Romex connected to male plug... OK?

Today, I came upon a ceiling fan installed in an apartment with a concrete ceiling and cement block walls. The wiring was run on the ceiling and walls and covered with wood molding down to the vicinity of the receptacle. At the end of this molding run the Romex ran outside the molding about a foot or so and was connected to a male 3-prong plug that was plugged into that receptacle.

I didn’t tag it because I couldn’t really determine if it was a problem. Wood moldings are OK to use in our area, so that was not a problem. The male plug was connected properly, so that was not a problem. It was just weird to see Romex with a 3-prong plug.

I searched the NEC reference books that I have and found nothing that prohibits Romex from having a plug attached or from being used as an “extension” cord for that matter. Am I missing something?

Thanks for any responses.

I remember reading somewhere (I looked but can’t find the source right now) where you can’t use solid conductors as an extension cord. They are more prone to breaking than stranded conductors. But that would assume that one would be coiling and uncoiling the cord.

The only reference I could find was in my Code Check chart which referred back to IRC 3303.3 which is Listing and Labeling of electrical system components being used in such a manner that is consistent with manufacturers installation instructions. My gut feeling is that NM is not listed to be used in a cord and plug manner.

There is also a reference in IRC 3809.1 where is discussed flexible cords being used in leiu of permanent wiring. Given that a ceiling fan is intended to be a “permanent” fixture it should therefore be supplied by permanent wiring.

Hi to all,

Gary, am I understanding you correctly? from what you are saying the outlet was fed by a male plug attached to romex, is that correct? If so then the plug prongs would be energized all the time, and would present a clear shock hazard should someone remove the plug.




I think he is saying just the opposite. When you insert the plug (connected to Romex) into the receptacle, it energizes the Romex run to the ceiling fan.

In other words the Romex has been converted into an extension core with a ceiling fan on one end and a plug on the other end.

Romex wire is not approved as a flexible cord. [IRC 4001.3]

Romex wire is not authorized for use outside of the finished wall system Unless it is protected within an approved conduit.

Thanks for the reference

The rule actually says “protected from physical damage” not “conduit”. A wood chase might be OK but the cord cap (plug) is still troubling.

You would have liked the one I found the other day, the people had romex run to a old falling down garage about 60 feet away and only 7 foot off the ground, the neat part was the end of the romex inside the house, the copper wires had been flattened and stuck directly into a recepticle which, for some “unknown” reason the owners couldn’t figure out, was all scorched and burned around one of the connectors in the recepticle. A plug would have been High Tech.

Ah the good old “Mexican service drop”. That is not as uncommon as one would think. OTOH if this “drop” was a messenger supported UF cable, properly terminated and high enough it might be legal.

Thank you everybody for the responses. My gut feel is that is wasn’t right, but I just wasn’t certain of the exact reference. I am completing the report this morning with everyone’s comments in mind.

The suggestion to bring this into compliance woiuld be a surface extension box with the splice in there. They would still be able to have the receptacle on the extension. A plastic wiremold box would work.

That’s not always the case David. In several counties here in california romex maybe left exposed when installed inside the open wall studs or above the plate line. I agree however in most areas romex subject to physical damage must be protected.

If the fan has the plug with romex it’s ok
you can unplug the romex and all is well.
I find this on lanis with fans pluged into the receptracle.
If you can un plug it than it’s no more than an extention cord.

Did a draw inspection, today. Went down in the basement and there was a radio going (with Polish music). I wasn’t looking closely and I tripped over am electrical cord (to the radio) and the radio died.

I appologized and looked down.

The radio power wire had no plug. Just the bear wires stuck in a multiple recepacle extension cord.

The worker came over and pushed the wires back in. No harm, no foul.

Guess what kind of workers they were?

Yep. Licensed and insured, union electricians. :mrgreen:

Go figure.

Whitley,romex is an indoor jacketed wire, that is not to be run outdoors on lanais. Aside from that the last thing i would want to unplug here in florida is an extension cord run by a homeowner !!

Been there done that , Did you not know the plumbers taps all leak and the shoe repair kids have holes in their shoes .

Roy Cooke


I say outside, you say inside, la,la,la :slight_smile:

I don’t use codes, someone asked.
Dave’s code says no romex in an unprotected area. Stapled to the inside of a stud wall is not unprotected in this case. Extension cord application is not protected and not secured as required by code.

Common OSHA electrical violations:

My brother in law broke the plug on his welder by driving over it. He just plugs the wires directly into the 240v receptacle, and has been doing it for years. He just says, “one day i need to replace that plug…” :smiley: :shock:

Again we have no clear cut answers. What is required by a HI when we come across Example…14-2 romex wire attached to a light on the ceiling then runs down the wall and has a plug end attached to it and plugged into the wall receptacle. I see this alot in basements for like shop lights. Is it wrong or right?