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Standard for

Installing Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable


(Type NM-B) and Underground Feeder and
Branch-Circuit Cable (Type UF)
NECA 121-2007
Published by
National Electrical
Contractors Association
A M E R I C A N N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D

Standard for
Installing Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable
(Type NM-B) and Underground Feeder
and Branch-Circuit Cable (Type UF)
NECA 121-2007
An American
National Standard
Published by
National Electrical
Contractors Association
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i I
Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .iii
1. Scope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
1.1 Products and Applications Included . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
1.2 Products and Applications Excluded . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
1.3 Regulatory and Other Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
2. Construction of NM-B and UF Cables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
2.1 Type NM-B Cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
2.2 Type UF Cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
2.3 Cable Covering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
3. Ampacity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
3.1 Type NM-B Cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
3.2 ExampleDerating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
3.3 Type UF Cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
4. Uses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
4.1 Type NM-B Cable Permitted Uses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
4.2 Type UF Cable Permitted Uses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
4.3 Type NM-B Cable Uses Not Permitted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
4.4 Type UF Cable Uses Not Permitted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
5. Installation Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
5.1 Protection from Physical DamageType NM-B and UF Cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
5.2 Securing and Supporting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
5.3 Boxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
5.4 Cable Fittings and Supports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
5.5 Cable Supports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
5.6 Securing Cables to Metal Cabinets, Cutout Boxes, and Meter Sockets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
6. Reidentification of Cable Conductors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
6.1 Ungrounded Conductors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
6.2 Switch Loops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
6.3 Permanently Reidentified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
6.4 Heat Shrink Tubing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Table of Contents
I ii
7. Recommended Installation ProceduresType NM-B Cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
7.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
7.2 Switch Outlet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
7.3 Ceiling Fan Outlet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
7.4 3-way and 4-way Switches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
7.5 Preparing Type NM-B Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
8. Recommended Installation ProceduresType UF Cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
8.1 Underground Installation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
8.2 Grounding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
Annex A: Reference Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
NECA 121 Standard for Installing Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable (Type NM-B) and Underground
Feeder and Branch-Circuit Cable (Type UF)
iii I
National Electrical Installation Standards

(NEIS) are
designed to improve communication among speci-
fiers, purchasers, and suppliers of electrical construc-
tion services. They define a minimum baseline of
quality and workmanship for installing electrical prod-
ucts and systems. NEIS are intended to be referenced
in contract documents for electrical construction pro-
jects. The following language is recommended:
Nonmetallic-sheathed cable (Type NM-B) and
underground feeder and branch-circuit cable
(Type UF) shall be installed and maintained in
accordance with NECA 121, Standard for
Installing Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable (Type NM-
B) and Underground Feeder and Branch-Circuit
Cable (Type UF) (ANSI).
Use of NEIS is voluntary, and the National Electrical
Contractors Association assumes no obligation or lia-
bility to users of this publication. Existence of a stan-
dard shall not preclude any member or nonmember
of NECA from specifying or using alternate con-
struction methods permitted by applicable regula-
tions.
The installation and maintenance practices recom-
mended by this publication are intended to
comply with the edition of the National Electrical
Code (NEC) in effect at the time of publication.
Because they are quality standards, NEIS may in
some instances go beyond the minimum safety
requirements of the NEC. It is the responsibility of
users of this standard to comply with state and local
electrical codes when installing electrical products
and systems.
Suggestions for revisions and improvements to this
standard are welcome. They should be addressed to:
NECA Standards & Safety
3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 657-3110 telephone
(301) 215-4500 fax
www.neca-neis.org
neis@necanet.org
To purchase NEIS, contact the NECA Order Desk at
(301) 215-4504 tel, (301) 215-4500 fax, or
orderdesk@necanet.org. NEIS can also be purchased
in PDF format from www.neca-neis.org/standards.
Copyright 2007, National Electrical Contractors
Association. All rights reserved. Unauthorized repro-
duction prohibited.
National Electrical Installation Standards, NEIS, and the
NEIS logo are trademarks of the National Electrical
Contractors Association. National Electrical Code and
NEC are registered trademarks of the National Fire
Protection Association.
Cover photo courtesy www.hardwarestore.com
Foreword
(This foreword is not a part of the standard)
<This page intentionally left blank.>
1 I
This standard describes installation procedures for
nonmetallic-sheathed cable (Type NM) and under-
ground feeder and branch-circuit cable (Type UF).
1.1 Products and Applications Included
This publication covers the following:
1. Nonmetallic-sheathed cable with insulation rated
90C (194F), listed as Type NM-B.
2. Underground feeder and branch-circuit cable,
Type UF.
1.2 Products and Applications Excluded
This publication does not cover the following:
1. Nonmetallic-sheathed cable with insulation rated
60C (140F), listed as NM.
2. Corrosion-resistant nonmetallic-sheathed cable
(Type NMC).
1.3 Regulatory and Other Requirements
a) All information in this publication is intended to
conform to the National Electrical Code
(ANSI/NFPA 70). Installers should always follow the
NEC, applicable state and local codes, manufacturers
instructions, and contract documents when installing
nonmetallic-sheathed cable systems.
b) Only qualified persons familiar with the installa-
tion of nonmetallic-sheathed cable should perform
the work described in this publication. It is recom-
mended that all work be performed in accordance
with NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the
Workplace.
c) General requirements for installing electrical
products and systems are described in NECA 1,
Standard Practices for Good Workmanship in Electrical
Construction (ANSI). Other National Electrical
Installation Standards provide additional guidance for
installing particular types of electrical products and
systems. A complete list of NEIS is provided in
Annex A.
1. Scope
2.1 Type NM-B
Type NM-B cable has an overall covering, which is
flame-retardant and moisture-resistant. The cable is
rated 600V and listed in copper sizes 14 AWG
through 2 AWG or sizes 12 AWG through 2 AWG
with copper-clad or aluminum conductors.
Type NM-B cables are required to be durably marked
on the surface to indicate the following information:
(1) The maximum rated voltage
(2) Type of conductors
(3) Manufacturers name or trademark
(4) The AWG size or circular mil
Figure 1a shows typical NM-B cables marked with the
conductor size and number of conductors. The insu-
lated power conductors are required to be rated at
90C (194F). Type NM-B cable is required to have
an insulated (green) or bare conductor, which must
be used for equipment-grounding purposes only. The
equipment grounding conductor is sized according to
NEC Table 250.122. Bare grounding conductors are
wrapped in paper to prevent contact with the insulat-
ed conductors. Type NM-B cable is available in either
flat or round construction. In flat Type NM-B cable,
the grounding conductor is located directly between
the circuit conductors. (See Figure 1b.)
The letters w/gr indicate that a separate grounding
conductor is present.
2.2 Type UF Cable
Type UF cable has an overall covering, which is flame-
retardant, moisture- and corrosion-resistant, and suit-
able for use as direct burial in the earth. The cable is
rated 600V and listed in sizes 14 AWG copper through
4/0 AWG or sizes 12 AWG through 4/0 AWG with
aluminum or copper-clad aluminum conductors.
The cable is permitted to have an insulated or bare
conductor that may be used for equipment grounding
purposes only. Where Type UF is installed as a substi-
tute wiring method for Type NM cable, the conductor
insulation shall be rated 90C (194F). (See Figure 2.)
2. Construction of NM-B and UF
Cables
I 2
Black
White
Bare
(Ground)
Red
Figure 2: Type UF cable
Black (ungrounded)
Bare equipment grounding conductor
White (grounded)
Figure 1b: Flat type NM-B cable
Black
White
Bare
(Ground)
Figure 1a: Type NM-B cable showing marking on cables
Type UF, underground feeder and branch-circuit
cable, is required to be surface marked indicating the
maximum rated voltage, manufacturers name or
trademark, and the AWG size.
2.3 Cable Covering
Although not a listing requirement or an NEC
requirement, the use of the following colors for the
NM-B cable overall covering is generally accepted
throughout the industry for identifying cable con-
ductor sizes.
White 14 AWG
Yellow 12 AWG
Orange 10 AWG
Black 8 AWG and larger
Standard for Installing Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable (Type NM-B) and Underground NECA 121
Feeder and Branch-Circuit Cable (Type UF)
3 I
3.1 Type NM-B Cable
Type NM-B Cable insulated power conductors must
have insulation rated at 90C (194F). The ampacity
of Type NM-B power conductors shall be in accor-
dance with the 60C (140F) conductor temperature
rating using NEC Table 310.16. For ampacity derat-
ing purposes, the 90C (194F) rating is permitted to
be used provided the final derated ampacity being
used does not exceed that for a 60C (140F) rated
conductor. Where multiconductor cables are stacked
or bundled together longer than 24 inches, the allow-
able ampacity of each conductor must be reduced in
accordance with NEC Table 310.15(B)(2)(a).
3.2 ExampleDerating
Bundling is not defined in the NEC but is generally
accepted to mean cables or conductors that are physi-
cally tied, wrapped, taped, or otherwise periodically
bound together. Stacking means installing cables or
conductors in close proximity without spacing
between cables and without physically tying, wrap-
ping, taping, or otherwise binding them together. It
is important to maintain spacing between cables to
prevent any buildup of heat.
To determine the allowable ampacity of multicon-
ductor cables that are stacked or bundled together,
follow this procedure (assume two 12-3 w/gr cables):
1. Determine the number of current-carrying con-
ductors.
a. Each cable has two 12 AWG phase conductors,
one neutral conductor, and one equipment-
grounding conductor.
b. Only the phase conductors must be counted.
c. Neutral conductors are not counted unless
they are the common conductor in a 3-wire
circuit consisting of two phase conductors and
the neutral of a 4-wire, 3-phase, wye-connect-
ed system; see NEC 310.15(B)(4)(b).
d. Equipment-grounding conductors are not
counted.
2. Step 1 results in four current-carrying conduc-
tors (four-12 AWG phase conductors).
a. NEC Table 310.15(B)(2)(a) requires that for
four to six current-carrying conductors, the
ampacity be reduced to 80 percent.
b. The 60C (140F) column of NEC Table 310.16
shows a current-carrying capacity of 25
amperes for a 12 AWG copper conductor,
which when reduced to 80 percent, is 20
amperes, and presents no problem because
NEC 240.4(D) limits the overcurrent protection
for a 12 AWG copper conductor to 20 amperes.
However, using four 12-3 w/gr cables stacked or bun-
dled together, the procedure is as follows:
1. Repeat Step 1 as described above using four 12-3
w/gr cables.
2. Step 1 results in eight current-carrying conduc-
tors (8-12 AWG phase conductors).
a. NEC Table 310.15(B)(2)(a) requires that for
seven to nine current-carrying conductors, the
ampacity be reduced to 70 percent.
b. The 60C (140F) column of NEC Table
310.16 shows a current-carrying capacity of 25
amperes for a 12 AWG copper conductor,
which when reduced to 70 percent, is (25 x
.70) or 17.1 amperes and the overcurrent pro-
tection permitted would be reduced to 15
amperes. However, being permitted to use the
90C (194F) column of NEC Table 310.16 for
derating purposes, the allowable ampacity of
3. Ampacity
I 4
30 amperes shown in Table 310.16 for a 12
AWG copper conductor is reduced to 21
amperes (30 x .70). A 20-ampere overcurrent
device is still permitted.
The chart below shows that being permitted to use
the 90C rating of the conductors for ampacity-der-
ating purposes will many times result in the final
overcurrent protection permitted being consistent
with the requirements of NEC 240.4(D).
Bundling or stacking more than four cables longer
than 24 inches could result in requiring a large derat-
ing factor and should be avoided. (See Figure 3.)
Where more than two cables containing two or more
current-carrying conductors pass through the same
opening in wood framing that is to be fire or draft
stopped using thermal insulation, caulk, or sealing
foam, or if the conductors are installed in contact
with thermal insulation without maintaining spacing
between cables, the allowable ampacity of each con-
ductor shall be adjusted in accordance with NEC
Table 310.15(B)(2)(a). Note there is no 24-inch pro-
vision in this requirement. (See Figure 4.)
3.3 Type UF Cable
The ampacity of the insulated power conductors of
Type UF Cable shall be that of 60C (140F) conduc-
tors in accordance with NEC Table 310.16. Where
installed as nonmetallic-sheathed cable, the installa-
tion and conductor requirements shall comply with
Parts II and III of NEC Article 334 and shall be of the
multiconductor type. The conductor insulation shall
be rated 90C (194F). The derating requirements
are identical to those shown for Type NM-B cable in
the example above.
Standard for Installing Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable (Type NM-B) and Underground NECA 121
Feeder and Branch-Circuit Cable (Type UF)
5 I
Cable Current-carrying 310.15(B)(2)(A) Table 331-16 Derated Table 310.16 Derated Overcurrent
Size Conductors Adjustment % 60 Column Ampacity 90 Column Ampacity Permitted
2 14-3 w/gr 4 80 20 16 15
3 14-3 w/gr 6 80 20 16 15
4 14-3 w/gr 8 70 20 14 25 17.5 15
2 12-3 w/gr 4 80 25 20 20
3 12-3 w/gr 6 80 25 20 20
4 12-3 w/gr 8 70 25 17.5 30 21 20
2 10-3 w/g 4 80 30 24 40 32 30
3 10-3 w/g 6 80 30 24 40 32 30
Figure 3: Stacking or bundling cables
Nonmetallic-sheathed cables
Fire or draft stopping
with thermal insulation
or sealing foam
Figure 4: Two or more cables through fire or draft stopping
4.1 Type NM-B Cable Permitted Uses
Type NM-B cable is permitted to be used in any one-
or two-family dwelling, but its use in multifamily
dwellings and other structures is permitted only in
Types III, IV, or V fire-rated construction as defined
in NFPA 220-1999. Model building codes show
Type III (a combination of combustible and non-
combustible), Type IV (heavy timber), and Type V
(wood frame). Types III, IV, and V permit some or
all of the structure to be combustible (wood).
The chart below shows the number of stories permit-
ted for Type III, IV, or V construction.
In structures that are Types III, IV, or V construction,
other than one- and two-family or multifamily
dwellings, cables must be concealed in walls, floors,
or ceilings that provide a thermal barrier that has at
least a 15-minute finish rating as identified in listings
of fire-rated assemblies.
Type NM-B cable can be used for both exposed and
concealed work in normally dry locations and can be
installed or fished in air voids in masonry block or
tile walls.
4.2 Type UF Cable Permitted Uses
Type UF cable is permitted to be used underground,
including direct burial in the earth. Where installed
as a single conductor cable, all conductors of the feed-
er or branch-circuit including the grounded conduc-
tor and the equipment-grounding conductor must be
contained within the same raceway, auxiliary gutter,
cable tray, or trench. Type UF cable can be used in
wet, dry, or corrosive locations. Where used as non-
metallic-sheathed cable, Type UF cable must be
installed in compliance with Parts II and III of NEC
Article 334 and must be of the multiconductor type.
4.3 Type NM-B Cable Uses Not Permitted
There are many uses where Type NM-B cable is not
permitted to be installed, and the installer must
check the NEC for complete information pertaining
to those areas before starting the installation.
Following is a partial list of uses where Type NM-B
cable cannot be used. Type NM-B cable cannot be
installed exposed in dropped or suspended ceilings in
other than one- and two-family and multifamily
dwellings. The term exposed used here is found in
NEC Article 100, which states, on or attached to the
surface or behind panels designed to allow access.
Type NM-B cable would be subject to damage any-
where it is exposed. Type NM-B cable cannot be
used in theaters, motion picture studios, as service
entrance cable, in commercial garages, embedded in
poured concrete, or in hazardous classified areas.
4.4 Type UF Cable Uses Not Permitted
Where used as nonmetallic-sheathed cable, Type UF
cable must be installed in compliance with Parts II
and III of NEC Article 334 and must be of the multi-
conductor type. Type UF cable is not permitted to be
used where exposed to the direct rays of the sun
unless identified as sunlight resistant. Additionally,
Type UF cable is not permitted to be used as service
entrance cable, in commercial garages or in theaters
and similar locations, in elevator hoistways or on
escalators or elevators, embedded in poured cement
or concrete, and where subject to physical damage.
4. Uses
I 6
Number of Stories
Type III Type IV TypeV
Non-Rated 2 4 2
One-Hour Rated 4 3
5.1 Protection from Physical Damage
Type NM-B and UF Cable
5.1.1 Passing Through Floors
Cables must be protected from physical damage
where necessary by installation in sleeves made from
rigid or intermediate metal conduit, electrical metal-
lic tubing, Schedule 80 PVC rigid nonmetallic con-
duit, or other means approved by the Authority
Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Where passing through a
floor, this protection must extend at least six inches
above the floor. A fitting must be provided on the
ends of the conduit or tubing to protect the cable
from abrasion (see Figure 5).
5.1.2 Bored Holes
Where cable is installed through bored holes in joists,
rafters, or wood members, holes must be bored so
that the edge of the hole is not less than 1-1/4 inches
from the nearest edge of the wood member. Where
this distance cannot be maintained, the cable must be
protected by a steel plate or bushing at least 1/16 inch
(1.6 mm) thick (see Figure 6). The intent is to pre-
vent damage to the cables from nails or screws being
driven into the cables. A listed and marked steel
plate less than 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) thick that provides
equal protection against nail or screw penetration is
permitted.
5.1.3 Notches in Wood
Where there is no objection to notching wood mem-
bers, in both concealed and exposed locations, cables
may be laid in notches in wood members where the
cable is protected by a steel plate at least 1/16 inch
(1.6 mm) thick installed to cover the area of the cable
(see Figure 7). A listed and marked steel plate less
than 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) thick that provides equal
protection against nail or screw penetration is per-
mitted. Caution must be taken to limit the size of
notches cut into wood members so as not to weaken
the strength of the structure. The installer should
always get the approval of the AHJ before notching
wood members.
5. Installation Considerations
7 I
Protect cable with rigid metal
conduit, intermediate metal
conduit, electrical metallic
tubing, schedule 80 PVC con-
duit, or listed surface metal or
listed surface raceway, or other
metal pipe
Protect at least 6 inches
(152mm) above the floor
Nonmetallic
sheathed cable
Protect cable
from abrasion
on both ends
300.15(c)
Figure 5: Cable passing through floors
Less than
1 in.
(32mm)
NMCable
Steel plate
1/16 in.
(1.6mm)
Figure 6: Cable through bored holes
5.1.4 Metal Framing Members
In both exposed and concealed locations where
cables pass through punched, cut, or drilled holes in
metal framing members, the cable must be protected
by listed bushings or grommets covering all metal
edges (see Figure 8). The bushings or grommets must
be installed prior to the installation of the cables.
Listed bushings or grommets fit securely in the open-
ing in the metal stud and meet stringent pullout
requirements of the product standard. Figure 8 shows
two types of grommets available for this purpose.
Where nails or screws are likely to penetrate the cable,
a steel sleeve or steel plate not less than 1/16 inch (1.6
mm) thickness must be used to protect the cable. A
listed and marked steel plate less than 1/16 inches (1.6
mm) thick that provides equal protection against nail
or screw penetration is permitted.
5.1.5 In Accessible Attics
Cables installed in accessible attics where run across
the top of floor joists or run across the face of rafters
or studding within 7 feet (2.1 m) of the floor or floor
joists must be protected by substantial guard strips
that are at least as high as the cable. Where this space
is not accessible by permanent stairs or ladders, pro-
tection is only required within 6 feet (1.8 m) of the
scuttle hole or attic entrance. Where the cable is
installed parallel to rafters, studs, or floor joists,
guard strips are not required.
5.2 Securing and Supporting
5.2.1 Cable Supports
Cable supports shall be installed at intervals not to
exceed 4-1/2 feet (1.4 m) and within 12 inches (300
mm) of every outlet box, junction box, cabinet, or
fitting. Flat constructed cables shall not be stapled
on edge (see Figure 9).
5.2.2 Spaces Behind Panels
Cables installed behind panels designed to allow
access must be supported and secured by staples,
cable ties, or similar fittings designed so as not to
damage the cable. In other than one- and two-family
and multifamily dwellings, cable is not permitted to
be run exposed. Installations in raceways are consid-
ered concealed.
NECA 121 Standard for Installing Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable (Type NM-B) and Underground
Feeder and Branch-Circuit Cable (Type UF)
I 8
Metal studs
Figure 8: Bushings or grommets metal framing members
2X2
Metal plate
1/16 in.
Notched
studs
2X4
Figure 7: Notches in wood studs
Incorrect Correct
Figure 9: Flat cables not stapled on edge
9 I
Standard for Installing Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable (Type NM-B) and Underground NECA 121
Feeder and Branch-Circuit Cable (Type UF)
5.2.3 In Unfinished Basements and Crawl
Spaces
Where cables are run at angles with joists, cables not
smaller than two 6 AWG or three 8 AWG may be
secured directly to the lower edge of the joists.
Smaller cables must be run through bored holes in
joists or on running boards (see Figure 10).
Cables used on the wall of an unfinished basement
may be installed in a listed conduit or tubing. A
nonmetallic bushing must be used where the cable
enters the raceway. Metal conduit and tubing and
metal boxes must be grounded (see Figure 11).
Unsupported Cables
NM-B cable is not required to be supported, within
an accessible ceiling, where the cable extends not
more than 4-1/2 feet (1.4 m) from the last point of
support to the point of connection of a lighting fix-
ture or other piece of electrical equipment.
5.3 Boxes
5.3.1 Nonmetallic Boxes
The sheath of Type NM-B cable or Type UF cable
used shall extend at least 1/4 inch (6 mm) inside the
box and beyond any cable clamp. Type NM-B and
Type UF cables must be secured to the boxes except
as follows. Type NM-B and Type UF cables where
used with single gang boxes not larger than 2-1/4
inches x 4 inches (57 mm x 100 mm) mounted in
walls or ceilings, and where the cable is fastened
within 8 inches (200 mm) of the box and where the
cable sheath extends through a cable knocked out less
than 1/4 inch (6 mm), securing to the box is not
required (see Figure 12).
Nails and Screws
Where nails or screws are used to fasten the box, they
must pass through the interior within 1/4 inch (6
mm) of the back of the box. Exposed threads of
screws in the box must be covered by approved
means to avoid abrasion of conductor insulation.
Cable installed through bored
holes
Cable installed parallel to
framing members
Cable installed on
running board
Figure 10: Cables in unfinished basements
Nonmetallic sheathed cable
must be secured within 8 in.
of nonmetallic box
No clamp
necessary
Bare equipment
grounding
conductor
Nonmetallic sheath
must extend at
least 1/4in.
into box
Single-gang nonmetallic
box not larger than
nominal 2 x 4in.
Figure 12: Securing cable to 2-1/4"x4" nonmetallic box
Slide cable all the way into
EMT so cable jacket ends at
least 1/4 in. Into box
GFCI
Handy box
EMT connector
EMT
Straps
Nonmetallic bushing or
adapter, or combination
EMT-to-NM coupling
Staples
NM cable
Figure 11: Cables on walls in unfinished basements
Metal Cover Plates
Where metal cover plates are used with nonmetallic
boxes, a means must be provided to ground the
metal plates.
5.4 Cable Fittings and Supports
5.4.1 Type NM-B Cable Connectors
Many nonmetallic boxes have built-in clamps, and
separate connectors are not required. The connec-
tors shown in Figure 13 are used to connect NM-B
cable to boxes or cabinets. Note that the connectors
have two screws to tighten the connector on the
cable. Using some single screw connectors may result
in piercing the cable sheath and conductor insulation
(see Figure 13).
5.4.2 Type UF Cable Connectors
Type UF connectors are made in both metal and
nonmetallic construction (see Figure 14).
5.5 Cable Supports
Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable and Type UF Cable
Cables must be supported and secured by staples,
cable ties, straps, hangers, or similar fittings installed
so as not to damage the cable. The cable must be
supported and secured at intervals not to exceed 4-1/2
feet (1.4 m) and within 12 inches (300 mm) of every
outlet box, junction box, or cabinet (see Figure 15).
5.6 Securing Cables to Metal Cabinets,
Cutout Boxes, and Meter Sockets
5.6.1 Type NM-B and Type UF Cables
Cables must be secured to the cabinet, cutout box, or
meter socket enclosure. Listed cable connectors must
be used in accordance with the manufacturers
instructions. Multiple cables may be used with con-
nectors listed for use with more than one cable.
5.6.2 Exception
In lieu of securing each Type NM-B and Type UF
cables to the cabinet, cutout box, or meter socket
enclosure, these cables are permitted to enter the top
of a surface-mounted enclosure through one or more
nonflexible raceways not less than 18 inches ( 450
mm) and not more than 10 feet (3 m) in length pro-
vided all of the following conditions are met (see
Figures 16 and 17).
NECA 121 Standard for Installing Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable (Type NM-B) and Underground
Feeder and Branch-Circuit Cable (Type UF)
I 10
Figure 13: Type NM cable connectors
Nonmetallic UF Connector Zinc Die-Cast UF Connector
Figure 14: Type UF cable connectors
Distance between box and rst
strap or staple not to exceed
12in. (300mm.)
Maximumdistance between
straps or staple is 4 ft
(1.4m)
Figure 15: NM-B cable supported at 4-1/2 ft. intervals and
within 12" of every outlet box
11 I
Standard for Installing Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable (Type NM-B) and Underground NECA 121
Feeder and Branch-Circuit Cable (Type UF)
a) Each cable must be fastened within 12 inches
(300 mm) of the outer end of the raceway.
b) The raceway must extend directly above the
enclosure and must not penetrate a structural
ceiling.
c) A fitting must be provided on each end of the
raceway to protect the cables from abrasion and
the fittings remain accessible after installation.
d) The raceway must be sealed at the outer end
using approved means so as to prevent access to
the enclosure through the raceway.
e) The cable sheath must be continuous through
the raceway and extend into the enclosure
beyond the fitting and not less than 1/4 inch (6
mm).
f) The raceway must be fastened at its outer end
and at the other points in accordance with the
applicable article.
g) Where installed in conduit or tubing, the allow-
able cable fill does not exceed that permitted for
complete conduit or tubing systems by Table 1 of
Chapter 9 of the NEC and all applicable notes.
Figure 17: Alternate method to enter surface mounted cabi-
net
Figure 16: Cables run horizontally through holes and notches
are considered to be supported
6.1 Ungrounded Conductors
The use of a conductor with white insulation as other
than a grounded conductor is permitted only where
the insulation is permanently reidentified to indicate
its use as an ungrounded connector. Identification
must be done by painting or other effective means at
each location where the conductor is visible and
accessible. The identification must encircle the insu-
lation and be of a color other than white, gray, or
green (see Figure 18).
6.2 Switch Loops
The white conductor in a nonmetallic-sheathed cable
may be used as a supply to a single pole switch but
not as a return conductor from the switch to the
switched outlet. This will prevent having two white
conductors attached to the switched outlet. It is still
necessary in this application to permanently reidenti-
fy the conductor with the white insulation (see Figure
19).
6.3 Permanently Reidentified
The NEC does not designate what constitutes perma-
nent reidentification other than painting or other
approved means. Taping is most commonly used but
may not be approved by the AHJ because its perma-
nency may be in question (see Figure 20).
6. Reidentification of Cable
Conductors
I 12
Lamp
Source
TYPE NM-B TYPE NM-B TYPE NM-B
S
3
S
3
S
4
Taping to reidentify
Figure 18: Conductor reidentification
White conductor can
be used to supply
switch but not as
a return to lamp
W
W
B
B
SP SW
Must be
reidentied
Wire Nut
Source
Lamp
Figure 19: Switch leg identification
6.4 Heat Shrink Tubing
A recommended method for permanently reidentify-
ing conductor insulation is the use of heat shrink
tubing. The 6 inches-long heat shrink tubing is slid
over the insulation on the conductor to be reidenti-
fied and then shrunk tightly over the conductor by
applying heat according to the manufacturers
instructions. Listed heat shrink tubing is available in
packets containing assorted colors and sizes.
Standard for Installing Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable (Type NM-B) and Underground NECA 121
Feeder and Branch-Circuit Cable (Type UF)
13 I
TYPE NM-B
Black plastic
tape
Figure 20: Switch leg identification
7.1 General
Type NM-B cable is a cable system, and changes or
additions to an existing installation cannot be
accomplished as readily as in a raceway system where
additional conductors can be added. For this reason,
it is recommended that wiring installations be done
in a manner where both an unswitched ungrounded
conductor and the grounded conductor be present in
every outlet box.
7.2 Switch Outlet
Many times after an installation has been completed,
electronic lighting controls or similar devices that
require a neutral conductor for installation in the switch
outlet box is desired. Using the equipment-grounding
conductor for this purpose is not permitted and would
be a dangerous practice causing objectionable cur-
rent flow on the equipment-grounding conductor.
This problem can be addressed by ensuring that both
an unswitched ungrounded conductor and a ground-
ed conductor are present in the switch outlet box.
One method used by installers to accomplish this is
by always feeding the switch first, but together with
this, a 3-wire cable should be run to the lighting out-
let to ensure that an ungrounded conductor is avail-
able for use in any future expansion where feeding a
new outlet from the existing lighting outlet would be
the most logical manner.
7.3 Ceiling Fan Outlet
In some areas or rooms where it is conceivable that a
ceiling fan may be installed at a future date, using a
3-wire cable from the switch to the lighting outlet
will enable the installer to install a combination fan-
light switch. Using a 4-wire cable will additionally
provide an ungrounded conductor for future use.
7.4 3-way and 4-way Switches
Using a 4-wire cable to wire 3-way and 4-way switch-
ing combinations will provide a grounded conductor
and an ungrounded conductor in every switch outlet
box.
Providing wiring means for future expansion of elec-
trical use is recommended in the initial installation of
electrical wiring using Type NM-B cable. NEC
90.1(B) FPN reads in part, An initial adequate instal-
lation and reasonable provisions for system changes
provide for future increases in the use of electricity.
7.5 Preparing Type NM-B Nonmetallic-
Sheathed Cable
Type NM-B cable is easily installed and few tools are
required. Linemans pliers are used to cut the cable
to length (See Figure 21). Once the cable is cut to
length, at least 6 inches (150 mm) of the jacket must
be removed before inserting into the outlet box.
Cable rippers are available to easily perform this task.
Cable rippers have a small, razor sharp blade, which
will only penetrate a short distance and only cut
away the outer jacket.
7. Recommended Installation
ProceduresType NM-B Cable
I 14
250 TYPE NM14/2
WITH GR
Figure 21: Using linemans pliers to cut NM cable
15 I
Standard for Installing Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable (Type NM-B) and Underground NECA 121
Feeder and Branch-Circuit Cable (Type UF)
Type NM-B cables are secured to the outlet box by
cable connectors. These cable connectors can be
either the external type as shown in Figure 13 (page
10) or they may be internal connectors mounted in
the box or they may be tabs that are a part of a non-
metallic outlet box. Where a 2-1/4 inch x 4 inch (57
mm x 100 mm) nonmetallic box is used, securing to
the outlet box is not necessary as shown in Figure 12
(page 9).
8.1 Underground Installation
The installation of direct buried Type UF cables must
meet the requirements of NEC Table 300.5. Where
used in residential branch circuits rated 120 volts or
less with GFCI protection and maximum overcurrent
protection of 20 amperes, the cable must have 12
inches (300 mm) of cover. Where necessary to pre-
vent physical damage to the cable, protection must be
provided by suitable running boards or suitable
sleeves. The use of a running board is generally done
by covering the Type UF cable with sand fill and then
placing a wooden board over the cable to prevent
rocks or other coarse material debris from damaging
the cable. Direct buried Type UF cable not having
ground-fault protection must be buried not less than
18 inches (450 mm).
8.1.1 Protection from Damage
Type UF cable installed under a building must be
installed in a raceway that extends beyond the out-
side walls of the building. Direct buried Type UF
cable emerging from grade must be protected to a
point at least 8 feet (2.5 m) above finished grade. A
bushing or terminal fitting must be used at the end
of a raceway where cables emerge as a direct burial
wiring method.
8.2 Grounding
In addition to the ungrounded conductors, Type UF
cable is permitted to have an insulated or bare con-
ductor for equipment grounding purposes. Where
used as a substitute for type NM-B cable, an equip-
ment-grounding conductor is required.
8. Recommended Installation
ProceduresType UF Cable
I 16
17 I
This publication, when used in conjunction with the National Electrical Code and manufacturers literature,
provides sufficient information to install and maintain switchboards.
National Fire Protection Association
1 Batterymarch Park
P.O. Box 9101
Quincy, MA 02269-9101
(617) 770-3000 tel
(617) 770-3500 fax
www.nfpa.org
NFPA 70-2005, National Electrical Code (ANSI)
NFPA 70E-2004, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace
Current National Electrical Installation Standards

Published by NECA:
National Electrical Contractors Association
3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 215-4504 tel, (301) 215-4500 fax
www.neca-neis.org
NECA 1-2006, Standard for Good Workmanship in Electrical Construction (ANSI)
NECA 90-2004, Recommended Practice for Commissioning Building Electrical Systems (ANSI)
NECA 100-2006, Symbols for Electrical Construction Drawings (ANSI)
NECA 101-2006, Standard for Installing Steel Conduits (Rigid, IMC, EMT) (ANSI)
NECA 102-2004, Standard for Installing Aluminum Rigid Metal Conduit (ANSI)
NECA/AA 104-2006, Recommended Practice for Installing Aluminum Building Wire and Cable (ANSI)
NECA/NEMA 105-2002, Recommended Practice for Installing Metal Cable Tray Systems
NECA 111-2003, Standard for Installing Nonmetallic Raceways (RNC, ENT, LFNC) (ANSI)
NECA/NACMA 120-2006, Standard for Installing Armored Cable (AC) and Metal-Clad Cable (MC) (ANSI)
Annex A: Reference Standards
(This annex is not part of the standard)
I 18
NECA 121 Standard for Installing Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable (Type NM-B) and Underground
Feeder and Branch-Circuit Cable (Type UF)
NECA/NACMA 121-2007, Standard for Installing Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cable (Type NM-B) and Underground
Feeder and Branch-Circuit Cable (Type UF) (ANSI)
NECA 200-2002, Recommended Practice for Installing and Maintaining Temporary Electrical Power at
Construction Sites (ANSI)
NECA 202-2006, Standard for Installing and Maintaining Industrial Heat Tracing Systems (ANSI)
NECA 230-2003, Standard for Selecting, Installing, and Maintaining Electric Motors and Motor Controllers (ANSI)
NECA/FOA 301-2004, Standard for Installing and Testing Fiber Optic Cables (ANSI)
NECA 303-2005, Standard for Installing Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) Systems (ANSI)
NECA 305-2001, Standard for Fire Alarm System Job Practices (ANSI)
NECA 331-2004, Standard for Building and Service Entrance Grounding and Bonding
NECA 400-2007, Standard for Installing and Maintaining Switchboards (ANSI)
NECA 402-2007, Recommended Practice for Installing and Maintaining Motor Control Centers (ANSI)
NECA/EGSA 404-2007, Standard for Installing Generator Sets (ANSI)
NECA 406-2003, Standard for Installing Residential Generator Sets (ANSI)
NECA 407-2002, Recommended Practice for Installing and Maintaining Panelboards (ANSI)
NECA 408-2002, Recommended Practice for Installing and Maintaining Busways (ANSI)
NECA 409-2002, Recommended Practice for Installing and Maintaining Dry-Type Transformers (ANSI)
NECA 410-2005, Standard for Installing and Maintaining Liquid-Filled Transformers (ANSI)
NECA 411-2006, Standard for Installing and Maintaining Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) (ANSI)
NECA 420-2007, Standard for Fuse Applications (ANSI)
NECA 430-2006, Standard for Installing Medium-Voltage Metal-Clad Switchgear (ANSI)
NECA/IESNA 500-2006, Standard for Installing Indoor Commercial Lighting Systems (ANSI)
NECA/IESNA 501-2006, Standard for Installing Exterior Lighting Systems (ANSI)
NECA/IESNA 502-2006, Standard for Installing Industrial Lighting Systems (ANSI)
NECA 503-2005, Standard for Installing Fiber Optic Lighting Systems
NECA/BICSI 568-2006, Standard for Installing Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling (ANSI)
NECA/MACSCB 600-2003, Recommended Practice for Installing and Maintaining Medium-Voltage Cable (ANSI)
NECA/NEMA 605-2005, Recommended Practice for Installing Underground Nonmetallic Utility Duct (ANSI)
National Electrical
Contractors Association
3 Bethesda Metro Center
Suite 1100
Bethesda, MD 20814
301-657-3110
fax: 301-215-4500
www.neca-neis.org
Standards & Safety
Index: NECA 121
2.5K/12-07
N A T I O N A L E L E C T R I C A L I N S T A L L A T I O N S T A N D A R D S