I'm adding ice cables to part of our roof. I drilled a 1 inch hole in the soffit and then got stuck getting power into the attic for an outlet.

I called an electrician who couldn't say enough how wrong it was to have the plug come into the attic, instead of having an outlet outside for it.

I'm wondering if this statement is correct, per code.

He also insisted on quoting for a home run from the box, saying the cables could draw 10-15 amps, though the instructions say the model I have draws 3.3 amps.

EDIT: from page 6 of instructions: See Table 1 below for the current needed for your cable length. If you do not have a circuit with an appropriate rating, contact a licensed electrician. Catalog Number Current Needed (amps) ADKS-400 3.3

I now have renewed interest in putting the outlet in myself, with a switch, would like some clarity on if it can be in the attic with the plug coming through the soffit, or if it must be outside in the soffit. (and if outside, what to do with 6 feet of cord)

  • 2
    The heating cable is likely listed at 3.3 amperes per foot, not 3.3 amperes total. --- Tester, this is very wrong. Most roof de-icing cable is around 5 watts a foot. Think about the total amperage if it were 3.3A per foot!! A 10' cable would be 33 amps! A 100' cable would be 330A! See here: emersonindustrial.com/en-US/documentcenter/EGSElectricalGroup/… – Speedy Petey Feb 26 '14 at 21:48
  • Oops. @SpeedyPetey had a brain fart there, I meant to say 3.3 Watts per foot. – Tester101 Mar 4 '14 at 17:11

1It is very wrong. You CANNOT have a cord passing through siding, walls, or any other finished structure/surface. For both code and safety reasons.

The receptacle MUST be outside. If it is close to the heat tape you'll just need to coil the cord up.

National Electrical Code 2011

Chapter 4 Equipment for General Use

Article 400 Flexible Cords and Cables

I. General

400.8 Uses Not Permitted. Unless specifically permitted in 400.7, flexible cords and cables shall not be used for the following:

(1) As a substitute for the fixed wiring of a structure

(2) Where run through holes in walls, structural ceilings, suspended ceilings, dropped ceilings, or floors

(3) Where run through doorways, windows, or similar openings

(4) Where attached to building surfaces

Exception to (4): Flexible cord and cable shall be permitted to be attached to building surfaces in accordance with the provisions of 368.56(B).

(5) Where concealed by walls, floors, or ceilings or located above suspended or dropped ceilings

(6) Where installed in raceways, except as otherwise permitted in this Code

(7) Where subject to physical damage

  • For those of us who are hard-headed, can you give reasons why it is not safe and the code that says it is not allowed? – Edwin Feb 26 '14 at 1:34
  • It's not safe because the cord is not designed to pass through finished surfaces. You might not think so but the cord will move around, and very possibly chafe. And do you really need a code reference? Will that be the only way to prove validity to my answers? – Speedy Petey Feb 26 '14 at 1:58
  • 2
    It's not that I don't believe you, it's just that it's best to have an answer stand on its own. – Edwin Feb 26 '14 at 3:13

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