14-2-2 versus 14-3

tryinbrianDecember 4, 2006

I was just went shopping at my local big box for some cable to run some three-way switches. When I was able to compose myself from the sticker shock I received on ALL the prices, I noticed that they had some "14-2-2" cable for just about the same price as 14-3 cable. My question is this: can this 14-2-2 be used the same as 14-3? It certainly looked the same, except for the color of the insulation, but I couldn't find a box to explain what it is used for.

My thinking was, if I'm going to get a 250' roll of something, might as well get the most versatile material for the price.

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Southwire has some information on the two conductor cable.

You don't need it for a 3-way switch circuit.


Here is a link that might be useful: Southwire 14-2-2

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 9:04AM
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14-2-2 is useful for several things. It is primarily marketed to take the place of 14-3 used in multiwire circuits that feed bedrooms. Since these require AFCIs the extra neutral wire allows using single pole AFCIs rather than the double pole type.

The cable is used for 3 way circuits where running a neutral and pass through power with the travelers is necessary, 2 speed swamp coolers and for light-heat-fan units in bathrooms.

The NEC doesn't allow running 2 separate cables any more to devices requiring multiple wires so the -2-2 cables in both sizes are used where a couple of -2 cables might have been used before. (above)

Using -2-2 cable in place of -3 is OK as long as you watch the box fill. Many single gang boxes are full with 2 14-3 cables and a device.

You're going to have to be the judge of whether you can justify the cost difference for something you will see limited use for. I do a lot of residential work and wind up using less than 2 rolls a year.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 9:24AM
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Thanks for the responses. I know I don't need the 14-2-2, but since it's the same price as 14-3, I figure it's better to invest in the roll of wire that's going to be more versatile for other things. Box fill is a consideration that I hadn't thought of, so I'll make sure I have a large enough box for the extra (unused)conductor.

It's probably priced lower cause it's new and they're trying to get people to try it. Obviously, it has more $copper$ in it than the 14-3.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 11:48AM
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Check to see that it is 250 feet. One day I was in home depot and was surprised to see a pallet of 12/2 for $62.00, then the sales clerk pointed out it was only 200 feet. The dirty dogs changed the length but the package looked the same.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 9:23PM
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However if you take pride in your work and want it to look professional, buy the right kind of wire for the job. If you only need a little, buy it by the foot.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 9:27PM
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what is the best application for a 14-2b and a 14-3

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 5:49PM
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