Thursday, April 7, 2011

Code Genuises strike again!

Metal Switch Plates and Plastic Electrical Boxes
A major NEC Code failure which took several years to correct.

When plastic and resin based Electrical switch boxes came on the market for use in residential homes instead of the traditional steel ones it was seen as a significant advancement in technology and cost savings. But it also turned out to be a monster which still has consequences to this day.
The problem is the metal strap on the switch which must be grounded to effectively take away the electrical current should something go wrong in the switch and the energized conductors makes that metal strap electrically hot.
While you may not notice this small trickle of power it could shock you if you have a metal wall plate protecting the switch VS. a plastic one. So with this worry in mind the Code Geniuses instead of requiring switch manufacturers to put a green ground screw on the switch and having the electrician attach the ground wire to it eliminating the hazard they got the big ideal will put plastic washers and screws in so the metal switch plate does not make contact with the switch strap.
WRONG what’s the first thing a new home owner do but take off the plastic switch plates and plastic screws and washers holding them in place and put that fancy metal plate in place with the brass screws which came with it, discarding the plastic screws since they look terrible. Result home owner receives an electrical shock. When something goes wrong with switch. So finally the code geniuses after 2 tries to get it right finally pass a rule you must now manufacture switches with ground screws and electricians must put ground wires to them that is if you have a competent electrician in the first place . so many non- electricians who think they can do electrical work. do not hook up ground wires or wire receptacles back wards but that’s another story.
So Once again what did we learn . As usual it takes some one in the field to find and report the problem the genius who came up with the new idea in the first place should have done there home work on when designing it in the first place.

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