National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Monday, November 5, 2018


Re: CQD answer published Friday, October 26, 2018 -Flexible Cord Above Ceilings 2

In addition, Refer to NEC-2011 Article 400.12(5), where Installing a flexible cord above a ceiling in itself is not prohibited, any “permanently installed” plug-in equipment using a flexible cord, with or without a cord cap as its power source connection is prohibited. Thusly, a receptacle mounted above the ceiling for use on a “permanently mounted” piece of equipment, such as a projector, emergency battery lighting unit, etc. would also be prohibited. Attached is an older illustration, referencing the 2005 or 2011 NEC, but in our opinion, this still stands.

Edward M. Grafe



Hey Edward thanks for your comment. As we explained in the previous answer flexible cords, including power supply cords (usually with attachment plugs) are not allowed (they are prohibited) above suspended or dropped ceilings as stated in 400.12(5). Although this is still a little confusing, flexible cords that are allowed for a specific application in 400.10 (such as for portable equipment) are not allowed if they are prohibited for a specific application in 400.12 (such as above a suspended ceiling).

An exception was added to 400.12 in the 2014 NEC that allows flexible cords within enclosures that are suitable for other environmental air spaces by 300,22(C)(3). For example, plug in type power supplies with flexible cords can be used above suspended or dropped ceilings - if they are within those types of enclosures but not if they are in the "open".

There is no specific rule that prohibits receptacles from being installed above suspended or dropped ceilings. It becomes a violation when the flexible cord exists there. Projector mounting equipment (can be motorized) is available with a metal enclosure that is recessed in a suspended ceiling. Or a receptacle outlet can be installed facing down in the suspended ceiling so the entire length of flexible cord is not above the ceiling.

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