I am concerned about a wiring issue in a basement of a home I will be moving to. Someone put paneling on the ceiling and the wiring is stapled to the paneling and some of the wires are bundled together and wire tied. Is this unsafe, and what can I do about it?

  • 6
    Let's see some pictures.
    – Kris
    Dec 9, 2015 at 12:00
  • 1
    Agree with Kris, from the description we cannot form an educated answer. Dec 9, 2015 at 12:06
  • 3
    Exposed wiring, while it doesn't meet modern codes, is very common, especially in basements. Unless it's likely to be damaged by human activity, be happy and move on with your life.
    – isherwood
    Dec 9, 2015 at 14:04
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    @isherwood Codes allow exposed wiring, as long as it's installed properly.
    – Tester101
    Dec 9, 2015 at 15:42
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    @isherwood, as Tester says, exposed wiring is perfectly legal when installed according to code. In fact, it is expressly permitted. Dec 9, 2015 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


Depending on the wire size the NEC expressly forbids stapling to the bottom of the joists, or as the OP has stated fastened to paneling on the bottom of the joists.

From 2014 NEC;

334.15(C)C) In Unfinished Basements and Crawl Spaces. Where cable is run at angles with joists in unfinished basements and crawl spaces, it shall be permissible to secure cables not smaller than two 6 AWG or three 8 AWG conductors directly to the lower edges of the joists. Smaller cables shall be run either through bored holes in joists or on running boards.

From the OP's post it sounds like they put all the cables in bundles on the paneling. The smaller ones need to be run through the joists or on running boards.

The question would remain if the "paneling" qualifies as a "running board". I would argue that 1by material is needed to qualify as a running board not paneling.

Happy Saturday!

  • I work under the 2014 nec code. and second the answer ArchonOSX has given. if its not to code the homeowner selling the property to you has an obligation to hire a licensed professional electrician to bring it up to code. if they refuse to correct it don't buy the property. Dec 18, 2015 at 23:41
  • First off, there is no "obligation" to correct things. Homes are and can be sold as-is. You don't like it, don't buy it. Second, in many/most areas there is absolutely NO requirement to hire a "licensed professional". In fact some places require no license at all for things like electrical. That said, Hiring a professional in the trade in question is always in your best interest. ............ Please don't reply based on rules-of-thumb and common practice. Stick to facts. Dec 19, 2015 at 0:08
  • in response to your rather stuck up comment to my answer i suggest you read the answer i posted in this LINK as well as the comment i also posted when i corrected my post. it underscores the reason why you should never hire someone who is an unlicensed nonprofessional. Dec 19, 2015 at 1:46

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