use of extension cords

So I have had a few dishwashers and garbage disposals lately that have been installed using an orange extension cords that have been direct wired to the units. (not used as extension cords but as the actual wire)

Should I be writing that up, is that an appropriate material to be using?

Were the cords plugged into a receptacle at the other end and what was the size of the cord? I have found garbage disposals with brown lamp cord wired into it and plugged in at the under sink receptacle and I have found Romex with a plug on the end used for just about everything; dishwashers, disposals, etc. Neither is right. I have also found extension cords used where they cut the female end off and wired it in but left 50 ft of cord coiled up under the sink. I have also found orange extension cord used to power a disposal but found the ground prong has been removed due to a two prong ungrounded receptacle under the sink. The disposal was installed in a stainless steel sink so there is no ground present. Is that a problem. Yes! Metal, water and electricity is a deadly mix. It isn’t always a simple YES or NO. You have to dig deeper because people do all kinds of crazy things inside their homes.

In a perfect world, an approved appliance cord should be used as it is rated for this kind of application. Without a photo I would be guessing about what you found. I don’t like guessing and giving advice that may be wrong then you end up getting yourself in a bind. Photos would be extremely helpful when you run up on something like this and you are unsure of the applications.

The condition of an extension cord being used in place of cable should always be identified as a safety issue. The extension cord in question is likely not being utilized as designed and/or intended by either the manufactuer of the extension cord or the installed appliance. The NEC touches on this, but quoting codes by an HI is obviously a slippery slope.

Extension cords are listed components - they are listed for temporary use. Electrical components must be used in accordance with their listing.

Extension cords are UL listed and as long as the conductor size is proper it should be fine to use and many electricians do this on a regular basis. It’s a good way to use a cord that was damaged some place else on the cord which made it unusable as an extension cord. So the argument I’ve heard is after it’s been cut it’s no longer an extension cord so if it’s of the proper conductor size and no longer than 4 feet, as far as the NEC goes it’s no different than an appliance cord you can buy The reason I would mention it in my report would be that once it was cut it no longer meets it’s UL listing.

That was my initial thought, I never quote code but want to bring it to their attention, it they want to go further than that its their decision.
Thanks to all

Exactly Cover your ***** .
We did a home this week that we did in 2002 .
Exactly the way it was 9 years ago except they had put on vinyl where it was aluminum before .
Same no ground on some plugs hot neutral reversed No GFI installed Tape on laundry drain same colours same cracked Toilet.
Some people are it works so thats OK .
Still a tired house that has many needs.
So you can expect they could leave the extension cord .
Still a lot better then the 300 ohm TV cord I have seen used.

Speaker wire, extension cords, lamp cords and many others find their way into the use of permanently connected appliances… and should be an easy catch and fix.

I don’t believe it is the case, but it appears as if you are implying the practices mentioned are valid if an electrician performed them…thus the need for HI’s.:smiley:

While modifying an extension cord will likely void its UL listing (what if an extension cord is not UL listed?..can it then be modified?), the NEC is the final authority in regard to the specification of wire or cable used in a permanent installation.

My point is that we are to refer to a licensed electrician when something electrical is questionable since we are not experts or code inspectors. The people call the electrician and he says I do that all the time it’s no big deal. Like I said, as long as the cord is of the right conductor size and in good shape the electrician will use it. The NEC 422 doesn’t say the type of cord. It states “suitable for the purpose in the installation instructions
of the appliance manufacturer”. The NEC doesn’t cover cords or appliances, UL does. That’s why I mentioned the UL listing. It states “suitable fitting for line connection assembled to a length of general-purpose flexible cord”. This sounds like an extension cord can be used to me. But UL always states you should not use an extension cord if it’s been cut.

Nondetachable Types
Power-supply Cord — This is a power-supply cord consisting of a length of flexible cord assembled with an attachment plug or current tap as a line fitting but without a cord connector (appliance coupler) at the opposite end. It is intended for direct wiring connection to an appliance and may include a through-cord switch. Nondetachable power-supply cords may be one of the following:

  • Power-supply Cord for General Use — This is a power-supply cord consisting of a suitable fitting for line connection assembled to a length of general-purpose flexible cord, and may include a through-cord switch.
  • Power-supply Cord for Ranges and Dryers — This is a power-supply cord consisting of a general-use nondetachable power-supply cord constructed using Type SRD or SRDT flexible cable. The flexible cable may employ a neutral conductor which is two AWG sizes smaller than the other circuit conductors, but not smaller than 10 AWG.

For cord and plug appliance connections there are several NEC requirements, one being that the appliance must listed for cord and plug connection:

Another requirement is that the cord be identified as suitable for the purpose in the appliance installation instructions. I would doubt that the instructions would permit an orange extension cord to cut and be used in either of these applications. Also I agree with Scott that modifying an extension cord would likely violate it’s listing.

Did you remove the wire nuts and have a look see or are you just assuming it was an extension cord?

I would assume an extension cord based on the lack of spec stamping usually found on NM cable insulation…no need for disassembly.

The NEC has numerous provisions covering cords and appliances as pointed out by Mr. Meier. Ultimately, I believe we were discussing the proper installation of a dishwasher and garbage disposal. As stated, the NEC directly addresses the proper installation of these appliances. I am not aware UL has issued such spec’s.

In conclusion, the appliances did not appear installed correctly per the NEC, and the use of a modified extension cord does not meet the UL listing for the cord…

Flexible cord is permitted by the NEC as long as it of suitable for the purpose. UL is the governing body of appliances and cords. If you read the NEC is often says “listed” when referring to extension cords. NEC doesn’t do the listing UL does. The NEC only refers to the use of such devices. UL does have installation requirements for both dishwashers (UL 749) and disposers (UL430). Both allow cords as long as they are proper. I would agree the cut extension cord is not “proper”. In new installs I believe you need to get the cord directly from the appliance manufacture but it wasn’t always the case as long as the cord meet the UL standards for the appliance type.

I believe the stated sections are referring to product safety in general as it applies to the given appliances…Correct me if I am wrong, but UL installation policy states the appliance must be installed per the NEC.

Very close to NEC. The NEC regulates the installation of electrical components but in this case we are talking about an appliance. The internal wiring and how an appliance connects to power is listed by UL.
UL Standard UL-749
UL 749
Household Dishwashers

7.3 Installation instructions

7.3.1A Where the installation instructions for a built-in dishwasher specifies
that the appliance is able to be connected by means of a power-supply cord
not already attached to the appliance by the manufacturer, the instructions
shall specify that a power-supply cord kit marked for use with dishwashers
shall be used. The cord kit shall comply with Clause 25.2A. The part or model
number of the power-supply cord kit shall be included in the appliance
installation instructions.
7.3.2 The installation instructions provided with a cord-connected undercounter appliance shall include the following instructions or equivalent information:
a) the power-supply receptacle for the appliance shall be installed in a cabinet or on a wall adjacent to the undercounter space in which the appliance is to be installed;
b) there shall be an opening through the partition between the compartments specified in (a) thatis large enough for the attachment plug to pass through. The longest dimension of the opening shall not be more than 38 mm;
c) the edges of the opening specified in (b) shall, if the partition is wood, be smooth and rounded, or, if the partition is metal, be covered with an edge protector provided for this purpose by the manufacturer; and
d) care shall be exercised, when the appliance is installed or removed, to reduce the likelihood ofdamage to the power-supply cord.

25.2 Cord-connected appliances
25.2.1 The power-supply cord of an appliance provided with a means for grounding shall include anequipment-bonding conductor and shall terminate in a grounding-type attachment plug.

25.2.4 For a cord-connected built-in appliance:
a) the flexible cord shall be Type S, SJT, SPT-3, or the equivalent; and
b) the length of the flexible cord shall be 0.9 – 1.2 m, measured from the face of the
attachment plug to the plane of the rear of the appliance.

25.2.5 The power-supply cord shall be attached permanently to the
appliance or shall be in the form of a separate cord supplied as part of a
power-supply cord kit with means for connection to the appliance. The
power-supply cord kit shall comply with Clause 25.2A.
25.2.6 The ampacity of the cord and the current rating of the fittings shall not be less than the current
rating of the appliance.
For an appliance rated more than 15 A, the current rating of the attachment plug shall not be less than 125% of the current rating of the appliance.
A 20 A plug shall be acceptable for an appliance rated not more than 4000 W at 240 V. The attachment plug shall be acceptable for use at a voltage equal to the rated voltage of the appliance.

25.2A Power-supply cord kits for use with undercounter or built-in
25.2A.1 A power-supply cord kit intended for the installation of an
undercounter or built-in dishwasher shall include the following:
a) power-supp ly cord, strain-relief means, and push-back relief that complies
with Clause 25.2;
b) a part or model number marked on the power-supply cord kit package, or
in the kit installation instructions;
c) installation instructions; and
d) grounding instructions in accordance with Clause

In the eye of the NEC the appliances in this case are covered is section 422.16B (Specific Appliances) of the NEC.

7.3 Instructions listed are in fact the NEC spec’s.

There is no doubt a degree of duplicity exists within the pages of the UL listings and the NEC. At the end of the day this is a good thing.

Now, Kenneth, aren’t you glad you asked? :smiley: