Remarking white wire

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  #1  
Old 02-20-06, 05:18 PM
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Remarking white wire

I know its code and good practice to use black tape to mark white wires used as "hot". Is this required at the load center and J boxes, or just in the device boxes?
 
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  #2  
Old 02-20-06, 05:36 PM
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I know it's Code and good practice to use <s>black</s> <u>some color other than green or gray</u> tape<u>, painting, or other effective means</u> to mark white <u>or gray</u> wires used as "hot".
Is this required at the load center and J boxes, or just in the device boxes?
Everywhere that the wires are "visible and accessible" (that is, not required where wires are inside a cable or conduit).
 

Last edited by bolide; 02-20-06 at 05:49 PM.
  #3  
Old 02-20-06, 07:19 PM
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I like to discourage using tape to remark white (or gray) wires. It often gets pulled off (or falls off if it's cheap) if there's other tape in the box that needs to be removed at some point.

A large sharpie makes an excellent tool to re-color the white wire, especially if a small notch is cut in the tip that allows you to easily follow the wire. For a homeowner doing occasional work a black or red works OK. I like to color code mine a bit so that if I'm using the white for a hot wire to feed a 240 volt circuit I color it red, blue if part of a switch leg, and sky blue if part of a 3 way circuit. 3 strokes of the notched tip coats the entire wire as well so you don't have to turn the wire over to see if it's marked.

These colors over the white in NM-B (Romex) are an unmistakeably different color that call attention to the fact something is "different". Although it is possible to scrape off some of the color it's almost impossible to get enough of it off without effort to mistake the wire for anything else.

UNK
 
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Old 02-20-06, 08:29 PM
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I agree. A Sharpie or magic marker or some other black permanent marker is generally the easiest and best way to reidentify a white wire.
 
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Old 02-20-06, 10:03 PM
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sky blue? just tape the conductor the entire length that it is visible. it will not fall off. buy a decent roll of tape like temflex or super 88.
 
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Old 02-20-06, 10:37 PM
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I guess I just don't like tape in a box

Since we're discussing personal preferences for remarking white insulation on small conductors, I am going to weigh in on the side of anything but black tape.

Lots of boxes have black tape stuck on the wires, including by people who believe that wirenuts will leak electricity or fall off if they aren't taped, or that devices must be bandaged up like a burn victim to make them safe.

I prefer fluorescent, indelible magic markers. Bright colors are not easily mistaken for dirt, grease, coal dust, or remnants of someone having used sticky black tape to wrap every wirenut almost like an Egyptian mummy.

Wrapping the entire exposed length with tape will work especially starting from the cut end. The drawbacks are it takes longer, it makes the wire harder to strip, and harder to fit through a box connector, and it can't be done once the wire is in a box.

I also use a color code system. Black is not one of those colors. Black tape is a last resort if nothing else effective is available.





Good thread topic, telecom guy.
 

Last edited by bolide; 02-21-06 at 12:36 AM.
  #7  
Old 02-20-06, 10:41 PM
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Since this almost turned into a poll; I'll just say ditto to Bolide's post.

And the notch in the tip of the Sharpie is a great idea! I need to think outside of the box more...
 
  #8  
Old 02-21-06, 06:39 AM
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great responses, thanks. OK, so its not so "good practice to use black tape". The marker pen sounds faster and more durable.
 
  #9  
Old 02-21-06, 07:05 AM
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to all those who just jumped on the the marker wagon. permanent marker is far from permanent. oil from hands or any other petroleum product will take it off, as well as re applying marker will take it off. electricians since the beginning of time have re colored conductors with electrical tape. you choose a color and apply it to the entire conductor length that is visible. i know it may be hard to get hands in certain boxes but it can be done. i dont carry a sky blue marker.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 07:52 AM
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Tach, I used the word "sharpie" rather than "marker" for a reason. Easier, faster, cheaper. AND, re-applying a sharpie just makes the color darker. Sky blue comes as part of the 6 or 8 pack sharpies. I could have just as easily picked orange but I use that for something else. And, sky blue doesn't bother me any more than purple or pink tape does (is it the COLOR that bothers you?), and is a LOT easier to use in a cold house As to what electricians have done forever, we used to tie an uninsulated wire to ranges and dryers and call it both a ground and neutral too.

I used to drag around a bunch of coding tape. Now I carry sharpies and a shrink sleeve printer. Times change. Materials change. I don't do a lot of things I use to.
 

Last edited by itsunclebill; 02-21-06 at 08:09 AM.
  #11  
Old 02-21-06, 09:02 AM
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the color does not bother me as you said you can use any color you choose. there is nothing wrong with tape. when i hear things like tape will be pulled off, i say by who? or it may fall off, i have never seen 6" or more of tape fall off. times do change but you stick with what works. tape for remarking conductors is easy, cheap and effective. you mention we used to use 3 wire for ranges and dryers and as you know there are many of these still in operation working trouble free for many years. times do change and certain methods do as well, but other methods dont. you want to use markers thats fine, but there is nothing wrong with tape. i know you are not a fan of taping devices either but does that mean its wrong. its a personal preference. there is more than one way to skin a cat. how about receptacles, do you put ground up or down? its a preference.
 
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Old 02-21-06, 09:05 AM
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I've carried a small bottle of red and a small bottle of black modeling paint in my electrical tool box for years. The only drawback is dry time, but once it dries it won't come off.
 
  #13  
Old 02-21-06, 09:58 AM
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comparing procedures

> i have never seen 6" or more of tape fall off.
It will unwind a bit at the tail end.

Do you wear gloves when you are working?

(I do use white tape if I have to re-mark a marked white wire back to white.)

But to use tape at any other time requires the installer to:
strip the sheath, (install a box connector if going into panel or handybox), untwist the wires, strip the wires, remove gloves, wash hands, wrap tape from the stripped end of wire to the base (takes at least a minute to do neatly), put gloves on, re-twist wires together, push through knockout (a real challenge with the little knockouts on metal receptacle boxes), (install locknut - harder since wires have been untwisted before and cross-sectional area has been increased), untwist wires again.


With marker, the procedure is:
strip the sheath, (install a box connector if going into panel or handybox), push through knockout (install locknut) (easier since wires are skinnier and still have the factory twist), untwist wires, re-mark the white wire (takes only seconds), strip the wires.




> i know you are not a fan of taping devices either but does that mean it's wrong?
failure to install according to manufacturer's directions.


> How about receptacles, do you put ground up or down? it's a preference.
I disagree.
 
  #14  
Old 02-21-06, 12:28 PM
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alright bolide which way do you put receptacles. yuo know what you can do with your off topic sign. failure to follow dircetions? are you kidding me. what about who started the range/dryer idea. was that off topic as well? bolide and uncle bill have there ways of doing things and obviously anyone elses is wrong. i said do you want to use marker go ahead, i prefer striped tape. by the way with marker, its against code to hide any info on a conductor like temp rating or wire size or type of insulation. with striped tape this info is still available. with a sharpie, how do you still allow one to see this info? what does wearing gloves have to do with this. are you saying you will have difficulty taping a conductor with gloves on? your not wearing gloves rated for the artic circle are you? i just looked at the boxes devices come in from leviton, pass and seymour and hubbell and i could not find where it says dont tape device or you will void the ul or fail to follow manufactures directions. i need another arguement not to tape them. oh and not that the tape residue is messy.
 

Last edited by tach; 02-21-06 at 12:40 PM.
  #15  
Old 02-21-06, 12:43 PM
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Everyone has had their say, and it's starting to get personal. Thread closed.
 
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