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I'm about to rough-in my electrical wiring for a remodel of our bedroom and have seen several videos where people leave an extra 6-8 inches of wire looped outside of an outlet box which will allow for a margin of error when stripping wires or if something happens to the wires when the drywall is put up.

My question is, Is this allowed within US Electrical code for residential wiring?

I think this is a good idea and would like to implement it, but also don't want to be doing something that's dangerous.

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  • "Dangerous" and "disallowed by code" are two very different things.
    – kreemoweet
    Sep 15, 2023 at 12:59

2 Answers 2

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If the box has clamps, then 12" from the box to the staple is allowed. If the box doesn't have clamps, then only 8" is allowed from the box to the staple. I usually try to provide a bit of slack along with the extra cable because after years of service, or outlet changes because of being worn out, or color change, or style change, the wires become too short.

If there is an extra inch or two, leaving cable slack saves $ over the lifetime of the home, considering the down-the-road cost of splicing or pulling entire cables of extra wire (destroying drywall) vs just pulling the slack.

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    Are you saying 8" from the staple to the end of the wire or 8" from the staple to where the wire enters the box? Feb 17, 2017 at 19:01
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    8" from the staple to where the wire enters the box
    – longneck
    Feb 17, 2017 at 21:05
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    8" from the staple to the box where it enters unless there are clamps then it can be 12". The sheath needs to be a minimum of 1/4" inside the box or more.
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 17, 2017 at 22:18
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It was never "not allowed" by the NEC though local rules would vary.

In 2020 it became explicitly allowed in code:

334.30 Securing and Supporting.
Nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall be supported and secured by staples, cable ties listed and identified for securement and support, or straps, hangers, or similar fittings designed and installed so as not to damage the cable, at intervals not exceeding 1.4 m (41⁄2 ft) and within 300 mm (12 in.) of every cable entry into enclosures such as outlet boxes, junction boxes, cabinets, or fittings. The cable length between the cable entry and the closest cable support shall not exceed 450 mm (18 in.). Flat cables shall not be stapled on edge.

So up to 1.5 ft of a service loop is allowed by code at the outlet box.

This also clarified the distance of the closest support as being as the crow flies instead of the cable length.

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