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Steam radiator too close to electrical outlet?

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branimal
branimal Member Posts: 210
I have a large steam radiator that will be a 2"-3" from an electrical outlet. I wasn't thinking straight when I laid out the outlets. The outlet itself isn't necessary b/c there are other outlets in the vicinity. However the outlet is part of a circuit that I need to maintain.

How would you guys proceed?

Thanks


Comments

  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,960
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    I'm not a electrician, but what I have done in this case is remove the outlet since you don't need it. Splice the wires together and install a blank cover over the hole.
    ethicalpauldelcrossvEdTheHeaterManPC7060
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,303
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    You could check with your building inspector -- if you feel like it -- and see if he or she has a problem. Otherwise... I don't see a problem unless it's actually behind the radiator.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ethicalpaulIntplm.Hap_Hazzard
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,527
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    Depends on if your getting it inspected or not.

    #1 Splice the wires and put a blank cover on it but stuff some insulation in the box first. That's one way.

    But If your having it inspected the box is "inaccsessable" once the radiator is in.

    #2
    Best way depends on wire access.

    If that receptacle is fed from the basement pull the wires back down into the basement and splice the wires in a box.

    If the wire runs through the wall I would install two new receptacles one on either side of the radiator. If you have to cut and patch the sheet rock do it,


    If you get it inspected the receptacles need to be no less than 12' apart along a wall. Within 6' of a door. Anything place along the floor line must be within 6' of an outlet. You can install a floor outlet as well
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,061
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    You could leave the rad out until (when and if) the electrical inspection is done.

    If you really want the outlet and it ends up behind the rad, you can put a wiremold extension box on it and bring the wiremold out from behind to a surface box.
    The raceway and box can be painted to match the wall.

    This still gives you an inaccessible J-box.
    Though I would rather move a rad than crawl the attic to find a J-box.
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
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    If it's not actually behind the radiator, just blank it off. If it is behind, you 'll have to remove it from the circuit.
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 511
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    3rd floor or so? The Baseboard looks good to me.. How tall will the radiator be compared to the window sill height?
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,691
    edited March 2022
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    delcrossv said:

    If it's not actually behind the radiator, just blank it off. If it is behind, you 'll have to remove it from the circuit.

    If it's next to it I'd say keep the receptacle as there's no reason to put a blank plate.
    If it's behind, I feel putting a blank plate is acceptable.

    My reason is such.

    Bathroom fans are allowed to have a junction box off on the side up above the ceiling and the box is only accessible by completely removing the fan and pulling it down from the ceiling in many installations which is a whole lot of fun. If NEC feels this is acceptable, than having to temporarily move a radiator which has a valve and a union which will allow anyone to get to a junction box must be more than acceptable.



    Of course, if the electrical inspector says no dice, you'll need to change it.
    If it was me, I'd probably call the inspector and ask because it'll make everyone's life easier.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ethicalpaul
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
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    ChrisJ said:

    delcrossv said:

    If it's not actually behind the radiator, just blank it off. If it is behind, you 'll have to remove it from the circuit.

    If it's next to it I'd say keep the receptacle as there's no reason to put a blank plate.
    If it's behind, I feel putting a blank plate is acceptable.

    My reason is such.

    Bathroom fans are allowed to have a junction box off on the side up above the ceiling and the box is only accessible by completely removing the fan and pulling it down from the ceiling in many installations which is a whole lot of fun. If NEC feels this is acceptable, than having to temporarily move a radiator which has a valve and a union which will allow anyone to get to a junction box must be more than acceptable.



    Of course, if the electrical inspector says no dice, you'll need to change it.
    If it was me, I'd probably call the inspector and ask because it'll make everyone's life easier.

    Exactly. If the inspector says it's "inaccessible" it's inaccessible. Fans are different as it's a hardwired device.
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
    wmgeorge
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
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    A junction box isn't hardwired?
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    Canucker
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,061
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    I believe bath fans have the J-box built such that it is accessible from the inside of the housing. Too small in most cases, especially fan-light-heater.

    Recessed can lights also have the box available by dropping the can down.
    Or some cans had a "floating" J-box connected by no more than 6' of 3/8" flex.
    A PITA to work on but doable.

    All of these items could be in the ceiling with finished floor above so the J-box was made accessible from below.

    As far as the box, if behind the rad, it depends upon the clearance from wall to rad.
    This is the AHJ call.
    In my opinion even 1 1/2" is enough to remove blank and pull wire joints out for inspection. I have had this very scenario, cursed and muttered but got thru it.

    You would not want the outlet installed if the cord had to be bent sharply for clearance.
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 511
    edited March 2022
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    Bath exhaust fans, heaters , lights are (That I've seen) have their own individual hardwired receptacles that operate from individual switches mounted on the wall..
    Now there are some creative people that could come up with their own custom wiring plan but the switch operation doesn't require the individual to physically touch the heater/vent/light

    Edit: AND IMHO especially if it's a rental, is to remember that
    Someone may find it easier to pull a
    Power Cord through the radiator section from the front and leave the cord plugged in which wouldn't be good when the heat comes up..

    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
    delcrossv
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,691
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    JUGHNE said:
    I believe bath fans have the J-box built such that it is accessible from the inside of the housing. Too small in most cases, especially fan-light-heater. Recessed can lights also have the box available by dropping the can down. Or some cans had a "floating" J-box connected by no more than 6' of 3/8" flex. A PITA to work on but doable. All of these items could be in the ceiling with finished floor above so the J-box was made accessible from below. As far as the box, if behind the rad, it depends upon the clearance from wall to rad. This is the AHJ call. In my opinion even 1 1/2" is enough to remove blank and pull wire joints out for inspection. I have had this very scenario, cursed and muttered but got thru it. You would not want the outlet installed if the cord had to be bent sharply for clearance.
    All of the Panasonic fans I've seen have a tiny junction box on the outside which isn't accessible when installed.  There's absolutely no access from the inside of the fan.

    The boxes are also a bit tight to wire up the 3 hots etc required for the night light etc.  




    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,527
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    With the electrical code the is "not accessible" "readily accessible" and "accessible"

    Accessible means if a box is hidden behind a panel or something that can easily be removed by removing screws "and not having to alter the "building construction" then that's ok. Nails can't be used. Or using a portable ladder to reach it is ok. "Throwaway boxes " in a ceiling are ok

    Readily accessible means you can walk up to it without using portable ladders or removing a panel screwed over a box. Like an electrical panel has to be readily accessible, GFCI receptacles have to be readily accessible (not under a sink in a cabinet)

    Not accessible means you have to cut the building finish to get at it
    reggi
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,061
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    Chris, those fans sound unfriendly for the next guy.
    They are supposed to be very good and the main thing is quiet.

    I never have wired one, only old school Broan and Nutone etc.
    They were good quality in their day. But you knew when they were on by the sound.
    We have a 1/2 bath near the living area in the center of the house....my favorite BTW. That has a pretty loud fan but it serves a purpose....super white noise for cover up of other sounds.

    4 of them used a lot for 27 years and still going. Clean and a drop of oil rejuvenates them. Motion sensors on all so they run a lot.

    Does the duct work disconnect easily on the Panasonic in order to remove it?

    On the old ones I had installed, the damper connection was secured with foil tape and a screw or two....no way to drop the housing without a visit to the attic...if possible.
  • branimal
    branimal Member Posts: 210
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    Thanks for the recommendations. I ended up putting a small piece of insulation board in the outlet and then covered with a blank plate. With the radiator at 205* the wall plate was 104*. I think that will be fine.


    Intplm.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,691
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    I'm confused.

    You put a blank plate over a receptacle?
    Or you removed the receptacle and wire nutted the wires, and covered it?

    I'm also not sure how I feel about insulation inside of a junction box.  That seems like a violation to me.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • branimal
    branimal Member Posts: 210
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    ChrisJ said:

    I'm confused.

    You put a blank plate over a receptacle?
    Or you removed the receptacle and wire nutted the wires, and covered it?

    I'm also not sure how I feel about insulation inside of a junction box.  That seems like a violation to me.

    No i wired the nuts and put a blank plate on. Yeah I feel the insulation is overkill. ITs that 1/2" purple insulation board stuff.


  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
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    branimal said:

    ChrisJ said:

    I'm confused.

    You put a blank plate over a receptacle?
    Or you removed the receptacle and wire nutted the wires, and covered it?

    I'm also not sure how I feel about insulation inside of a junction box.  That seems like a violation to me.

    No i wired the nuts and put a blank plate on. Yeah I feel the insulation is overkill. ITs that 1/2" purple insulation board stuff.


    It's not that it's overkill, it's that you put, what I believe, is a combustible material inside of a junction box. Last time I checked that's a huge no no.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    ChrisJ
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,061
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    Yea, that is probably a no-no.

    But if the wire joints are made up good there would be no heat build up within the box. Wire nut manf claim that the portion of conductor within the wire nut has less resistance than the equal length of copper.....if correctly made up.
    (that is really picking the fly poo out of the pepper)

    Just think about how much length of cable is buried in side insulation in wall and attic.

    Now some people try to put FG insulation inside a box with a working outlet.
    That could cause heat build up within the outlet itself and start cooking wire insulation.
    Most resi outlets are pretty cheaply made and will heat up with a load on them.

    But it looks like you have plenty of outlets installed to meet code spacing without the blanked off one.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,691
    edited March 2022
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    JUGHNE said:

    Yea, that is probably a no-no.

    But if the wire joints are made up good there would be no heat build up within the box. Wire nut manf claim that the portion of conductor within the wire nut has less resistance than the equal length of copper.....if correctly made up.
    (that is really picking the fly poo out of the pepper)

    Just think about how much length of cable is buried in side insulation in wall and attic.

    Now some people try to put FG insulation inside a box with a working outlet.
    That could cause heat build up within the outlet itself and start cooking wire insulation.
    Most resi outlets are pretty cheaply made and will heat up with a load on them.

    But it looks like you have plenty of outlets installed to meet code spacing without the blanked off one.

    Fiberglass in the attic isn't in a junction box where connections are made, and also where there's by far the highest chance of resistance in a connection.

    To me purple board sounds like styrofoam,no?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,838
    edited March 2022
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    You could check with your building inspector -- if you feel like it -- and see if he or she has a problem. Otherwise... I don't see a problem unless it's actually behind the radiator.

    Don't bother the Electrical Inspector. That just gives him a chance to make your life difficult. Blank cover idea is the best. This allows access for future for repair, and can be covered up by the radiator. (install radiator before final elect inspection). If there is ever a problem with the circuit after the blank cover, just disconnect the radiator to access the box. Since that will be about 30 years from now, you can put a note in the electric boxes on either side of the blank cover box with instructions about this. Maybe on the back of the outlet plate.
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
    PC7060
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,061
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    The key condition in all cases is a "good properly made splice".

    The OP could just remove the internal box insulation and we would all be happy, with the steam rad there no one will feel a draft. A cover gasket would be a correct addition.

    I have seen plenty of J-Boxes in attic almost full of blown in cellulose (ground up newspaper) and then buried under 12" of the stuff.

    Most ceiling lights are covered with that much insulation and many of them are pretty busy with multiple cables entering.

    When rewiring I installed attic J-boxes up on a wood riser post to keep them out of the insulation and making their location obvious.

    The "new" Romex introduced years ago has THHN conductor insulation for higher temp ratings than the old TW with very thick outer sheath.
    The sheathing was made thinner for heat dissipation.
    And common practice is to have home runs up on risers above insulation, as much as possible.

    Then of course almost all circuits today are AFCI or GFCI or both.
    PC7060
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 511
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    I think everyone would be more comfortable if you took a picture of the wiring before you closed it up.. If those wires aren't feeding another receptacle then you can just disconnect them from where they originate and then everything is a non-issue as there isn't any electricity .. just a thought
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
    delcrossvPC7060
  • branimal
    branimal Member Posts: 210
    edited March 2022
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    reggi said:

    I think everyone would be more comfortable if you took a picture of the wiring before you closed it up.. If those wires aren't feeding another receptacle then you can just disconnect them from where they originate and then everything is a non-issue as there isn't any electricity .. just a thought

    I don't have an inspection for this apartment unit.

    The receptacle in question is part of a circuit for my outlets in the living room. (15amp circuit). It is not an end of the run circuit. So the wiring in the box cannot be unattached. It is simply 2black wires, 2 white, 2 green. All wires are wire nutted together in a 4" square metal junction box. I cannot recall if the box is 2 1/8" deep or 1 1/2" deep. There was plenty of room for the wires in this box.

    There is a separate circuit 20amp for the a/c. In the picture (to the left of the radiator).

    All the wiring is brand new MC cable. 12 gauge thhn. Solid not stranded.

    I don't have a picture of the wiring, but I did take a picture of the loosely installed foam insulation board I shoved in the box.




  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
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    What is the purpose of that loose insulation, to inconvenience the air flowing in there? 😉
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    CanuckerKC_JonesChrisJ
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 511
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    Ohh boy... that looks like a surface mount wall switch box (with the screw mount holes going into the box instead of over and under) and the rounded edges.... well it's already in..👍.. IMO..
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,653
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    reggi said:

    Ohh boy... that looks like a surface mount wall switch box (with the screw mount holes going into the box instead of over and under) and the rounded edges.... well it's already in..👍.. IMO..

    It is a square box with a mud ring. Pretty standard in commercial work. Great idea everywhere.
    PC7060
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,960
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    Intplm. said:

    I'm not a electrician, but what I have done in this case is remove the outlet since you don't need it. Splice the wires together and install a blank cover over the hole.

    This ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ and be done with it.
    JUGHNEPC7060
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,160
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    And replace the foam insulation with dense packed fiberglass.  Fireproof and stops air flow.