National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Re: CQD answer published Friday, October 26, 2018 -Flexible Cord Above Ceilings 3

In regards of the above ceiling appliances or equipment, I run into this by manufacturer directions for the installation of a condensate pump for a HVAC unit: “The pump shall be provided with a 6 ft. long TFE Teflon ® insulated (450 °C) power cord. The all-metal condensate pump meets most local codes for certification as a “plenum rated“ pump for ceiling plenum installations.”

So, Can I have a receptacle above ceiling for the pump or hard wire to a switch? Or should I ask the Mechanical to specify that the pump is powered by the equipment itself?

By the way, thank you for your consistency with the emails it helps us all to keep up with the code.

Camilo Rodriguez



Hey Camilo thanks for your follow up question and the compliment. Flexible cords, including power supply cords (usually with attachment plugs) are not allowed above suspended or dropped ceilings as stated in 400.12(5). A condensate pump with a power supply cord can be used for some applications but not if the flexible cord is above a suspended or dropped ceiling. TFE (tetrafluoroetheylene) insulation is usually used for high temperature applications and is included as one of the Z type insulations in Table 402 but 450 degrees C would be 842 degrees F.

If the manufacturer's instructions specifically state the pump and flexible curd are suitable for installation above a suspended or dropped ceiling ask them how that complies with 400.12(5). You didn't mention whether the condensate pump was listed but if it is check with the specific laboratory that listed it. Condensate pumps are available in versions that can be direct (hard) wired using a NEC Chapter 3 wiring method that is suitable for that location.

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