Is it ok to use standard 12-2 romex for a switch leg?

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Old 05-23-14, 07:02 AM
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Is it ok to use standard 12-2 romex for a switch leg?

I have an existing junction box inside a kitchen cabinet with the receptacle (and switch) to turn on and off the garbage disposer. The box sits at the base of the cabinet which worries me. So I am going to move it higher above the drain connections and hot & cold supply valves, that way if anything leaks there is no danger of the box getting on touch with a puddle of water.

Now, I need to put in a switch for the disposer on the wall. To run a switch leg up and back...can I use standard 12-2 romex and "steal" the neutral conductor as one of the legs? I probably should use a MC flex conduit but I am all out and don't feel like buying a 50ft roll for the 40" or so I need.

I happen to have a stretch of romex around. Just not sure it is kosher to do.
 
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Old 05-23-14, 07:08 AM
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Under pre 2011 NEC yes if you remark the white as an ungrounded conductor on both ends. Under 2011 you must have a neutral in the switch box even if not used so you would need 12-3.
 
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Old 05-23-14, 03:35 PM
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A neutral is only needed for lighting loads. MC really doesn't buy you much as it is not rated for physical protection.
 
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Old 05-24-14, 07:44 AM
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Can not think of a reason you could not use 2 runs of Romex ?

God bless
Wyr
 
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Old 05-24-14, 08:33 AM
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Under pre 2011 NEC yes if you remark the white as an ungrounded conductor on both ends. Under 2011 you must have a neutral in the switch box even if not used so you would need 12-3.
I've asked about this before, and if I understand it correctly, the reason for the Neutral in the switch box (2011 NEC) is: in case you need it "in the future".

A few questions:
Is that the reasoning? Are there any other issues involved?

I'm guessing that the end of the neutral (unused in the switch box)should be capped?

To what would the other end of the unused neutral be connected?-the neutral in the light?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 05-24-14, 08:38 AM
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Capped at the switch connected at the light, ready for future use.
 
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Old 05-24-14, 09:48 AM
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The only reason I considered MC was I still have a reels of #12 red, black, yellow, green conductors laying around and I could connection the box and the switch with MC with my choice of conductors.
 
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Old 05-24-14, 09:52 AM
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Wyr, I didn't think to use two runs of 12-2 because I would think I would just use a 12-3 before considering that option.
 
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Old 05-24-14, 10:23 AM
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OK I will use a 12-3 then.

Just out of curiosity I have never used one of those switches, you know those with a light indicator on it so you can see it in the dark? How are those powered do you need to run a neutral there for that to work?
 
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Old 05-24-14, 10:49 AM
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How are those powered do you need to run a neutral there for that to work?
Some you do some you don't but the ones that don't use neutral don't work with CFLs because they draw power through the fixture and may cause CFLs to flash off and on. Lighted switches with no neutral also may not work correctly with LEDs depending on the wattage. There is a third type permitted by code that uses the ground wire as a neutral but the light is limited to 5ma* or less.

*Can not verify 5ma is correct, just what I read here.
 
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Old 05-25-14, 03:02 AM
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Could you please supply a code reference for requiring an un-used neutral in a switch box . Does it just apply to cable / Romex / MC work or does it apply to conduit jobs ?

Have not seen that in any of the continuing education courses , that I have taken ?

Years ago , some one made a plastic switch plate that had a small neon lite . The 2 wires to the neon lamp attached to the 2 screws on a SP switch . No neutral was needed . The circuit was completed through the incandescent lamp . Long before compact florescents or LED's .

Thanks , :-)
Wyr
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Old 05-25-14, 04:41 AM
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Unused neutral not required for conduit because it can be easily added. I was only addressing cable in my reply. No reference. I do not have a copy of 2011 NEC.
 
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Old 05-25-14, 06:55 AM
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NEC 404.2(C) - Title is "Switches Controlling Lighting Loads"

and at the bottom
Informational Note: The provision for a (future) grounded
conductor is to complete a circuit path for electronic light-
ing control devices.
 
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Old 05-26-14, 07:06 AM
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Thank you , :-)

God bless
Wyr
 
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Old 05-30-14, 07:58 AM
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As a follow-up to my mini hijack post (#5, sorry), and Ray's informative reply(#6), could a "future use" be: extending the circuit by connecting the new black to the constant hot line, new neutral to capped neutral, and bundling the ground wires?
(Of course, some pigtails would be needed, and all this presumes that said extension was safe and to code.)
 
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Old 05-30-14, 08:26 AM
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could a "future use" be: extending the circuit by connecting the new black to the constant hot line, new neutral to capped neutral, and bundling the ground wires?
Yes, if the circuit has the capacity.
 
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Old 05-30-14, 08:31 AM
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Technically yes, but it would be bad practice if the new load is anything but lighting.

The reason it was mandated is there are more and more electronic switches going on the market that require a neutral to function.
 
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Old 05-30-14, 11:34 AM
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I doubt anyone would use an electronic control with a Garbage disposal, a lighted switch might be a valid point tho.
 
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Old 05-30-14, 11:44 AM
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And nobody said anything about it being required in the OP's application.. 404.2(C) applies to switches controlling lighting loads only.
 
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Old 05-31-14, 08:56 AM
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Technically yes, but it would be bad practice if the new load is anything but lighting.

The reason it was mandated is there are more and more electronic switches going on the market that require a neutral to function.
Thanks for the info.I hadn't thought about (actually have never yet used) a newer electronic switch.
 
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