Please help me determine whether I have Romex wiring


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Old 01-05-04, 05:47 PM
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Please help me determine whether I have Romex wiring

I have a 2-gang installation of Lutron Centurion 1000w dimmers in my living room. The house is in Montgomery County MD and was built in 1979.

I'm looking into replacing these bulky rotary dimmers with more attractive slide dimmers. All of the Lutron 1000w dimmers on the market now have a sticker that states "use only with field wire rated 75deg C and above". I spoke to a Lutron rep, and he told me that this means that if the house was built with Romex, the Romex must be rated at at least 75deg C.

I checked some of the wire cables that are visible in my basement, and they all have the following stamped on them:

"14-2 with ground Cirtex plastic 600v Cerro (UL)"

Does this mean I do _not_ have Romex? The Lutron rep told me if I did have Romex, the temperature rating would be stamped on the cable.

The reason this is important is that the existing Centurion dimmers have fins on the room- side of the wall, so that heat dissipates into the room. The new dimmers all dissipate heat back into the box - so its critical that my existing wiring be able to handle the heat.

Thanks for any insights and advice.

-Randy
Potomac, MD
 
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Old 01-05-04, 05:57 PM
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Romex is a brand name. You apparently have some other brand. Look for more writing on the cable than you posted. Sometimes this writing is visible only as an impression (i.e., no actual ink was used).
 
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Old 01-05-04, 06:10 PM
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Originally posted by John Nelson
Romex is a brand name. You apparently have some other brand. Look for more writing on the cable than you posted. Sometimes this writing is visible only as an impression (i.e., no actual ink was used).
In my basement I can see the wiring to 2 receptacles and a light fixture - probably about 15' of cable total.... there's nothing else written or stamped on the cable.

Even though my cable may not be Romex brand, does it have a max heat tolerance? Do all cables have a max heat tolerance? Forgive my naivete but I am new to having to think about the type of wire in the house...

-Randy
 
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Old 01-05-04, 06:23 PM
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This is cable from the Cerro Wire & Cable Company. Cirtex NM-B cable is rated at 90 degrees. However, your cable does not have that important "NM-B" designation. I suggest you contact the company. They can be reached through their web site at http://www.cerrowire.com/ . Let us know what you find out.
 
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Old 01-05-04, 09:52 PM
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John is correct. The key to the higher temperature rating is the "NM-B". If it says just NM, then it is 60 degree rated.
 
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Old 01-06-04, 04:18 PM
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My apologies to John Nelson - I do have some egg on my face. The cable indeed does have "Type NM" on the imprint. I guess I'm out of luck since HandyRon states that NM is only 60deg.

Do I have any other options here? The existing setup is the following:

2-gang metal wallbox in the living room with 2 Lutron Centurion 1000w dimmers:

Dimmer 1: controls 2 recessed light fixtures (which focuses light on our living room entertainment center/armoir), each with a 100- watt incandescent bulb

Dimmer 2: controls 4 recessed can light fixtures (which provide general lighting to the room), each with a 120-watt indoor flood bulb.

Ideally I'd like to replace both with Lutron Skylark dimmers (slide type). The 600w version does not have a 75deg requirement, while the 1000w version does.

Even taking derating into consideration, I suppose I can easily replace Dimmer #1 with a new 600w-max slide dimmer. However, with derating taken into account I'm afraid it would not be safe to replace Dimmer #2 with a 600w replacement - most of the Lutron 600w products derate to 500w, and 120*4=480w. I wouldn't be comfortable being so close to the maximum wattage.

So, any thoughts? Or should I just replace them with brand-new 1000w Centurion dimmers (Lutron still makes them) that are at least clean white instead of 1979 yellow-beige?

thanks again for everyone's input.

Randy
 
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Old 01-06-04, 06:33 PM
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There are always options. When dealing with old wire and heat issues, the most common option is to replace the cable that leads to the box. If possible, replace the cable all the way from whatever box it comes from. If not, install a new permanently accessible junction box a few feet away and replace the cable from there. Depending on your skill and luck, this may or may not require wall repair afterwards. I don't think people should be so afraid of wall repair. It's a very useful skill to develop and in many cases takes less time and money than you spend trying to avoid it.
 
 

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