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How to Install Wiring in a Basement

Romex or metal cable: What should be used when wiring a basement and how is the wiring protected?

Basement Electrical Wiring

Electrical Question: Can the Romex brand wire be used when Wiring a Basement?

This electrical question came from George, in California.
Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question George.

Basement Electrical Wiring

Application: Electrical Wiring for a Basement.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best installed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Certified Electrician.
Tools Required: Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools for Rough-In Wiring, Electric Drill and Auger Bits, Extension Cords, and a Ladder as needed.
Estimated Time: Depends on the extent of the basement wiring project and available access to the project area.
Precaution: Any existing wiring in the immediate area that may interfere with the new wiring should be identified, turned OFF and Tagged.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring in the basement should always be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Electrical Wiring for a Basement

Basement Wiring – NEC Sections 336-6c, 333-11
The concern is that the wiring is protected and not exposed to physical harm.
Other considerations include the future use of the area. You do not want to run surface wiring if the area may be finished off with sheet rock or other materials in the future.
Romex:
The code states that the Romex style wiring made up of two conductors smaller than No.6, or three No.8 must be run through holes bored in joists, or on running boards which would provide protection to the wiring.
Armored BX:
In unfinished basements, exposed runs of armored (BX) cable can be run on the undersides of joists in basements where supported on each joist and so located as not to be subject to physical damage.
In Unfinished Basements
Where the cable is run at angles with joists in unfinished basements, it is permissible to secure cables not smaller than two No. 6 or three No. 8 conductors directly to the lower edges of the joists. Smaller Romex type cables shall either be run through bored holes in joists or on running boards.
“On Running Boards” refers to wood members such as joists, girders or supporting members. This is accomplished by following these members there by having a means for protection and anchoring.
PLEASE NOTE:
The local inspection authority usually interprets the meaning of “subject to physical damage”. Your local building inspector enforces their “Interpretation of the Code”, thereby having the final authority.

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