An Overview of the Latest NEC Changes
John: Good morning and thank you for attending another TPC training webinar series. Today, we're going to talk about the 2017 National Electrical Code and go over some of the changes that were made in the most recent version of the code. We know that code adoption varies from company to company and state by state. So, we do this specific webinar a couple of times over the course of a code cycle, just so that when we do it, it's relevant to when you and your facility needs the information the most. First, I want to introduce our presenter today, Kurt Brizendine. He's a TPC training instructor. Kurt handles everything from electrical but also handles general maintenance seminars for us as well. He's going to talk a little bit more about his biography and where he comes from here in a little bit.
But the most important thing that we get from a lot of our attendees is the ability to ask questions and there will absolutely be a chance to ask questions at the conclusion of the webinar. You'll notice there's a question section there on your toolbar on the right-hand side of your screen. Please just type in your question right there and at the end of the webinar, we will get to those and read those off so that you guys can have those questions answered. Our goal is to go about 1 hour today, about 45 minutes of information, another 15 of Q&A. We do want to be respectful of your time, so we're not going to go too much over that if we can avoid it.
And lastly, the most important question or biggest question we tend to get is, "Is a copy of this presentation going to be available?" And absolutely, yes. If you would like a copy of the slides or a link to where this presentation will be on our YouTube channel at the conclusion of this webinar, you're going to get a follow up email sent to you. Please just respond to that email. It will come straight to me, just let me know that you want a copy of the presentation and I will get that out to you. Without further ado, I'd like to introduce Kurt Brizendine, Kurt?
Kurt: Thank you, John. As John said today, we'll be talking about the National Electric Code. I'll be, as you can see, I'll be doing an overview. Many of our courses, the way we write them is with the intent to give you the most recent information, especially for something like FPA series, which is a constantly evolving document. As John said, one of the things that we try to do is make sure that we provide training that is relevant to you. However, one things you need to keep my mouth National Electric Code is that it is purposely written in such way to be very general and broad. And one of the overarching things like...and lot model fellow structures are the same course try to enforce an understanding that your HJA authority having jurisdiction is, first and foremost, people you listen to and they, themselves, will enforce the National Electric Code as it pertains to them. I will provide other examples that I've come across exactly, you know, what they've done, what other areas have done, and why they do what they do.
As John was saying, my name is Kurt Brizendine. My background, I was 10 years in the Navy. I was, as you can see up here, Weapon Systems Technician. I work with the ammunition explosives and my largest contribution to the Navy was I quickly became a master instructor. And that basically meant that I've pretty much taught everything from the electrical stuff that we're going to be talking about today to the stint as a drill instructor for a period of time. I've done high risk training. So that kind of makes me a real stickler as far as safety goes. Basic reason I got out of the Navy was I chose my family over the Navy. I try to tell people that you can't be both. You can either do the military or you can do a family, but both just don't work. I ended up getting out of the Navy for my family and I have, you know, two beautiful kids and I love my wife to death.
Well, when I got out of the Navy, I was picked up at Excellent Nuclear. I worked there for a couple years also as a maintenance instructor and I also did engineering instruction as well. As much as I would like to stay there, they made it very clear to me during my professional development that I would not get promoted because I didn't have a college degree. I wasn't competitive with my peers. I ended up resigning from that position, so I can go to college. I went to Northern Illinois University as you can see there, and I double majored in engineering and Western History. I know it sounds like a strange combination. But I use the engineering side to capitalize and advanced my current technical knowledge at the time. My primary skill set, and the skill I bring to the company, is as a classroom instructor and curriculum development. And that's when my Western History background comes in because in pursuing that degree, I'm particularly good at writing material, doing ample research, finding the answers that if you if I don't know, I know how to find them.
Part 2 Introductory Articles
With that being said, one of the things I want to bring as far as important part of the National Electrical Code is that it is an evolving document, as I mentioned earlier. And the reason for that is because our understanding of the science of how electricity works is still evolving, and anyone who's been in the industry for longer than 20,30 years has definitely know seeing the many changes that have happened over the last...you know, since the National Electrical Code first came out, and that's one of the reasons why this is an evolving document. And in support of this document, one of the things, if you have a National Electrical Code book that you have and we cover this our class too as you look in the front of it, and you will notice all the contributors to all the boards that sat there and pay attention to the roles that each of those members played when making the rules and the regulations as you find at the National Electrical Code. And you will notice that most of them are bonafide engineers, scientists, those who apply the scientific method for this.
In popular contrary to belief, the National Electric Code and also the entire NFPA series does make an effort to try to not make this politicized or driven by profit. That is a common misconception on when you new rules came out. So, someone is trying to make profit. So sometimes I can agree with you that it is the case, but overall, the whole NFPA series is designed to be an enforcement tool, and also to give a standard which all manufacturers, those of us who are technicians, construction persons, that way we have a standard to follow and that we can make things more safe and so we don't burn buildings down and get people killed accidentally because of neglect. And that's the purpose of the code is that we follow this code. Even though there are parts of that we don't understand, many of these pieces that are in there were thoroughly researched.
For example, some of the new things that have come up with the code that have evolved in recent time in the last decade is their understanding of art flash. Now, the National Electric Code explains it more generically, that's an NFPA 70, and the more detail in NFPA 70, the electrical portion of it and that's one of the reasons why if you go back, say far back as the 70s, people didn't take arc flash nowhere near seriously as we do now, and that's just because the science has evolved considerably since then with the advent of high speed cameras, thermal infrared imaging, vibration analysis, and even the exchange of information with the internet. Much of that has what has led to the changes that we have in the National Electrical Code.
As you can see on the slide here, this is about typical. So, there's over 4,000 public inputs submitted to code in 2014. If several of these boards are put together and much discussions, even the wording is very specific because they want to make sure that the communication to the readers is as clear and precise as possible. Many of these are written with that in mind and so, they try to choose their language that is both easily understandable, broad, but unambiguous, so that it can be properly used. As you can see in 2017, five new articles were introduced.
First, is Article for 425, and this is talking about fixed resistance and of course electrical industrial process heating equipment. Yes, there's already been a lot of code regarding how boilers are set up, and there's even a separate code, and those of you who are boiler techs are really up to speed as far as how strict the code and regulations are for boilers. But as technology boilers themselves have evolved, so has the electronics, the types of equipment used to heat it, to ignite the boiler, and the regulation of it. That has also evolved. And as a result this code was created to augment the already existing code of boilers.
So next is Article 691. It makes pretty much sense because now we're getting that whole green energy thing. And as a result, photovoltaic supply systems, especially on the industrial scale, as you can see here five megawatts and larger, have become predominant enough to ignite the interest and as electric goes and say, "We need to address this. The good news about this is, as many of these standards are much the same, especially those of you who ever worked with large UPS systems, because a lot of times, photovoltaic systems act as both part of the UPS system and also act as, especially those who are also familiar with your if you have code generation because the photovoltaic system, especially large ones, act very well with code generation applications. So, here's an example of some of the larger farms. This is the kind of scale we're talking about, that takes up acres and sometimes, even several hundred thousand square feet on top of one of your large facilities. Kind of put it to scale, this is not referring to the couple panels you have on your roof at your home, but rather than industrialized large scale solar farms.
Next, we have our Article 706. Now, as the Internet has grown in size, so too has the need for things like data centers and the ability to store the energy adequately. And that's our technology has evolved with batteries itself. That's one of the primary reasons why we don't use the Brit from the 1980s and now we have our smartphones. And that's mainly because of battery technology. And this too has applied to the industry. And, as a result, the National Electric Code also corresponding with other NFPA series, I think it's in a NFPA 75 and 76, those refer to like data centers, for example, may have a lot of backup batteries, but this is to help dovetail the safety associated with such applications. As you can see here, even this specific part implies the various different ways that they're talking about energy storage systems. And it's not just referred to batteries, but as you could see, capacitor banks, kinetic energy devices like flywheels or compressed air because many of these backup power systems now are becoming more and more advanced and have become more energetic regarding or basically calling for a look by the National Electrical Code.
This is a typical energy storage system, much was that what I was referring to earlier. In many cases, like I said, will be part of the UPS system or code generation. And a lot of times, keep in mind, for those you guys who aren't familiar with, a lot of times, the purpose of these large battery banks is to supply basic battery DC power for only a couple of minutes just for you to affect the massive switch over your switch gears and switchboards to then, of course, call on a generator. And the idea of course is to affect that transition as seamlessly as possible.
Then, of course, Article 710, standalone systems. Now, one of the things that's also involved is our electrical grid expands into more and more remote locations as we're getting to more industrialized areas where we're trying to put whether it be an oil someplace or an agricultural irrigation tap someplace. The code is now adopting. We have standalone system. Basically, you have a generator in the middle of a field someplace, in the middle of nowhere that provides power to a couple of pumps for irrigation, for example. This will be an area where this article would apply. It once again it goes into the area falls under the auspices of safety. For example, like anybody from Kansas knows that brush fires are quite common and the last thing you want to do is basically have an electrical issue that causes a massive brush fire. I think it was in 2013 where they had had a brush fire that started that destroyed hundreds of acres of land and basically, threatened population areas. That goes back to the purpose of the National Electrical Code.
So once again, on the cusp of changing technology. So, Brett current microgrids. This is referring to, like, if you have a standalone, like computers for example, many computers will operate on DC power. And as a result, because of now we're getting more and more higher power processing that is an example of when direct-current micro grids will be necessary. As a result, the code has developed a regulation for in order to make it appropriately safe. So an example here, and as you can see, this also dovetails with photovoltaic generation. This also dovetails with UPS power and any type of stored energy, batteries, capacitors, or flywheel-type stuff and that's to bring it all together because this is becoming more and more prominent as we become more and more...we as a public, become more and more thirsty for data via our smartphones and computer usage.
So many of the NFPA series in general are laid out very similarly, and they're done on this way on purpose so that way, you can refer to it with relative ease. Now, this also goes back, one of the things you must understand when taking National Electrical Code class is you must have a background knowledge of how electricity works, at least a little bit. Now, I recommend beyond the just electrical technicians or electrical engineers that anybody involved with safety, if you're involved with making decisions regarding construction or maintenance that this course is in your best interest to take. So, you have a better understanding of why the rules are what they are and exactly what those rules and how they pertain to you.
With that in mind, so one of the things we talked about is understanding the language and the layout of the National Electrical Code. You'll see things in the margins, for example, you have either are bold and italic N, that's an indication of brand new material. Other books will also leave a habit as what's highlighted in gray. That's awesome, in indication that there's been a move. And as you see, deletion. Now sometimes that doesn't always mean that it was completely removed. It can also mean that if you see a doctor, that means it was removed from that specific article because that wording or the idea behind that paragraph or whatever better fits in another article elsewhere. Sometimes, you'll have to pay attention to that as well for those of you who are familiar with previous versions of the National Electrical Code.
Part 4 NFPA Articles
So what do we do with the code? We try to go through it step by step in accordance with the book, but that's only if we don't have a template from you of how what you would want us to cover. One of the things as we said with TPC, what we try to do is try and make it relevant to you. One of the things as an instructor that I really like from my students is be open. Tell me what you want because it is one of the things I take great pride into in customizing these things for you and only covering the parts that are necessary for you as opposed to covering a whole thing and wasting your time. But keep in mind in general, how we organize the course is we go in order in the book. So, as you can see here, we start with article 90.2. Across the NFPA 70 series, as an NFPA 70 and NFPA 70B, and 70E, one of the things they included to be was the removal, if you notice, that's in bold there because before it was more generically talked about, but now there's talking specifically.
As we're upgrading or moving all the equipment, we still need to follow the appropriate safety that's involved with it and now the articles enforcing that. We have the various sections of the book as they're divided. In general, if we make it in a class, if we make it through chapter three, we're doing good. And the reason I say that is because once you get beyond chapter three, it's pretty much the same stuff. It just goes into more specific applications. And by then, our goal is to make sure that you have an understanding of how the book is organized and how the language, and what it intends to communicate. Like I said, typically in our courses, we could try to get two chapters one, two, and three and then we'll answer specific questions regarding the other articles if you have them as they pertain to you.
I'm in many of the other NFPA series, one of the things you got to realize with any these books is they typically have an article 100 in the beginning of the books that outlines definitions, but you will find keywords that you will find in two or more articles throughout the document. If in the event that is only found specifically in that article, that book, it will be in the point two section of that article and that is the only article to which those that specific set of words refers.
One of the things too that we try to do in the National Electric Code is to make sure that it is used correctly. And that's one of the things why I say it's important to have an understanding electricity, because this is not designed to be a design manual, it's designed to be a standard. And understanding the proper context is critical because in many cases, there's a lot of misconceptions out there about any part can be used any way you see fit, and that is one thing that at least for my classes I try to steer my students away is trying to understand the appropriate context. One of the things that help with that context is article 100, the definitions.
Also, they've gone up point out listing. I definitely know for sure in NFPA 70E they talk about it. I'm confident they do in the latest NFPA 70. If they haven't done in the 20s in this latest one, they're definitely going to do with the next one. And that is that they added a section to NFPA 70E that specifically enforces manufacturers to make sure that their equipment, whatever they sell you that is rated for safety related is actually it is what it says it is. There's a whole separate enforcement just to make sure that if we go buy some, we don't buy something that even though they say it, but we realized we just bought some snake oil.
The code is being used as an enforcement tool in that manner to make sure that the manufacturers are in fact holding themselves to the standards that they claim they're making whenever you go and buy something that isn't adherence to the code it. Part of that is here, the examination, identification, installation, and of course, listing. Listing refers to, if it's been tested by listing agencies such as Underwriters Laboratory, CSA is for Canada, and then there's TUV as for Germany for example.
So, one of the new things also, this is one of those things that's been kind of over the years, experts have been him hauling back and forth. I don't know how to where to put about it, but they've been going. Some people say you need torque. It's too much torque, there's not enough torque, but nobody ever said this is what it needs to be. This is one of the things that this new article is trying to address. Because even in my own research, I have I haven't found specific saying, "This is what you need to do." They're always dancing around it and then example what I mean by that is like one of the things I talk about in my class, like if you look at an expo for example, that you would know that based on tick marks around on the top of the expo how hard that metal is.
Well, I'll give you example, like if you have a bolt with no tick marks, typically made out of aluminum and the torque specs on that say it's like you know 500 inch pounds, you're going to rip the head right off that bolt. These are like where the kind of engineering and technician arguments is centered around. The code then is trying its best to address this in a general manner, while the same time, saying that torque specs are important and proper use of torque tools are also important.
One of the things also that I mentioned earlier in the course. The use of specialized tools as well, including thermography, vibration analysis, and this is becoming one of those preferred maintenance practices mainly because the idea is to be noninvasive. So, one of the things that code down was trying to address is using the noninvasive techniques of thermography and vibration analysis, those types of techniques as a method for you to conduct maintenance. And even the research among engineers who conduct maintenance, the general school of thought is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." So that's one of this use of technology, that's the intent of it. And a good predictive maintenance, predictive mains usually centers around thermography and vibration analysis, is that you're not reactionary, you are more proactive, especially in the production industry because that will allow production facilities to plan ahead of time rather than have an emergency knee jerk shut down the plant that is unplanned.So, this is one of those tools and this is one of the reasons why the National Electrical Code is addressing it.
Part 5 Electrical Safety Basics
So, electrical equipment, such as switchboards, switch gears, and panel boards shall be filled, or factory marked. This is, once again, adding a level of enforcement to an already existing in the NFPA 70E saying that all electrical equipment must be properly labeled. This is to add more context to that. Maintenance while energized shall be field or factory marked to warn qualified persons of potential electric arc flash hazards. This is still followed in the theme of what constitutes a qualified worker that you understand what that panel is. You have the knowledge of how to on it, you understand necessary techniques, and also how to evaluate the hazards, and make the appropriate risk assessments in order to minimize the hazard and the risks to you the technician or anybody else standing around you, for that matter.
So, this is part of that enforcement here is to make sure that the markings are legible and that is in fact, marked. Like I said, in one of our electrical safety training, this is one of the things that we cover extensively. Next is service equipment.
Now, in general, we're talking about service equipment. We're using this referred to, like I said, in general, to where the utility comes to your facility and/or where a backup generator or other secondary source provides power to your facility. That is what they're referring to as service equipment. Once it goes beyond that point of demarcation from utility or your power source into your building that is when service equipment stops. So that's what this is referred to, are those specific equipment and so this is this part of the article is telling you what needs to be on there.
So, the change here, that's in red here, is the exception. Service equipment labeling shall not be required in arc flash label is applied and of course with the acceptable industry practice. In our electrical safety class, we go through and talk about the details that can be contained within a label or should be contained with a label. Now, the code says that you have to have your equipment appropriately labeled and it does talk about the various steps. In general, it doesn't matter how you do, it just so long as all that information is contained on that referred directly that piece of equipment. On our end of it though, we try to tell you that, well, in my experience, it has been less expensive to do it this way is trying to get it all in one label and then attach that there. And part of that is why this exception is there.
We show this awesome electrical safety class and it's kind of goes back as you can see the top portion of that. It's talking about how the label should be organized and it refers to what should be on the label. For example, the color, red means danger, orange means warning, yellow means caution and that is by the code. These are different to provide more context on the level of danger or the amount of the risk they'll be taking by working on that specific equipment. And then, of course, in the bottom portion, that's where you get the specific information basically saying, it's specifically this is why that this is warning, as opposed to say caution or danger.
So, equipment marketer reconditioning. Now, as companies are either expanding or developing, you know, new technology, better ways, upgrading their equipment, whatever the condition may be, the coach says that if you happen to recondition an equipment, and if it has been of course approved by an engineer, that kind of thing, then it must be overtly marked in such a way saying this specific equipment has been reconditioned. And it goes back to the purpose of that is so when you get a new technician, especially one that has experienced that they understand. "Okay, this was built in such a way that we looked at an older one, so, okay, this followed before the code but has been recondition to follow the more recent version of the code, whatever is applicable to the date of the reconditioning." That's why it has to be overtly marked as recondition.
As you can see some pictures here, anything that has been basically recondition for something else. And a lot of times, most of time this is done like if you have an older switchboard, I mean, especially if it's physically intact, you know, all you have to do is upgrade some of the equipment in there, rather than replace the whole thing. Sometimes, that can be more cost effective and that's also reason why this is part of the code.
Next is the available fault current. Now one of the things we teach in any of our classes is understanding what the fault current is because there's a big difference between things like FLA, Full Loading Amps for like a motor, for example, or the KVA reading of, say, a transformer and the fault current.
Now, this fault current is based off of your transformer and it's basically the maximum amount of energy that can be pulled from that transformer because it's only so much. That granted, as you can see with on the switchboard here, I mean, that's 52,000 amps. That's a serious number of amps which is the fault current. That is a key mark of what determines how big and how bad an arc flash will be. That is designed to say, "Okay, yes, this arc flash can be possibly enormous." I know in one of our electrical safety classes, one of the things that we do is we try to give you at least the... The math isn't that difficult. Basically, it's a combination of dividing out the voltage from the KVA reading of transformer and then figuring in how the impedance plays into that. It's simple arithmetic and it will come up with most of times very large numbers with respect to the size of the transformer.
Part 6 Changes in the Code
So limited access. Once again, this is dovetailing with another article specifically article in NFPA 70E. So other things I want to draw your attention to as well if you notice in the very first sentence here where equipment operating at 1000 volts. One of the things that's changing in the industry and as soon should be changed completely. I think 2020, if I remember reading correctly was the due day for all this is when the demarcation between low voltage to medium voltage. It used to be 600 volts, now it's evolving to 1,000 volts. That's one of the things that where you can see in the language here. As you can see here, working space about electrical equipment limited access. When equipment is operating 1,000 volts or less to ground and likely to require examination of justice servicing center and so on, the space located space also apply.
So, as you can see it's talking about sizing, how big it needs to be. As you can see many of us already know that any of your panel boards have to be able to open the door at a full 90 degrees or more so. That's also to add enforcement to that these panelboards, switchboards, whatever places you use where circuit breakers or disconnect devices or house, they cannot be blocked in any way shape or form. This is right here being an example of such things are blocked. I'm sure in a lot of our facilities we've seen these type of things and anybody's ever worked on one of these knows how much a pain in the rear it can be because of how it is. The industry is trying to sway the standard away from this type of setup.
I know personally from working with the HVAC things especially here you can see where that U-pipe is at. I know that's where the filters at. Talk about a pain in the rear pulling that filter out replacement, especially doing without tearing up the filter. That's kind of what the idea is going to. The one thing to keep in mind is yes, we can get here, we could talk poorly about engineers, but one of the things when it comes to anything new, first of all, the first problem is to make it work, second problem is to make it work cheaply, and the third problem is to make it work cheaply while being maintenance-friendly. That is how the evolution of knowledge goes and that takes years for it to develop. This one right here as you can see is part of that evolution.
All right. Inspections and tests. So once again, not only does this apply to technicians, but typically management, whether they'd be electrical type or not, safety guys, industrial hygienist, those types. This is where it pertains to them. As you can see here, pre-energizing and Operating Tests where required elsewhere in this Code. As you can see the complete electrical system side, including system protective and center and so on shall be prepared in advance and made available on request to the authority having jurisdiction. That's an HJ thing I mentioned earlier. It shall be tested when first installed on site. This is also an important article regarding if you have a larger facility. You're installing new large new components and you contract out a commissioning agency. This is part of that.
When the commission of the agency comes out there, and many times, part of the commissioning agency or they may contract out to have an inspector come out and to inspect it on site, and this right here's the article that enforces that. Of course, like with anything we're talking about tester inspections, such things need to be documented, recorded, and kept for future years.
So, the exception in existing installations, that's important because...I mean, if your ancient facility, I mean, there are things that you can use to address to allow you to upgrade over time as it's cost effective for you. One of the things I try to tell my class is you can't look at the Department of Labor and also the big back Boogeyman. That's not what they're out there to do. They're out there to make sure that manufacturers, business owners, that type of thing are not cutting corners and basically sacrificing safety in order to make profits.
That is the primary purpose of OSHA and the respective codes that fall under OSHA. So even though you have articles like this and this is what I meant by context earlier is that yes, it's okay. If you work with these agencies, they will help you as far as what you need to do, and even taking into an account, you know, how much it's going to cost you, that kind of stuff. It's better to approach OSHA in that manner than by allowing one of your employees to get seriously hurt, and God forbid, they be killed on the job and then have the come out and start poking the noses around actually looking for problems. So, it's always better to...if you suspect that you have problems to just come out in the light and say, "Hey, I have issues, help me fix them." This is one of the things that put context to this article here.
So, ground-fault circuit-interrupter, GFCs. Now, in the code there's an entire section just for GFCIs. The general gist of GFCI is that pretty much anywhere where there's a possibility for water, there needs to be a GFCI because the purpose of that is to minimize the hazards associated with a step potential, basically, allowing electricity to conduct via water to your feet. So, that's why you will find that in places Roger six, Roger wash machine. Now that refrigerators have ice dispensers, now they have water going this. Now, refrigerators require GFCIs outside, etc., and so on. So, as you can see here, one thing that's been added to is this garage branch circuits in addition to the number branch circuits required in parts of this section at least 120 volts. As you can see here, we're getting into the specifics of home construction.
Not just because as we as a society has developed our taste for different products, like in this case of garbage disposal, they're saying, "Okay, well, we need to make this safer." Because the idea is to prevent your house from burning down because many of the fires are often caused by electrical issues and improper installation of these electrical situations. One of the biggest things that separates a tournament and a master electrician from an apprentice or somebody who's not electrician is the knowledge of the code and especially, like I know our resident master electrician, he can quote code off the top of his head. He knows this better than any anybody I've ever met. But he's been doing this for 50 plus years. He has an adequate understanding and he'll say the same thing. One of the things that makes him good at what he does and what makes him an authority is he knows and understands the code.
Part 7 More Changes
Meeting rooms, so now we're getting to the point now because now meeting rooms, a lot of us want to pull out our laptops. So here you can see that now the requiring meeting rooms beyond a certain size, there should be outlets.
John: I believe this is one of...
Kurt: Yes. In accordance in to space revival partitions determine in position results small size of meeting room.
John: Okay, this is in conjunction with requiring outlets in the floor based on the size of the room and how far apart they need to be. A lot of like hotels and convention centers are this is for them. For the purpose section, meeting rooms are typically design or tended for gathering and see documents such versus conferences, just as I was mentioned before. Typically, these informational notes are there to provide a bit more context for the purpose of this specific article. Receptacle outlets, once again, there's a four-hour receptacle, I was referring to just a moment ago. And of course, receptacle outlets are movable room partitions. As you can see, this is getting more and more into how specific things need to be.
The reasoning behind this once again is to help prevent overloading of any distribution boards, to make sure that you don't have any electromagnetic interference, and the capacity affects they're associated with that while at the same time, providing adequate usefulness of the facility so that way you don't either under do the outlets as you sometimes you'll noticed in some older buildings versus overdoing it. So that really, like I said before, from overloading power panels or in course bringing any context the use of the outlets. If you have a room that's designed for, you know, an auditorium assigned to hold 500 people and each one of the seats has a plugin, and now, that we're getting to the point, you can kind of imagine how much energy we can draw and how much electricity is drawn if every one of those people in that auditorium decide to charge their phone or get on their laptops all at the same time. These are things that the code addresses and this is where this is coming from.
Supports over building, this is another part we talked about the code. In many cases, this is another place where the AHJ will provide more specific context because of how the local environment, specific to your environments. This is where, "Okay, tell me what you need to do." But your AHJ will say, "Well, we have areas like this, we need to slightly change that because the environment isn't suitable for this specific application." This is an example of that. It also, one of the things is contained in the National Electrical Code, is the use of the charts and graphs. A lot of the charts of these graphs, they're designed to be easy access and that way you don't have to start, you know, pull out like a TI 84 super graphing calculator.
Although, many of these things that you see, the charts were computed in that way. This is so you don't have to actually do that. If on the other hand, though, you want to see what the math comes from, you can refer to these charts and usually down at the bottom, you'll see some information, refer to an annex in the back and it walks you through the math if you're interested in it.
Once again, referring back to arc energy reduction, this is one of those things that our knowledge of arc energy has increased realizing, "Yeah, this is some dangerous stuff we need to be paying very close attention to it."
Many engineering controls are being put in place so that when a technician works on, say, a 1,200 amp or higher breaker or fuse for that matter, that there is a method, there's an engineering control in place to reduce the arc energy. By the most common way of doing that is having a way of reducing the clearing time. The main reason for that is as the time gets longer, the amount of energy that has been released goes up exponentially, not linearly. This happens, as you can see, in hundreds and thousands of a second. This is the purpose of putting such a safety device in place.
Here's some other examples of methods to reduce clearing time as you can see different zones like interlocking, relaying energy reducing maintenance, active arc flash mitigation. You guys can read this list. Of course, as accepted by federal regulation 2706, that's another reference. That's one of those things that about any type of government coach, you have to run across is that you will notice that you'll get, "Oh, refer to this article," and then that article is, "Well, refer to this article over here." That's part of the reason why I encourage you to take the class because whenever you're doing any type of maintenance or policy writing, it's in your best interest to do your homework.
The largest article in the National Electrical Code series is Article 250. Article 250 covers grounding and bonding. The reason why it's such a large article is because of how important it is and also the myriad of applications that refers to grounding and bonding. For example, like I was just teaching at Pittsburgh just yesterday, and we were talking about grounding as well, and in general, typically, what you would ground to your electro tip would be a copper rod, it's 10 feet long, that you drive to the ground. Well, after talking to the technicians, they'll say no. What requires in our authority having jurisdiction there in Pittsburgh because of the rocky nature, is that we have to have two electrodes only eight feet long that have to be six feet apart. So that's a general specific area why certain thing is different, and it really refers to because in Pittsburgh, if you've ever been there, it's relatively rocky and mountain less terrain. It makes sense from that point of view that, okay, that needs to be a little bit different than the traditional 10-foot rock has to be driven into the ground.
Here, as you can see, this article covers what is not to be grounded and this article is...because 250 is massive, one of the reasons why is because it is quite specific and it's one of the few articles you'll find in any of these government documents that is so specific. That's because one of the main causes of arc flash incidence, houses and built, buildings burning down people get electrocuted is because something wasn't properly grounded. The National Electric Code has responded with, "Okay, we need to put more information out there and be very specific so that way it is at least done." They're doing their part to minimize such mishaps.
I'm glad they put this up here because one of the new things that is coming that is on the industry now too is now they're starting, for the new LED lighting, they're starting to use the drop ceiling grid as the point of conduction. In many cases, it's 2,448 volts which falls under that 50-volt marker saying what you have to do. This is one of those examples where you have a cortical floating voltage also known as ungrounded voltage of some kind. This is a common example of what they refer to what doesn't need to be directly grounded, is if you're using a drop ceiling grid as a method of conduction for your LED lights.
Part 8 Grounding and Bonding
So, I mentioned we are grounding electrode, that's that thing you drive into the ground and of course, we talked about that extensively. If located outdoors, you can see the ground electrodes shall be in accordance with this portion here and it goes into detail of how big it needs to be, how much what you need attached to it and how the attachment has to be, and we cover this in the class. So, things that are not permitted. Metal underground pipes. In a lot of ways that kind of makes sense because, you know, gas piping, if you have an arc spark or some especially even if the pipe has been drained, it still has the fumes in there. Aluminum is cheap and yes, it is the fourth best conductors there is, but it's still the fourth best conductors, not the best conductor. As a result, it is not an adequate use for properly grounding something. That's why the code is forbidding the use of aluminum as far as grounding electrode goes. Of course, structures and structural reinforcing steel as described into that.
Now, one of the things that's common is like, for example, if you're building has a steel frame to it and the I am being supporting your belly is actually driven pile-drive into the ground at least 10 feet, that is one of the things that it says, it's okay to be grounded to and that's what the article refers to. Talking about conduit sizing, especially regarding...this was referring to PVC, but the general rule of thumb is, of course, as you put more wired to conduit, there is a limit to how much you supposed to put in there because the purpose of the conduit is to provide adequate space and protection for the conductors that have been gone through it. Of course, if you think about it makes sense. The more conductors you are putting into the conduit, the larger it needs to be.
As you can see here, the course of the ground lighting. I'm sure many of you at your homes or you've seen homes with this. This is one of those types of things, the lesser death shall be permitted or specified insulation structures of listed low voltage lighting systems. As you can see, it's currently six inches. That's how deep that you should put in your conductors. A lot of times that what you'll see is you'll see the wired where across the top. Well, that's not good because that creates a hazard, especially if it's raining that now if any one of the installation that wires, but compromised that wire, especially if it isn't outdoor rated, now you have a point that is going to create a step potential hazards. That's what's behind this article.
Above ground wiring methods in further details. So, it's referred to airfield lighting cable center, so basically works needed. But areas like airfields, they have their own. They fall under the auspices of the FAA and also the SCC now that I come to think about it, for the transmission code and they have to follow those rules. But for general construction, that's why these articles here is to give anybody who's doing general restructure, the contracts to work on these fields why it is what it is. This right here is a table that if you go through my class, if there's any table you can be able to identify off the top your head, this is one of them. Table 310.15.B is the impassively chart. This is pointing out the various changes that has happened and so, this is one of the scientific entities that you see here. They did an investigative experiment in of summer 2015. It was so groundbreaking that Navy sees like, "No, this is a big deal."
They remove this from the 2017 one because research is conducted a couple years before. I think that's why they put this up here. This refers to how article or table 310 first and passive and how it works. So now, we get an article 400, flexible cords and cables, how they must be used. Of course, most time I'm referring to complete assemblies, the inspection, the appropriate maintenance, and of course, this is the authority that jerk that goes around say, "Hey, your cord isn't appropriate," and then they cut it. Well, that's the authority that gives and especially they use it accordingly. And once again, you can see here where the article refers to the authority having jurisdiction and in several places throughout the national code, they do this.
So, 406.3, control receptacle marking symbols and this is an evolution. I'm sure it's been in the industry while I remember the two triangles on the receptacles from the past. Well, that's gone away, and it's evolved into more, like for example, if you have an emergency power. You have the outrage outlet like the hospitals, for example and this is part of that evolution. Here, it's pointing out what it is. Now, one of the things I also cover in my classes too is I talk about what's called IP ratings, Ingress protection. Ingress protection for example is how tightly the plug is supposed to be, either whether you're going from one plug to another plug or the plug goes into the receptacle itself and this is enforcing that. In other words, it has to be solidly plugged in. In IP terms, ingress protection, that's called IP 44. The best reference for that, even though it's a European one, is ICE 60529. That talks about ingress protection.
The best ones like IP68, that's those ones that are you put them together, they're completely sealed, you have to ratchet it closed and it has gas containers, so that way you can completely submerged it. And so that's the extreme version of that. And that's the basis of this article, marking the receptacle in such way to point out such things. So once again, now that we're getting to with technology, charging our phones through our computers via USB. Of course, there's an article covering USB chargers. Tamper resistant receptacles, of course, this is where you'll find in, you know, as you can see dwelling areas to 10 to 15 guest rooms and suites of hotels, childcare facilities, basically areas where you don't want the receptacles tampered by people that shouldn't be tampering with them or areas where that you want additional protection, like for example outside. The reason you have the covers outside is so when it rains, you don't get water the receptacle.
Part 9 Q&A
Listing required for luminaries and lamp holders better to retrofits. Those of us who have been up upgrading our lighting systems, this is one of the things that code is also trying to specify. In many cases, that's what we're seeing. You know, from the past, we have a traditional 277-volt fluorescent light and we're taking those balance now and we're changing them say to a 24-volt LED. And a lot of cave, you have these retrofit kits. These retrofit kits, of course, what they do is they'll take that 277 and they'll step down the voltage 24 volts. It's important because you can imagine those who are familiar with transformers work, when you do that, you're going to step up the current and as result, you'd have a lot of heat. These retrofit kits have to follow specific standard, so that when the retrofit kits don't find a way to get around that heat dissipation is you can basically cause your facility to burn down. That's why we're going into the article is talking about making sure these retrofit kits are under the code and they're listed.
So, with that being said, that brings us to the end of this. Like I said, what I just mentioned is designed to be a heads up for our future classes or other NAC classes for that matter. As far as I'm concerned, this is one of those classes that is that is extremely important, especially if you are in a supervisor maintenance safety, industrial hygienist, if you have to make decisions in regard electrical maintenance, this is a course that is absolutely imperative that you take. I would say, though, I'll recommend against though any student taking this that does not have an understanding of electricity mainly because it I've had students take this class before and what will happen is they'll get lost in the course. As part of a hierarchy of courses this is core close to the top. That's mainly because of the necessary knowledge that's needed for this course. With that being said, this is a great time to take any of your questions.
John: All right. Thanks, Kurt. Yeah, if you do have questions, please type them into the question bar there on your toolbar on the right-hand side. We're already got a lot tuning in right now. So, we'll kind of start. "Kurt, in reference to Article 110.16, where will the arc labeling come from, the manufacturer?"
Kurt: Okay. The labeling is the responsibility of the employer, you, the facility, whatever it is. Now, how you go about that is dependent upon which method you choose to use, and we address this in our electrical safety class. I will warn you though that labeling can be very expensive. All that the code tells you is how the label should be done. How you do it, it doesn't matter. But ultimately, it is still the manufacturer, the owner of the property has the responsibility to take care of that. In our safety course we teach...there's two methods, you can go and do what's called the category method and the instant energy method. The instant energy method will require somebody with the skills similar to an engineer with the PE certification. A lot of times, it depends on what your application is, which one you choose, but it's apparent that you don't use both. So, you can only use one or the other. I hope that answers your question.
John: All right. Thanks, Kurt. Let's take a look and see if we have any more questions coming in. So far, we don't. That might be the only one. So, we'll give you another minute here to ask any questions that you may have. Kurt, are there any sort of parting thoughts, best practices people should adhere to or any words of advice that relates to putting in these changes for the new code?
Kurt: One thing I always recommend regardless of code books is don't sit down, try to read from cover to cover unless you try to fall asleep. So, it's one of those type of things that when you are going through any of the NFPA series that you have in mind what you're looking for. Then take the time to, when you go through these codes, so like, okay, so you're looking for labeling. So, what I will record come in for labeling, for example, as you pointed out, a good place to start is 110.16, and I'll tell you the basic standard. Then I would recommend going to say like the NFPA 70E series and say what those rules are. If you're kind of shaky on doing this kind of stuff, this is the kind of the training that we can provide and how to do that. Like I said, don't sit down and try to read these books cover to cover because, yeah, it'll put you to sleep like no other and you won't get anything out of it.
John: All right. Again, we got the question about getting a printout of the slideshow. Yes. As soon as this webinar is over, you'll get a follow up email sent to you. Please respond to that email, letting us know that you want a copy of the presentation and I will get that out to you. We'll also have this up on our YouTube page probably by Monday at the latest, it depends on how fast it downloads. But, yeah, please respond to that email if you want to copy of the presentation and we'll get that out for you. Another question we have is, "With the IECC changing quickly with many additional requirements how this will affect the electrical code, there are items in the energy codes... There are items in the energy code that cannot be complied with as technology has not been able to keep up." What are your thoughts on that?
Kurt: So, make sure we're talking about, let's say, IEEC or talking about the International Electric Technical Commission?
John: This is ICC, but I assume it probably meant IEEC.
Kurt: Okay. Well, okay, one of the things to keep mine regarding... I hope I answered the question. I understand the context here. So, the International Electric Technical Commission and the National Electrical Code are two very separate entities. They have two very separate perspectives. So, the with that in mind, what are the things that the IEEC focuses on in general and this is their strength is having the items that they choose be specifically designed for the very specific application. Their thought process behind this is, is if you're going to engineer something, you do it right.
They write their articles more specific and you alluded to why that's difficult because as you pointed out, the technology is changing so fast and we're having a hard time keeping up with it. Whereas the National Electric Code, which is a very separate document, of course, specific to the United States, its strength is that is purposely designed to be broad, and adaptable, and that's why a lot of our National Electrical Manufacturers Association, NEMA stuff, is if you were to compare, for example, a NEMA starter versus an IEC starter, you will notice that the two very safe starter for the application. The NEMA one is much larger because the arc code says, we want something that is going to be reliable, safe, under the worst possible case scenarios, and also be versatile in its application in order to allow the standardization to take place.
My thought on the technology is it depends on your perspective. Like I said, the weaknesses of the IEC are that because they have a specific design, their code has a hard time keeping it up versus National Electric Code which tries to make it broad that in order so that way, it gives the code more time to update itself. I hope I answered your question correctly because the reason...I mean what I said I think is correct, but I don't know if I got the context right because I wasn't sure what you meant by the IEEC.
John: I think they did clarify that they were referring to the International Energy Conservation Code.
Kurt: Oh, energy is energy conservation. Oh, okay. Good, good, good. Thank you. So, okay, yes. Now, my thoughts on that in general is that the schools of thought on energy conservation around the world are mixed because on one side, you have people making decisions that are more environmentalists, which they bring their strengths to that, and then on the other side, you have the engineers, the tops of the field, the scientists saying, "Okay, what you're asking is not exactly practical," especially like as from an engineering point of view, even with myself and I was going to school, I submitted a project to the engineering head of my university and the first thing he did his hand it back to me and said, make it cheaper.
These are the kind of discussions, I guess disagreements or any hiccups that we have between the two because in the middle is the code. We have politics and in other social demands are saying, "We want cleaner energy" but on the other side, the engineers are saying, "We can't quite keep up because we can't build the facilities fast enough, even though we have the technology." And yes, the technology is changing, but at the same time, the time it takes to implement this stuff is becoming challenging because of the demands that are being put on them. As a result, the code, will then no matter what it is, is going to fall behind. That's really what's going on in the background of that. I hope that better answers your question.
John: All right. Thanks, Kurt. We have no other questions outside of that. We didn't get asked if we have the winning lotto numbers, we do not. If we get it, probably we'll share them. But outside of that I think we're right at about one hour. So, I think we hit the mark, Kurt. Any parting thoughts before we end the webinar?
Kurt: No, I think that's it. If there are no further questions.
John: All right. Thanks very much, everyone. We'll be back in April with, again, another webinar. This one's going to be more general maintenance in topic. You can visit live.tpctrainco.com/webinars for more information on that one, all right? In the meantime, then, take care and have a great weekend.