Hot Water Heater Wiring

lol…BEEN BEFORE…lol…

Actually Mike…this is a case of I just DONT think it is subject to any damage in the way it CAN be done is all.

This is why I have worked in 3 states…VA, WV and MD and have not ever had a issue with it…but again…not a matter of being wrong or right…I just dont have a problem “Sleeping” at night knowing NM was run to the water heater…lol…

IN fact…because of the way WE do it…you would destroy the actual WH before you would get to the wire…

lol…I can handle being wrong fella…lol…BUT I am still wiring up that WH on monday in NM…:slight_smile:

Paul PS

I like the disposal. But that circuit is not all the time.

Now let me agree with you more. So what about the cord to the disposal? If it was a cord ?

happen to think the CORD which is allowed is JUST as much subject to damage…yet the NEC allows it…in regards to the disposal…

Funny thing the NEC sometimes…protects here…then LAX their…


You got me thinking. I may or may not change my mind.

Let me think about it a few days.

We have both seen applications that scare us more than the wh.

OH no doubt Mike…You are 100% correct…I can think of 100’s of things in a house that concern me MORE than a NM to a Water Heater to write in a report for a HI.

My original concern was…if you WRITE that up in any other state other than one that does not allow NM in the first place…the poor HI is going to get a razzed in the field from the electrician who come’s out and fix something like that…

Just did not feel it was report worthy in regards to the conduit issue…the fact it is TOO tight, looks like it is pulled at a right angle at the connector and being BLACK NM…probably has no EGC would concern me way more.

The cable shall closely follow the surface of the building finish or of running boards.If this cannot be accomplished then the NM is not allowed!I

Well I am not going to argue with you JOE…But I suggest you understand what the AUTHORITY section of the NEC says…Mr. Lilly allows it and it is done EVERTDAY…in nearly EVERY house done it is going to hard to comply with that article on every case…the AHJ makes the call.

You can stand buy what ever you like…I will continue to do it as the AHJ’s allow and run my good ole NM-B…:slight_smile:

They have spoken and they dont have a problem with it.:roll:

How do you know I dont drop down running boards for the NM to the water heater and run it on them…will you then move off the running board issue and then back onto the Protection Issue…

The point is NM to a water heater…not knowing the situation BEYOND the image posted…as we have gone beyond that it seems…again I have a water heater in a rough in on Monday…guess what…using NM…Bad Paul…BBAAADDDD PAUL…I again turn in my NEC Badge…:slight_smile:

**© Special Permission. **The authority having jurisdiction
**for enforcing this *****Code ***may grant exception for the installation
of conductors and equipment that are not under the
exclusive control of the electric utilities and are used to
connect the electric utility supply system to the serviceentrance
conductors of the premises served, provided such
installations are outside a building or terminate immediately
inside a building wall.

**[FONT=Times-Bold][size=2]90.4 Enforcement.
**This *Code *is intended to be suitable
for mandatory application by governmental bodies that exercise
legal jurisdiction over electrical installations, including
signaling and communications systems, and for use by
insurance inspectors. The authority having jurisdiction for
**enforcement of the *****Code ***has the responsibility for making
interpretations of the rules, for deciding on the approval of
equipment and materials, and for granting the special permission
contemplated in a number of the rules.
By special permission, the authority having jurisdiction
**may waive speci.c requirements in this *****Code ***or permit
alternative methods where it is assured that equivalent objectives
can be achieved by establishing and maintaining
effective safety.
This *Code *may require new products, constructions, or
materials that may not yet be available at the time the Code

is adopted. In such event, the authority having jurisdiction
may permit the use of the products, constructions, or materials
that comply with the most recent previous edition of
this *Code *adopted by the jurisdiction.



“…will you then move off the running board issue and then back onto the Protection Issue…”

**YES! **

PS: I was an AHJ for the Cities of New Haven Connecticut, Branford Connecticut, Glendale, California, and Pasadena, California, and still wear that hat today when inspecting properties around the USA.

I never allowed a “whip” to the water heater, and most installers terminated the branch circuit into a disconnect, or J-Box and extended greenfield, or cable to the splice compartment.

Please send me a picture of the finished work and the name of the water heater, or post it yourself here so we can all see and agree that the installation is OK.

I perfer to see this method and so do our present local AHJs but not earlier AHJs.

I think what Paul is saying is that what “we” think isn’t as important as what his AHJ thinks and allows. :wink:


That may be true, but I don’t understand it if they ignore the simple “follow the surface” rule, especially since Wayne Lilly is a member of the Code Panel who writes the rules for the Article covering “Rope”


Articles 342, 344, 348, 350, 352, 353, 354, 356, 358, 360, 362, 366, 368, 370, 372, 374, 376, 378, 380, 384,
386, 388, 390, 392, Chapter 9 Tables 1 through 4, Annex C

**Julian R. Burns,


Burns Electrical/Quality Power Solutions, Incorporated, NC [IM]
Rep. Independent Electrical Contractors, Incorporated

**John S. Corry,

Corry Electric Incorporated, CA [IM]
Rep. Associated Builders and Contractors, Incorporated

**Joseph G. Dabe,

City of St. Paul, MN [L]
Rep. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

**George R. Dauberger,

Thomas & Betts Corporation, TN [M]
Rep. National Electrical Manufacturers Association

**James C. Dollins,

AFC Cable Systems, MA [M]
Rep. The Aluminum Association

**Ronald E. Duren,

PacifiCorp, WA [UT]
Rep. Electric Light & Power Group/EEI

**M. Shan Griffith,

Kelloff, Brown & Root, Incorporated,
Rep. Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers,

**David H. Kendall,

Carlon, Lamson & Sessions, OH [M]
Rep. Society of the Plastics Industry Incorporated

**Wayne A. Lilly, **

City of Harrisonburg, VA [E]
Rep. International Association of Electrical Inspectors

**Richard E. Loyd, **

R & N Associates, AZ [M]
Rep. American Iron and Steel Institute

**Stephen P. Poholski,

Newkirk Electric Associates,
Incorporated, MI [IM]
Rep. National Electrical Contractors Association

**Dennis L. Rowe,

New York Board of Fire Underwriters,
NY [E]
Rep. New York Board of Fire Underwriters

**George F. Walbrecht,

Underwriters Laboratories
Incorporated, IL [RT]


**Richard Berman,

Underwriters Laboratories Incorporated,
(Alt. to G. F. Walbrecht)

**Duane A. Carlson,

PRS Consulting Engineers, WA
Rep. Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers,
(Alt. to M. S. Griffith)

**Charles W. Forsberg,

Shaker Heights, OH [M]
Rep. Society of the Plastics Industry Incorporated
(Alt. to D. H. Kendall)

**Dr. Jack A. Gruber,

Wheatland Tube Company, PA [M]
Rep. American Iron and Steel Institute
(Alt. to R. E. Loyd)

**James M. Imlah,

City of Hillsboro, OR [E]
Rep. International Association of Electrical Inspectors
(Alt. to W. A. Lilly)

**Alan Manche,

Schneider Electric/Square D Company,
KY [M]
Rep. National Electrical Manufacturers Association
(Alt. to G. R. Dauberger)

**Jamie McNamara,

City of St. Paul, MN [L]
Rep. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
(Alt. to J. G. Dabe)

**C. Ernest Reynolds,

Hatfield-Reynolds Electric Company,
Rep. Independent Electrical Contractors, Incorporated
(Alt. to J. R. Burns)

**Richard Temblador,

Alflex Corporation, CA [M]
Rep. The Aluminum Association
(Alt. to J. C. Dollins)

**Ronald J. Toomer,

Toomer Electrical Company
Incorporated, LA [IM]
Rep. National Electrical Contractors Association
(Alt. to S. P. Poholski)

**James Van Den Heuvel,

West Electric Incorporated,
Rep. Associated Builders and Contractors, Incorporated
(Alt. to J. S. Corry)

**Leslie R. Zielke,

South Carolina Electric & Gas Company,
Rep. Electric Light & Power Group/EEI
(Alt. to R. E. Duren)

I don’t understand it either…but, then again, it’s not important for me to understand why some AHJ will allow something and why another won’t especially where it appears to be a minor difference. :wink:

I suspect some AHJs use their own brand of common sense, while many others go “strictly by the book.”

Well said. :wink:

It really has nothing to do with common sense. As many inspectors as there are, sometimes there are that many answers. Not all inspectors are well trained and will inspect as they have wired in the past… HMMMMM!!!
I am not saying that is good, it is a real problem out there. The better trained inspectors will inspect to the code as it is written. The “special permission” part of the code is hardly ever invoked, as it will require a signature of the AHJ, and that is very difficult to get… who wants to be responsible for a written document changing the code and then possibly have to go to court to defend it… it is easier to enforce the code.

With that said, the subject of physical protection is very subjective, therefore will require a conversation with the inspector to get his thoughts on what subject to physical protection really is.

For the picture used in this thread, I do not see the physical protection issue, but we can only see so much from a picture. There are other issues to deal with in the wiring method of the pictured WH, but that is not the question here.

I have seen water heaters wired using various methods, and I have seen those different methods butchered… it is not the method I see as a problem, sometimes it is the installer.

Agreed Pierre…My point was NM is VERY allowed to Water Heaters and I did not want someone making a blanket statement that it was not…we do it all the time.

Subject to physical damage…IF done correctly and tight with the cold water pipe and well coming from the BACK side of the water heater along the wall…very tough arguement for physical damage…in THIS case…

The AHJ MUST envoke his opinion as well…having a set of “MACHINES” does not allow the AHJ to do their job and look at things based on the environment…

The code is a GUIDE LINE and MINIMUM…we MUST allow AHJ’s to have leeway…

In MY original post…and I see THOUSANDS of the NM to waterheaters a year both in doing them…and inspecting them…never once have they been called out…the water heater alone gives an element of protection…

JUST cant always be BLACK and WHITE when posting NEC…because of my experience I get ALLOWANCES done in many cases because of something that may be vague or need clarrification and they call me…I have many AHJ’s who call me to clarrify things…even if we did not do the work.


Guess we envoked the 334.30 (B)(2) since it was only 2’ ( 90% directly over the water heaters TOP ) to the connection point.

So it was to equipment less than 4’ from its last point of attachement.

Larry- I am saying the NM to a Water Heater in the manner shown is NOT something I would red flag in a home inspection is all I am saying…nothing more…nothing less…

Petty in my opinion…IF it poses no real threat to physical damage…you are NOT code inspectors and I don’t feel it is a safety hazard…go ahead and call an electrician out if they wish…

Just my opinions…

P.S…it is along the surface…only breaks the surface to run to the equipment…Has nothing to do with what Mr. Lilly agrees with…it is allowed and is subject to IF they feel it is subject to physical damage…

Heck for all I really know he wont inspect it…point is…none of them around here or where I have been CARE about that issue…thats PETTY if the wire is on the TOP of the water heater…directly to it from the wall…HOW would you infer it can obtain physical damage…hell wires running along the bottom of the JOISTS in a crawl can be subject to phyiscal damage…but they are DONE everyday…