Wires run under joists of high basement ceiling

House had an obviously unprofessional rewiring job, in which some NM wires in the basement were run under and stapled to the bottom of the ceiling joists, which to my understanding does not conform to code. However, the ceiling was rather high, evidently 8 feet, as I could not easily touch the wires reaching up without getting on my toes; and as such they’re not easily subject to damage.

My question is whether or not there is some sort of ceiling height limitation to the requirement that such wiring be run through the joists or protected by a raceway or conduit.

Even at the 8ft height these wires were run the potential for accidental damage is minimal, unless perhaps one has pet monkeys, but I could not see any qualifiers based on ceiling height in any of the code references I could find.

Looks as if the wiring was covered with sheetrock (or ceiling tiles). When that was still in place, it would have been acceptable for support and protection. Have a discussion with your client.

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It looks like the ceiling is Ferd down. An inch and a half with 2x2. Nailer plates are required at 1 1/4 inch


Yep, I did note that a finished ceiling would protect the wiring properly.

My question is strictly if the code does not apply for a ceiling above a certain height. Logically, if a ceiling is 15ft high, for example, nobody will be able to reach the wires without a ladder, and the reason for the code does not apply. This is my point of curiosity.

But then, codes are not necessarily logical. I’ve always considered it silly for so many condos to have an exterior main disconnect, but none in the distribution panel inside the unit.

Any home inspector who Is going to do code compliance inspections should know the codes BEFORE doing the inspections.

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It’s not a code compliance inspection, and my terms state that very clearly, but I don’t wuss out on giving my clients a heads-up as to what the city might require for a property they are purchasing.


There is no height exception I’m aware off… only exception is the wire’s gauage: NEC 2020 334.15[C] only cables #6-2 or #8-3, or larger, are allowed to be secured directly to unfinished crawl/basement joists.

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Yep, Simon, that was the only exception I saw, too.

What code is “The code” that you are referring to? There are problems with asking code questions. First, you didn’t mention which code. You referred what “The city” will require but you didn’t mention which city the building is in. You didn’t mention when the house was built or any relevant information such as how many stories it is.

Like the old saying goes, “A little knowledge is dangerous”.

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You doing a code compliance inspection?
No hazard is present.

Think about this. The NM could be nailed to the board behind your hand and would be code compliant.

Be careful calling anything out unless you KNOW that it is a defect.

Which code?

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That almost certainly does not apply.

It is not prohibited. Therefore, permitted.

It is not prohibited by whom?

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Nope, those are not #6s or even #8s

Yup. Those smaller gauge cables need to concealed if installed as is or on running boards.

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Not in Ohio :smiley:


The NEC. It’s running with the structure. No different than along the side of a joist.

Where and when in Ohio?

Which edition of the NEC? How do you know that any edition of the NEC applies in this case?

You guys are posting all this Code stuff without so much as knowing where the house is, when it was built, when it was wired, how many dwelling units there are, how many stories, or anything else…

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Mike are you sure?

334.15© In Unfinished Basements and Crawl Spaces. Where cable is run at angles with joists in unfinished basements and crawl
spaces, it shall be permissible to secure cables not smaller than
two 6 AWG or three 8 AWG conductors directly to the lower
edges of the joists. Smaller cables shall be run either through
bored holes in joists or on running boards. Nonmetallic-
sheathed cable installed on the wall of an unfinished basement
shall be permitted to be installed in a listed conduit or tubing
or shall be protected in accordance with 300.4. Conduit or
tubing shall be provided with a suitable insulating bushing or
adapter at the point the cable enters the raceway. The sheath of
the nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall extend through the
conduit or tubing and into the outlet or device box not less
than 6 mm ( 1 ∕ 4 in.). The cable shall be secured within 300 mm
(12 in.) of the point where the cable enters the conduit or
tubing. Metal conduit, tubing, and metal outlet boxes shall be
connected to an equipment grounding conductor complying
with the provisions of 250.86 and 250.148.

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