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#81940 - 10/06/02 08:13 AM Paint on wires
harold endean Offline
Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 2233
Loc: Boonton, NJ
Does anyone know if latex paint has a deleterious effect on copper wires? How about on the insulation? Does it violate sec. 310-9 of the NEC?
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#81941 - 10/06/02 02:13 PM Re: Paint on wires
sparky Offline
Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5303
a fair Q harold. and there's much worse than latex out there.

a quick cross ref of 310.9 to T310.13 would conclude little here, not that most painter's would care.....
#81942 - 10/07/02 04:30 AM Re: Paint on wires
Joe Tedesco Offline
Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 2749
Loc: Boston, Massachusetts USA

I think that 310.9 is clear and gives some reason to be concerned.

It may be necessary to call attention to the following NEC rule, that you as the AHJ can enforce.

"110.12(C) Integrity of Electrical Equipment and Connections.

Internal parts of electrical equipment, including busbars, wiring terminals, insulators, and other surfaces, shall not be damaged or contaminated by foreign materials such as paint, plaster, cleaners, abrasives, or corrosive residues.

There shall be no damaged parts that may adversely affect safe operation or mechanical strength of the equipment such as parts that are broken; bent; cut; or deteriorated by corrosion, chemical action, or overheating."

However, the permission to use paint to identify the grounded conductor still can be found in the code under 200.7(C)

"Circuits of 50 Volts or More.

The use of insulation that is white or gray or that has three continuous white stripes for other than a grounded conductor for circuits of 50 volts or more shall be permitted only as in (1) through (3).

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

(2) Where a cable assembly contains an insulated conductor for single-pole, 3-way or 4-way switch loops and the conductor with white or gray insulation or a marking of three continuous white stripes is used for the supply to the switch but not as a return conductor from the switch to the switched outlet.

In these applications, the conductor with white or gray insulation or with three continuous white stripes shall be permanently reidentified to indicate its use by painting or other effective means at its terminations and at each location where the conductor is visible and accessible."

Another example, and possible conflicting statement in the 2002 NECH Commentary is where they still recommend "taping and painting" would seem to be a violation because of the rule in the exception here to 230.54(B)

Exception: Type SE cable shall be permitted to be formed in a gooseneck and taped with a self-sealing weather-resistant thermoplastic.

Personally, I think paint is sloppy and in the electrical industry there are better ways to identify the grounded conductor without using paint!

[This message has been edited by Joe Tedesco (edited 10-07-2002).]
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant
#81943 - 10/07/02 05:14 AM Re: Paint on wires
electric-ed Offline
Registered: 07/08/02
Posts: 175
Loc: Canada
Has anyone ever seen a problem that could be attributed to paint on wire insulation, or on a cable jacket.

I haven't, in fifty years in the industry.

Most paints are insulating materials, and must be removed, from a box, for example, in order to make a conducting connection.

#81944 - 10/07/02 08:07 AM Re: Paint on wires
Redsy Offline
Registered: 03/28/01
Posts: 2056
Loc: Bucks County PA
Let me guess...

New residential, overspray into the boxes?
#81945 - 10/07/02 02:46 PM Re: Paint on wires
Gwz Offline
Registered: 04/29/02
Posts: 197

Don't those little tiny balls of paint on the panelboard bus bars allow the stab-on jaws of CB's slip onto the bus easier?
#81946 - 10/08/02 03:58 AM Re: Paint on wires
harold endean Offline
Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 2233
Loc: Boonton, NJ
You guys figured me out way too quick again. Yes, overspray on a big condo job. NO, it wasn't on the inside of any panel. Yes, there is overspray on the wires inside the box. However my concern gets a little more specific. There are traces of overspray on the wires inside of the boxes which then go into the pin backs of the switches and receptacles. I know that I am going to hear a lot of guys yell about how they hate pinback devices. However if the manufacture of the device allows it, and it is UL approved then it must pass code. My question concerns are that the contractor "claims", that once you use the pin back, the device scraps the paint off of the wire, and therefore there is no real problem with "traces" of overspray on the conductor.
Joe, The internal parts are not damaged by the overspray, and is a little laytex paint a contaminent? Now you should know me by now, I am not trying to be difficult, I just want to be fair to all parties concerned. The amount of paint on the wires is a little at best. It is not like the bare conductor was dipped in paint and then left to dry. Problem is how little is too much? P.S. we are talking about over 14 buildings with 5-9 2 story apt. in each building.


#81947 - 10/08/02 04:21 AM Re: Paint on wires
sparky66wv Offline
Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2232
Loc: West Virginia
If ya got green paint, the overspray can land on the EGC, but will have to be cleaned from the other conductors. If it is white, and it usually is, (or grey) then the paint should be scraped from all but the neutral, any other color, and you can leave the paint on the hots, but it must be scraped from the EGC and Neutral.

Otherwise it is mis-identification of conductors.

That's the way I see it.
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
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#81948 - 10/08/02 04:58 PM Re: Paint on wires
stamcon Offline
Registered: 03/24/01
Posts: 329
Loc: So San Francisco CA
Harold, my only comment on the harmful aspect, is that latex paint is required on exposed ABS and PVC plumbing pipes for UV protection. I know you are asking about wire insulation and not pipe. I know it can cause corrosion on copper pipe(or help promote the corrosion).
#81949 - 10/08/02 10:02 PM Re: Paint on wires
elecbob Offline
Registered: 08/23/02
Posts: 141
Loc: WA
I just spent 2 hours finding a black (hot) #12 wire than had been wire nutted together with the white (neutral wires in a box. I couldn't find power to a bathroom light circuit. I am convinced painters take delight in covering wires with paint. From here on out I am masking off all wires in boxes prior to painting. Guess who's going to pay for my time.
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