse.

Always make people use plugs on SO cord and never install that stuff permanently. Even buying the good stuff will not work because eventually it will fail like the wire in my building. <img src=http://www.ar15.com/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle>
View Quote



This doesn't bode well for my wanting to be an electrician, but I looked up SO cord and it doesn't look like anything special. What is it, and what's wrong with it?
Link Posted: 12/17/2016 10:00:27 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By fighter443:
A bunch of guys already touched on it.

Extension cords shall not be used in place of permanent wiring.  I am pretty sure that's the national standard with regards to building or electrical codes (I am not an electrician). I will write a notice of violation when I see extension cords plugged into non portable items.  Refer, computers, tv, table saw, etc.

I will not write an NOV if the cord is plugged into radios, hand drills, hand saws, etc.

sounds like your inspector is either dumb or breaking balls.  I would look up your local code and appeal it citing the code itself.
View Quote


Why the hate for appliances plugged into those?. I could understand 16ga lamp cord extension cords, but 12-14ga would seem to be adequate in a tight receptacle.
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