“Up to code” is one of those little phrases you often hear thrown around when people are discussing electrical systems and other construction efforts. You might have heard builders, electricians, or even neighbors use it before. And you might have a general idea of what it means. But, on their own, those three little words are quite vague. So let’s dig into exactly what they mean.
What Is the “Code”?
When people talk about a system being up to code for electricity, they’re referring to the National Electrical Code, or NEC. This is a nationwide set of standards for electrical wiring, put in place by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
The code isn’t enshrined in federal law, but it is used by local jurisdictions around the U.S. when setting up their own laws on wiring and electrical systems. In fact, a lot of jurisdictions adopt the NEC without making many changes to it at all.
Keeping a Home “Up to Code”
So, how can you actually know whether or not your home is up to code? Well, the first thing to look at is age. Newer homes (20 years older or less) are much more likely to be up to code, as long as they haven’t had any unlicensed electrical work carried out.
Older properties, meanwhile, are less likely to meet the NEC standards. There’s a greater chance that unlicensed electrical work has been carried out in older properties, and even DIY jobs can interfere with the electrics and cause a home to no longer be up to code.
Really, the only way to be sure of whether or not your home meets the code is to call in a professional. Licensed electricians must know local code standards in the jurisdictions they work in, and they can carry out tests and checks to verify a property. Licensed pros should also be the only people trusted to carry out electrical work on a home, as amateurs can easily make mistakes.
- The National Electrical Code is a set of U.S. professional standards for electrical wiring that many regions adopt.
- For safety reasons, all electrical work and wiring should be done by licensed electricians.
- It’s common for older homes to have problems with poor aluminum wiring and connections.
“That’s plenty of questions, but we’ll address these concerns briefly below. As with any serious electrical system question, it’s best to ask an electrician.”