12 Things You Need to Know NOW About the 2017 NEC Code Changes

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Worker Safety and new technology is of rising importance in the new edition of NFPA 70. The 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC) introduces this into one of the more significant updates in the recent years. With many major provisions added, here is a summary of some of the key changes that contractors should definitely know now:

Section 110.16 (B) Arc Flash Hazard Marking

Arc flash labels will now be required to have very specific arc flash information: nominal system voltage, the actual available fault current, and the clearing time of overprotective device(s) based on the available fault current. There are incorporated exceptions and ampere ratings that apply.

Section 210.8 (B) Other than Dwellings (GFCI)

Ground Fault Circuit Interruption (GFCI) Protection has expanded requirements to apply to larger circuits and some additional locations

Section 210.11 (C)(4) Garage Branch Circuits

Modern garages likely have lots of tools used, so now a dedicated 20 A branch circuit is required, supplying receptacle outlets only. It’s also now permissible to feed any readily accessible outdoor receptacle within range as well.

Section 210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection

As it’s already well known, dwelling units currently require AFCI protection. Now the 2017 NEC is expanding protection to guest rooms and dormitory bathrooms and circuits supplying outlets and devices.

Section 210.64 Electrical Service Areas

The 2014 requirement is that a 125 V 15 A or 20A receptacle has to be located within 50 feet. 2017 has expanded this by limiting the distance to within 25 feet and in an accessible location. This is a big benefit to electrical contractors installing services where 120V may not otherwise even be required.

Section 210.71 Meeting Room Receptacle Outlets

This is the first time the NEC has specifically addressed outlets in meeting rooms. The new requirement covers meeting rooms needing many more outlets than older rooms have to offer.

Section 230.95(C) Performance Testing (GFPE)

Primary current injection testing is now required after installation. Unlike GFCI which protects people from electrical shock, GFPE protects expensive equipment from damage in the case of a ground fault. This will represent a significant additional cost for the electrical contractor.

Section 240.87 Arc Energy Reduction

Highlighting greater personnel protection for the electrical contractor, this code adds two arc energy reduction methods to the several already available: an instantaneous trip and an instantaneous override.

Section 310.15 (B)(7) Single Phase Dwelling Feeders

A change in the adjustment factor provides welcome relief to contractors feeding apartment or condominium complexes with three-phase systems. This makes wire bending easier and reduces installation costs.

Section 312.8 (B) Power Monitoring Equipment

With the higher consciousness of energy efficiency, sensors and devices within power equipment will now have provisional rules for installation and ensured safety.

Section 408.3(A)(2) Service Panelboards

An addition of electrical shock hazard protection brings requirements for service panelboards into alignment with what was already in place for switchboards and switchgear.

Section 555.3 Ground-Fault Protection for Marinas and Boatyards

There’s an incumbent electrical hazard that continues to arise in marinas – this code seeks to further minimize the risk by reducing the trip level for floating buildings

For additional code resources, including our on-demand broadcast and FREE Arc Energy Reduction E-guide, access the 2017 National Electrical Code Resource Center on our Square D Electrical Contractor Portal.

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  • Patrick Coyne

    6 years ago

    Nice summary.

    • Whats the code now for arc fault breakers.
      Does lighting circuits need to be protected as well.
      I think yes
      What say you.?

      • Lighting circuits in garage, bathrooms and outdoors do not need AFCI. All other lighting circuits must have AFCI protection.

  • Dolores Valerio

    6 years ago

    Where do I find Info regarding NEC Grounding and Bonding

  • As some companies and many consumers move into building their own off grid electrical systems, it is important to relate to spaces that are not connected to an AC power line. With data centers leading the way, microgrids have become important to global commerce and require their own special set of regulations. The NEC® addition of a direct-current microgrid subsection is an attempt to acknowledge and work with the changing needs of servers, computers, and other technology that uses independent DC grids.

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