permitted hot colors for residential wiring

mark_anderson_usFebruary 22, 2011

Hi All

I'm rewiring about 80% of my house (200A 120v). Most of the conduit is installed (code requirement) and I'll be starting to pull wires next week. The most cicuits in any conduit branch will be four.

I'll obviously be using White and Gray for Neutrals and Green for ground

I'd like to use different colors to easily identify the circuits in the same conduit (lots of pigtails). Is it OK (code-wise) to use *any* other color with the exception of balck, white, gray and green for a hot?

For example, my local Home Depot has Purple, Red, Orange and Yellow. Are these OK to use? (I know some colors have meaning in 3-phase, etc., but I'm assuming it doesn't matter for residential)

TIA

Mark

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kurto

You can use any color except green or white for "hot". Actually, you can use white, as long as you mark both ends in another color (except green) with tape or a marker. Of course, the most commonly used colors for single-phase residential "hot" wires are black and red.

Normally, other colors (like brown, orange, yellow) are used for 3-phase, or higher voltage applications.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 3:08PM
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Ron Natalie

Kurto is right (except add "or gray or with three white stripes" everywhere he says "white.).

It's the same for commercial use as well.
Even three phase stuff commonly uses red and black for two of the phases....

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 3:53PM
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globe199

My office (built in 1980/1981) has had a bunch of rewiring done lately. I checked out the old wiring whilst the boxes were open, and there are all manner of colours in there. Orange, blue, red, brown, purple, probably others. I would think that in a large building with hundreds of circuits and thousands of devices, it would be nearly impossible to keep everything straight without using colours. Now I sort of wish my house was wired like that :)

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 5:30PM
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samneric

Actually kurdo and ronnatalie are both mistaken, or maybe they missed the part in the OP's post about conduit pulls.

White and Gray wires are prohibited by NEC 200.7(A) from being pulled into conduit to be used as ungrounded conductors on 120v or 240v circuits - whether re-marked or not.

Stick with using White/Gray for neutrals only.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 6:39PM
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Ron Natalie

Sam is right, I missed the "remarking" in kurto's post.
If you're pulling in conduit, buy green, white, and at least one and many other colors as floats your boat

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 8:39AM
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Ron Natalie

I find it convenient to have at least one spool for each conductor you wish to pull in parallel. Pain in the butt to do otherwise.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 12:23PM
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fixizin

SO... 'white' can be re-marked if it's in a CABLE, but not in a conduit?... hmmm... interesting...

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 2:08AM
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Ron Natalie

That is true. The wording of the exception is:

If part of a cable assembly that has the insulation permanently reidentified to indicate its use as an ungrounded conductor by marking tape, painting, or other effective means at its termination and at each location where the conductor is visible and accessible.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 6:17AM
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fixizin

Kinda persnickety and anti-conduit they be over at the ol' NFPA... ;') Gonna leave me wid a buncha white AWG14 THWN... lucky I got it b'fore the recent market manipulations, err, I mean natural price increases... :roll: ... because you know how red-hot the construction industry is right now... :roll:... yepper, all that new home construction izz puttin' a sharp strain on Chilean copper mining output... :rolleyes:

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 7:35PM
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Ron Natalie

They're not anti-conduit but they figure if you're pulling individual wires you can pull the right colored ones. It's pretty hard to replace the wire in an already assembled cable.

Tell me how mandating insulation color has any bearing on expense or amount o copper consumed? Actually, you get a better deal on copper pulling individual conductors as you might bet by with less in the grounding...

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 11:45AM
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bus_driver

Back in the early 1980s, there was a place in Chicago that sold new but surplus wire at really bargain prices. Some of it was TW, THW, in #14 and #12. Harder to pull than THHN and fewer in a conduit. I bought a large supply for my needs. My RED spools came in maroon, pink, and rose, as I would describe the colors. Blue was anywhere from the colors of UNC to Duke.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 12:25PM
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Ron Natalie

Go Blue Devils.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 2:14PM
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fixizin

Tell me how mandating insulation color has any bearing on expense or amount o copper consumed?

Well, let's say like bus_driver, you got "such a deal" on one huge reel of black THWN, and one equally huge reel of white... and you've got to re-wire several long EMT runs that each carry two 3-way lighting circuits tied to the same branch/CB, i.e. supported by a single neutral... you're going to consume 4 to 6 times as much black as white... and start casting furtive glances at your kids' Easter egg coloring kit, LOL. ;')

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 1:24AM
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fa_f3_20

"SO... 'white' can be re-marked if it's in a CABLE, but not in a conduit?... hmmm... interesting..."

Obviously it's an accommodation they made so that, e.g., romex can be used for a switch loop, since nobody makes 2-wire romex with black and red. I used to wish somebody would do so, but now that I'm doing home automation, I've gotten religion about having neutral at all switch locations, so it doesn't matter to me anymore.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 1:02PM
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terribletom

"Obviously it's an accommodation they made so that, e.g., romex can be used for a switch loop, since nobody makes 2-wire romex with black and red. I used to wish somebody would do so..."

Try shopping in Canada for some 12/2 with red and black conductors. You might be surprised. :-)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 7:37PM
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ontariojer

We call it "heatex", usually used for electric baseboards or hot water tanks. It's available in 14/2 up to I think at least 3/2 for furnaces. Red/black/bare.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 9:50PM
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