Anybody know the reasoning behind the requirement that neutral conductors #6 and smaller must have a outer white or gray finish and cannot be tapped at the terminations? This is sorta aggravating when my supply house don't supply white unless you buy a whole roll, then I have to go to Lowes and pay triple price or so for it. Thanks for the input. Steve...
Here #2 and smaller have to be white. I would say this requirement is out there because those sizes are manufactured white. The bigger ones are not so they allow you to colour tape them. If people were to just use black all the time and tape it white, I bet that some might do a crappy tape job and it would fall off, some might not colour it at all, there would be confusion on what one is the identified conductor. Your supply place is just trying to make more money by only selling by the roll.
I agree that's a bit of an issue around here too. No suppliers seem to stock colors anymore. Even Home Depot only stocks black. If I am lucky, I might be able to buy some short pieces they have from when they did sell colors. Then, this might be also due to the fact that our inspectors are somewhat lax on this requirement in this area.
Picture opening a J-box in the middle of a 200' run and seeing 11 black #12 conductors entering and exiting in 3/4" conduit. Thats why.....
Larger conductors typically are dedicated for a specific load and are not tapped in multiple J-boxes. The smaller conductors typically pass thru mulitple J-boxes and are tapped multiple times and are often re-used and reconfigured during remodel work.
How do you identify the neutral(s) if it isn't color coded in each and every pull/J-box? The sole intent of this code article as I have always understood it is to make your and mine job easier (along with the unqualified wanna-be maintenence xxxx that might electrocute themselves).
Neutrals are white for the same reason that grounds are green or bare, so that you can identify them readily at every pull box, fitting, and splice box without de-energizeing every circuit associated with them, breaking the joints/cutting them, and then ringing them out.
Come on....think about it for a minute?
Buy the roll of white wire, it isn't as if it spoils on the shelf or in your van or truck. Another job will come along soon where you can use some more of it anyway.
Even #8 and #6 are often used for branch circuits for lighting especially in large multi-story buildings. I often have to use #6 conductors for standby lighting loads when they originate in a E-panel two floors below and the run length is over 400' in total.
Normally in small buildings I admit that this is not an issue, but in large multi-story buildings, schools, etc...etc...?
I have added standby lighting/emergency power via automatic transfer switch and a generator to many schools in alaska. In every case the lighting circuit conductors were spec'd as #8 or more often #6 conductors.
Again should I color code the conductors black,red,blue,white/brown,orange,yellow,gray or just pull six or eight black conductors?
I have never had any problem with this particular requirement because it is one that makes my job easier when it comes to troubleshooting and remodel work.
I could pull all black for the ungrounded conductors or purple or pink or any other color as iwire has pointed out. But why would I?, to save $375.00 on a $260,000.00 dollar job in wire cost?
I have no problem at all with buying the full reels of wire, as I said before it doesn't spoil and I will use what is left over on the next job or maybe the one after that.
Having some #8 and #6 white on the shelf and ready to use has never hurt me, so I fail to see what the problem is. (of course I also have 1/0, 2/0, 3/0 copper, about 900 assorted new and used breakers, and 200amp 30 space panels along with 125, 150 and 200 mainkits for them.)
Yes I have some wire reels that I "might" not use use again for a year or more. It is part of the cost of doing business and when I get that night call-out and I need some #6 white I will have it.