What is the National Electrical Code?

Although most people don’t walk around wondering what the national electrical code may be, your NH electrician does, and should. As a licensed electrician, knowing the most up to date state coding requirements is a must when it comes to safety. This article will provide you a brief overview of the NEC and why it’s important for you to understand, if only minimally.


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Developed by the National Fire Protection Association, the NEC (National Electrical Code) is a series of technical coding put in place for optimal safety procedures when dealing with electrical work. Although the NEC is not federal law, several states mandate licensed electricians to be up to date on the most recent coding guidelines.

Updated every three years, the NEC most recently published the newest version in 2017. As of October 1, 2019 this version is in effect within 30 of the country’s states. The 2014 version is being used in 13 states, and the 2011 in one. However, there are still three states utilizing the coding of NEC from 2008.

For those not up to date, or following safety procedures at all, negligence is a big concern. Those who fail to adhere to these well known best practices have been held negligent in civil suits resulting in a loss of property or life. No need to worry though, your NH electrician is using the newest 2017 coding standards (or should be).



The structure

The NEC is composed of nine chapters that define its purpose, definitions, and rules or information when participating in electrical work. Below are a few of the areas covered:

  • Definitions and regulations for installations
  • Circuits and circuit protection
  • Methods and materials for wiring
  • Special equipment
  • Special conditions
  • Communication systems requirements
  • Tables regarding conductor, cable, and conduit properties
  • Proper implementation of various code articles and calculations

This 1,500 page book contains the entire code, illustrations, and explanations. Additional cross-references to earlier editions are also made for clarification purposes. However, these are only meant as a reference and not a guideline.


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Being an NH electrician requires extensive training and knowledge. Thus, whether you need residential or commercial services, it’s always best to trust the job to a team with a strong background – for example, Chamberlin Electric. Since 1989 we’ve been New England’s first choice for quality electrical contracting. For more information, give us a call at (603) 595-9473.