NFPA 70 2023: What You Need to Know
If you are involved in any aspect of electrical design, installation, or inspection, you need to be familiar with NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC®), which is the benchmark for safe electrical practices in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. The NEC is updated every three years by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to reflect the latest advances and challenges in electrical technology. The most recent edition of the NEC is 2023, which was issued by the NFPA Standards Council on September 1, 2022. The 2023 NEC contains several important changes and new requirements that aim to enhance electrical safety and address emerging electrical issues in an ever-changing, fast-paced world. In this article, we will provide an overview of what you need to know about the 2023 NEC, including its main changes, benefits, adoption, and enforcement.
Changes to the 2023 NEC
The 2023 NEC features hundreds of revisions that cover a wide range of topics related to electrical safety. Some of these revisions are minor clarifications or editorial changes, while others are significant modifications or additions that introduce new concepts or technologies. Here are some of the key changes that you should be aware of:
- GFCIs and AFCIs: The 2023 NEC expands the requirements for ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), which are devices that protect against electric shock and fire hazards caused by ground faults or arc faults. For example, GFCIs are now required for all outdoor outlets in dwelling units, regardless of whether they are readily accessible or not. AFCIs are now required for all branch circuits that supply outlets or devices in dwelling units, except for those that supply fire alarm systems or certain appliances.
- Cybersecurity for network-connected life safety equipment: The 2023 NEC introduces a new requirement for cybersecurity measures for network-connected life safety equipment, such as fire alarm systems, emergency communication systems, or smoke control systems. These measures include encryption, authentication, access control, monitoring, and testing to prevent unauthorized access or interference with these critical systems.
- Electrical installations for cannabis oil facilities: The 2023 NEC recognizes cannabis oil facilities as a new type of hazardous location where flammable gases or vapors may be present due to the extraction or processing of cannabis oil. The 2023 NEC provides specific requirements for the wiring methods, equipment, and protection devices that must be used in these facilities to prevent ignition or explosion.
- Wireless power transfer of electric vehicles: The 2023 NEC addresses a new technology that allows electric vehicles to be charged wirelessly without a physical connection to a power source. The 2023 NEC defines wireless power transfer equipment and establishes the installation and safety requirements for these systems, such as clearances, markings, grounding, and protection.
- Installation of PV arrays on bodies of water: The 2023 NEC recognizes the growing trend of installing photovoltaic (PV) arrays on bodies of water, such as lakes, ponds, or reservoirs. These floating PV systems offer several benefits, such as reducing water evaporation, increasing energy efficiency, and saving land space. The 2023 NEC provides specific requirements for the installation and grounding of these systems, as well as the safety measures to prevent electric shock or drowning hazards.
- Installation of Class 4 fault-managed power: The 2023 NEC introduces a new class of power distribution systems that can manage and isolate faults within the system without interrupting the power supply to other loads. Class 4 fault-managed power systems are intended for applications where continuity of service is essential, such as data centers, hospitals, or critical infrastructure. The 2023 NEC defines the characteristics and requirements for these systems, such as voltage levels, fault detection and isolation methods, and protection devices.
Benefits of the 2023 NEC
The 2023 NEC is not only a set of rules and regulations, but also a valuable resource that can help you improve your electrical safety and performance. The 2023 NEC offers several benefits for different stakeholders, such as:
- Enhancing electrical safety: The 2023 NEC incorporates the latest research and best practices to prevent electrical hazards and protect people and property from electric shock, fire, arc flash, and explosion. The 2023 NEC also addresses new and emerging electrical issues that pose potential risks, such as cybersecurity threats, cannabis oil extraction, wireless power transfer, and floating PV systems.
- Addressing emerging electrical issues: The 2023 NEC reflects the rapid changes and innovations in electrical technology and applications that are transforming the world. The 2023 NEC covers topics such as renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, microgrids, electric vehicles, smart buildings, and more. The 2023 NEC also provides guidance on how to integrate these new technologies with existing electrical systems and infrastructure.
- Using NFPA LiNK: The 2023 NEC is available on NFPA LiNK™, a digital platform that delivers all NFPA codes and standards in an interactive and dynamic format. NFPA LiNK allows you to access the 2023 NEC anytime, anywhere, on any device. You can also search, bookmark, annotate, share, and collaborate with other users on the platform. NFPA LiNK also provides additional features and content that enhance your understanding and application of the 2023 NEC, such as explanatory videos, diagrams, calculators, checklists, FAQs, and more.
- Helping professionals in different sectors and scenarios: The 2023 NEC can help you achieve your goals and solve your problems in various situations and contexts. Whether you are an electrician, engineer, contractor, inspector, designer, or educator, the 2023 NEC can help you perform your tasks and duties more efficiently and effectively. The 2023 NEC can also help you comply with the applicable codes and standards in your jurisdiction, as well as the requirements of your clients, customers, or employers.
Adoption and Enforcement of the 2023 NEC
The 2023 NEC is the national standard for electrical safety in the United States, but it is not a federal law. The adoption and enforcement of the 2023 NEC is determined by each state or local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). Some states or AHJs adopt and enforce the 2023 NEC as soon as it is issued by the NFPA, while others may take longer or adopt a previous edition of the NEC. Some states or AHJs may also amend or modify the 2023 NEC to suit their specific needs or preferences.
It is important to know and follow the latest edition of the NEC that is adopted and enforced in your state or AHJ, as it represents the minimum level of electrical safety that is expected and required. Failing to comply with the NEC may result in fines, penalties, delays, rework, or legal liability. It may also compromise the safety and performance of your electrical system and equipment.
To stay updated on the adoption and enforcement of the 2023 NEC in your state or AHJ, you can use the following resources and tips:
- NFPA website: The NFPA website provides a map and a table that show the current status of NEC adoption in each state. You can also find links to the websites of each state’s electrical board or agency, where you can find more information on the specific requirements and procedures for electrical licensing, permitting, inspection, and enforcement.
- NFPA newsletter: The NFPA newsletter provides regular updates on the latest news and developments related to NFPA codes and standards, including the NEC. You can subscribe to the newsletter for free and receive it via email.
- NFPA blog: The NFPA blog features articles and insights from NFPA staff and experts on various topics related to fire and life safety, including electrical safety. You can read the blog posts online or subscribe to them via RSS feed.
- NFPA social media: The NFPA social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram, offer another way to stay connected and informed about NFPA codes and standards, including the NEC. You can follow, like, comment, share, and watch the content posted by NFPA on these platforms.
- NFPA network: The NFPA network is a community of professionals who are interested in or involved with fire and life safety issues, including electrical safety. You can join the network for free and access various resources and opportunities, such as webinars, podcasts, forums, events, courses, certifications, and more. You can also network and interact with other members who share your interests and goals.
The 2023 NEC is the latest edition of the national standard for electrical safety in the United States. It contains several important changes and new requirements that reflect the current and future trends and challenges in electrical technology and applications. The 2023 NEC also offers several benefits for enhancing electrical safety and performance, as well as accessing and using NFPA codes and standards in a digital and dynamic way. The 2023 NEC is not a federal law, but it is adopted and enforced by each state or local authority having jurisdiction. It is important to know and follow the latest edition of the NEC that is applicable in your area, as it represents the minimum level of electrical safety that is expected and required.
We hope that this article has provided you with some useful information and insights on the 2023 NEC. If you want to learn more about the 2023 NEC and NFPA LiNK, you can visit the NFPA website or contact us. We would love to hear your feedback and questions on this topic.
Here are some frequently asked questions related to the 2023 NEC:
- How can I access the 2023 NEC online?
- What are some of the most significant changes in the 2023 NEC?
- How can I find out if my state has adopted or is planning to adopt the 2023 NEC?
- What are some of the benefits of using NFPA LiNK for accessing the 2023 NEC?
- How can I get involved in the development of future editions of the NEC?
You can access the 2023 NEC online through NFPA LiNK, a digital platform that delivers all NFPA codes and standards in an interactive and dynamic format. You can sign up for a free trial or purchase a subscription to NFPA LiNK on the NFPA website.
Some of the most significant changes in the 2023 NEC include the expansion of GFCI and AFCI requirements, the introduction of cybersecurity measures for network-connected life safety equipment, the recognition of cannabis oil facilities as a new type of hazardous location, the addressing of wireless power transfer of electric vehicles, the installation of PV arrays on bodies of water, and the installation of Class 4 fault-managed power systems.
You can find out the current status of NEC adoption in each state on the NFPA website, where you can also find links to each state’s electrical board or agency for more information. You can also subscribe to the NFPA newsletter, blog, or social media channels for regular updates on NEC adoption.
NFPA LiNK allows you to access the 2023 NEC anytime, anywhere, on any device. You can also search, bookmark, annotate, share, and collaborate with other users on the platform. NFPA LiNK also provides additional features and content that enhance your understanding and application of the 2023 NEC, such as explanatory videos, diagrams, calculators, checklists, FAQs, and more.
You can get involved in the development of future editions of the NEC by joining the NFPA network, a community of professionals who are interested in or involved with fire and life safety issues, including electrical safety. You can join the network for free and access various resources and opportunities, such as webinars, podcasts, forums, events, courses, certifications, and more. You can also network and interact with other members who share your interests and goals. You can also participate in the public input and comment process for the NEC, which allows you to submit your suggestions or feedback on the proposed changes or additions to the NEC. You can find more information on how to get involved in the NFPA website.