When do you say wiring should be protected?

I generally use a 7’ rule (thinking that within 7’ is more likely to be damaged by physical contact). If the wiring is within 7’ of the floor, then I recommend concealing it in conduit or behind walls. The exception is attics. Comments welcome and appreciated.


This appears to be a mechanical room, which is fine the way it is. As long as all wiring is secured to within 12 inches of panel. I only recommend conduit protection to exterior wiring that is susceptible to mechanical damage.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that old cloth jacket Romex? If so it’s been there for 40 years plus.

I may be odd man out, but I would recommend nothing in that case. (Other than identifying the Old wiring)

. . . and a Federal Pacific panel to boot!!

This wiring does not qualify for “in-need-of-protection” in my book.

Yeah Jeff, with breakers on in the down position too!! :D:D:D

The room is a utility room. Also serves as a laundry room. Note the storage shelf in front of the wiring.

(Yes, a FPE panel. Good eye.)

Expand the question to unfinished garages, which I see quite often. Would you recommend protection there?

Only if it is for fire protection on a firewall. Exposed wiring inside stud cavities in a garage are fine.


Then why to builders put sheetrock above and below and beside the main panel but often neglect to protect the wiring elsewhere in the garage?

I believe that this is an interpretation of Romex and other wiring requiring protection that is installed on the exterior of a finished wall.
In this case[FONT=Tahoma][size=2], if the wall was finished, the wiring would be protected properly. I think we need to fall back to, should these utility room walls be protected for fire code etc.
[/size][/FONT]I feel this rule is more towards installing electrical conductors outside of the finished wall in a habitable space (crawlspace, basement and attic would be excluded in some instances). Protection of electrical conductors within the proximity of the crawlspace and attic access areas is defined[FONT=Tahoma][size=2].
[/size][/FONT]If there is something you see on site that could potentially damage this fragile electrical conductor, you are obliged to note that as a safety concern.
For example, Romex wiring to the garbage disposal under the kitchen sink which is an extremely high traffic area (because of the detergents and cleaning components generally stored there) which is highly susceptible to damage. Armor shielded cable is generally used here and also becomes damaged due to this high traffic and their sharp edges potentially damage Romex wiring inside[FONT=Tahoma][size=2].
[/size][/FONT]I think that this is a case-by-case interpretation of how the property is currently being used and will potentially be used by the buyer[FONT=Tahoma][size=2]. If there is a “potential” issue, I would make note of that.

Local code interpretation.

Needs to be protected as shown. :mrgreen: I report like you do on this one Joe

It survived this long in that same location without a blemish so there’s no real reason to believe that it will need mechanical protection for the next 40 years unless the way that room is used changes substantially.

I am sure it is not all 40 years old. I am not sure how it performed in the past.

Hey everybody, im breaking my post cherry here, so take it easy on me.

It looks like there is no connector in that black receptacle. a lot of the wires are not secured within 12".
Code summary in short is… all romex should be strapped within 8" of the enclosure unless there is a mechanical clamp, then it has to be secured within 12".

The space in front of the panel has to be clear of obstructions for 36" in this case. (there are 4 exceptions)

If the wires that were bored through those holes were installed after Jan. of 2008 then there could only be 2 romex conductors ran through them.
(4 current carrying conductors have to be de-rated for ampacity if they are ran through a raceway, bored holes, etc. size of the hole or raceway plays a factor in that also)

Like blaine stated, any breakers, switches, etc. should not be energized in the down position. This helps prevent against a breaker falling down on its own (it happens). Some switches and breakers lose their “switching” strength over time and can fall in the on position.

The bored holes should not be within 1 1/4" of the edge of the stud. Which is clearly depicted on the third stud to the right of the panel.

Last but not least, make sure the breakers are labeled.

Ya, im not smart, I’m just a full time electrician. haha

All in all it looks like a real ****ty installation, I suspect the homeowner wired mostly all of this. I would hope most electricians would not cross wires, and strap them accordingly, just for aesthetics sake.

Same here.

Good calls Eric and Welcome


Here in San Diego County, anything below 7’ needs to be protected. Doesn’t matter where it is – garage, laundry room, basement, converted attic, whatever. There was a lawsuit here back in 2000 or 2001 – prior to me ever beginning my business – where the home inspector lost because he didn’t recommend such protection in the garage. My attorneys brought it to my attention when we were setting up my company in the Summer of 2001.

In shaky California, I can see why everything must be protected. Even your _ _ _ _.

“My attorneys brought it to my attention when we were setting up my company in the Summer of 2001”

In shaky California, I can see why everything must be protected. Especially your A$.$!!!

Keep talking to your attorneys!!!