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  1. #1
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    Question 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Yesterday's inspection had a 14-3 wire in the service panel with both red and white wires connected to the neutral bus bar. This appears to be a 15 amp lighting circuit. I am a little confused on why this was done.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    That looks to be service equipment (because the grounds and neutrals are on the same terminal bus), thus they did not attach the red to the "neutral" terminal bus, they attached the red to the "ground" terminal bus.

    Just like has been discussed here as a good place to terminate the ends of unused conductors - terminate them into the ground terminals so if they are accidentally energized they are already connected to ground.

    The other end of that red conductor would, I presume, have also been tied to ground, probably in the same wire nut which has the ground conductor in it.

    Somebody forgot to cut off some excess wire coming out of that ground terminal.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Thumbs up Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That looks to be service equipment (because the grounds and neutrals are on the same terminal bus), thus they did not attach the red to the "neutral" terminal bus, they attached the red to the "ground" terminal bus..
    Yes Jerry it's the main service panel and that is the ground terminal bus. Thanks for clarifying the reason the red was connected to the ground terminal bus.


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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    I would NEVER terminate an unused "hot" conductor on a ground/neutral bar. There should not be a chance of it becoming energized if both ends are properly capped off.
    Even though it may not be acting as a ground or neutral I still would call that a violation.

    What I have seen in residential applications is "3-wire" cable being used for isolated ground circuits. This is basically a useless effort in a residential setting with NM cable anyway, besides the obvious code violation of using a red as a grounding conductor.


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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    I would NEVER terminate an unused "hot" conductor on a ground/neutral bar. There should not be a chance of it becoming energized if both ends are properly capped off.
    You mean to tell us that you have NEVER ... EVER ... seen a conductor short out or ground out? As as electrician? (which I presume you are) Do you also have some high and dry land in the Everglades you want to sell us along with that Brooklyn Bridge thing?

    Even though it may not be acting as a ground or neutral I still would call that a violation.[/quote]

    Note if you were to wrap some white tape around it.

    besides the obvious code violation of using a red as a grounding conductor.
    There you go again, an itty bitty piece of white tape and it is no longer a problem to ANY *code* inspector.

    It really is THE BEST PRACTICE to tie all unused wires back to ground, just in case they do get accidentally energized.

    Also, Speedy Petey, how about clicking on 'Contact Us' at the bottom of the page and asking Brian to change your username to your real name, you know, like you see the rest of us doing ... because that is what we do here, use our real names, allows us to get to know each other.

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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    Note if you were to wrap some white tape around it.



    There you go again, an itty bitty piece of white tape and it is no longer a problem to ANY *code* inspector.
    Sorry, a conductor that small cannot be re-marked with tape. Besides, again a conductor that small if used as a ground must be bare or green along it's entire length.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Also, Speedy Petey, how about clicking on 'Contact Us' at the bottom of the page and asking Brian to change your username to your real name, you know, like you see the rest of us doing ... because that is what we do here, use our real names, allows us to get to know each other.
    Nope. No thank you.
    If this part of the TOS of this site I will certainly be gone. If not I will keep things the way they are.
    You will get to know me fine. Just call me Petey.


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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    Sorry, a conductor that small cannot be re-marked with tape. Besides, again a conductor that small if used as a ground must be bare or green along it's entire length.
    You need to go back and read 250.119(B).

    Of course, then we get into the discussion of "qualified persons", but that is a different issue contained in the same discussion.

    Nope. No thank you.
    If this part of the TOS of this site I will certainly be gone. If not I will keep things the way they are.
    You will get to know me fine. Just call me Petey.
    That is what we do here, go by our real names, except for about three or so who are apparently running from the law and refuse to use their real names, of though, they do not post much either, so ... using our real names shows consideration for all the others of us, if one does not show consideration for all the others of us, one must be willing to accept what they get back in return ...

    Typically, what we find here are those who do not use their real names are hiding their identity from looking foolish, and here we all look foolish now and then in our endeavor to learn more, those hiding their identity typically only end up being argumentative and not providing a real service to the rest.

    Your call.

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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    You need to go back and read 250.119(B).

    Of course, then we get into the discussion of "qualified persons", but that is a different issue contained in the same discussion.
    Oh, I definitely agree.
    I am well aware of that section. I am just of the VERY strong opinion that any time a code section begins with, or contains, "Where the conditions of maintenance and supervision ensure that only qualified persons service the installation,...." , that section does NOT apply to a residential setting.
    Then again, this is just my opinion.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That is what we do here, go by our real names, except for about three or so who are apparently running from the law and refuse to use their real names, of though, they do not post much either, so ...
    That's great Jerry. Just keep an eye out for the cops. Don't tell them I was here. OK?


  9. #9
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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Trent, smoke alarms are often wired with 14-3 wire due to being required to sound off in sequence, ( when one sounds they all will). But for the red wire in the distribution panel box, I am used to seeing them capped off with a wire nut, not attached to ground or neutral bus.


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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Jerry sort of reminds me of something from MAD magazine - "what people say and what they really mean". Here, its what the code says and what Jerry says it really means.

    250.119(B) is CLEARLY referring to an industrial setting and could never apply to residential wiring. Even most commercial settings don't fit here. See 90.1(C)

    EVEN IF the home is owned by a licensed electrician who controlled "maintenance and supervision", the installation would not be legal if the home sold as those "conditions" couldn't be enforced/maintained.

    And this article opens the other proverbial can of worms because it does allow tape to be used as a permanent means of remarking wire. Says so right in front of God and everybody. Maybe green tape is better than white tape


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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    Maybe green tape is better than white tape

    That's all I could figure out of that too ... glad we agree ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    Sorry, a conductor that small cannot be re-marked with tape. Besides, again a conductor that small if used as a ground must be bare or green along it's entire length.

    Nope. No thank you.
    If this part of the TOS of this site I will certainly be gone. If not I will keep things the way they are.
    You will get to know me fine. Just call me Petey.
    Mr. Petey, I have read well over 100 of your posts on another HI message board and would appreciate your input here. Usually your answers to inspection questions are precise and to the point, apparantly based on years of experience in residential and commercial electrical installations.


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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Thank you very much John. I appreciate that.


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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    The electricity doesn't know what color the wire is. The electrician does. Hence, the use of colored tape is a courtesy to the next guy. There should be a code violation for lack therof.


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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Locurcio View Post
    The electricity doesn't know what color the wire is. The electrician does. Hence, the use of colored tape is a courtesy to the next guy. There should be a code violation for lack therof.
    Except that some reidentifications are not required to be permanent and may use tape, some reidentifications are required to be permanent and tape is allowed, while other reidentification are required to be permanent and tape is not allowed. Tape is not "permanent".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Tape is not "permanent".

    Cordin' to the NEC green tape is, and one could imply that white made of the same stuff is too.


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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    Tape is not "permanent".

    Cordin' to the NEC green tape is, and one could imply that white made of the same stuff is too.
    One could imply that, and one could also be wrong. Tape is not an option for white conductors, it is a listed option for green.

    Go figure, I can't explain it, and neither can you.

    The only thing that I can explain about that different is that it would be MORE critical for white grounded conductors which ARE INTENDED to have current on them and no voltage, versus grounding conductors which ARE NOT INTENDED to have either on them.

    My guess is THAT makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    The way I see it is that "other effective means" includes tape, and the AHJs I deal with do too. You don't see it that way, and maybe your AHJs don't either. I don't read into "other effective means" that tape is excluded and you somehow do.

    So, whenever you elect to say that no tape is a hard fast rule I'll remind you it isn't until the code folks elect to clarify what they want.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    The way I see it is that "other effective means" includes tape, and the AHJs I deal with do too. You don't see it that way, and maybe your AHJs don't either. I don't read into "other effective means" that tape is excluded and you somehow do.
    Nope, not reading anything into "other effective means" that SAYS that "tape is excluded", however, "tape" is not even meant to be "permanent", therefore "tape" has excluded itself.

    So, whenever you elect to say that no tape is a hard fast rule I'll remind you it isn't until the code folks elect to clarify what they want.
    And I will continue to remind everyone that tape is not "permanent" - when is the last time anyone has seen "tape" coming loose on something? Today, yesterday, ... ? Tape is not "permanent".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    Tape is not "permanent".

    Cordin' to the NEC green tape is, and one could imply that white made of the same stuff is too.
    Bill,

    The following is from 3M and provides a suitable way to make white tape permanent.

    Note that it "can last for a duration of time" ... "A DURATION OF TIME" is not "permanent". Hence a suggestion to make it "permanent".

    (underlining and bold are mine)
    Thank you for contacting 3M. 35 tape is viewed to be a pressure sensitive tape that when applied can last for a duration of time.

    [FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']The term permanent can be interpreted in many ways. Temperature of application and environment have a large factor in how long any product can fit need of service. A suggestion might be to apply 35 tape then protect it with a heat shrink tube that is clear, this would help insure longer service time.[/FONT]
    Being as I have already agreed that heat shrink tube could be acceptable for meeting "permanent", I will go with the recommendation of putting clear heat shrink tube over white tape, or, why not just use white heat shrink tube.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    And a duration of time would have to be defined better. A second and a millenium are both durations of time. Does that tape last for the expected lifespan of the system? I would say that typically tape would last as long as it needed to. Heck, is heat shrink permanent? No, it can be removed with a razor knife. Is paint permanent, no. There are products like Goof-Off that will remove dried paint. In fact dried paint can be scraped off a conductor with a fingernail.

    Leaving Mr. Peck out of this, would any reasonable person, with experience, wonder what tape might be doing on a conductor even if it were to be coming off? Kind of like when it was understood that a white to a breaker was being used as a hot in a 240 volt circuit.

    Wait, now someone will try to defend that not everyone working in the panel will be properly trained and will try and remove the tape and could get hurt. Even the most well intentioned and safety motivated rules cannot prevent this. After all these thousand of years we still have not gotten stupid out of the gene pool.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    And a duration of time would have to be defined better. A second and a millenium are both durations of time. Does that tape last for the expected lifespan of the system? I would say that typically tape would last as long as it needed to. Heck, is heat shrink permanent? No, it can be removed with a razor knife. Is paint permanent, no. There are products like Goof-Off that will remove dried paint. In fact dried paint can be scraped off a conductor with a fingernail.
    Then, as pointed out on another thread, you would be violating 110.12(B).

    You are like Bill, willing to violate the code to try to prove a point that something does not meet code, and that attempt itself would a violation of the code.

    You sure have little respect for the code when trying to prove your own opinion, yet you sure do try to use that same code you have little respect for to back you up.

    Leaving Mr. Peck out of this, would any reasonable person, with experience, wonder what tape might be doing on a conductor even if it were to be coming off? Kind of like when it was understood that a white to a breaker was being used as a hot in a 240 volt circuit.
    By your own statement, take that forward in time, and now the tape is ... guess what - no longer there, it came loose (as you said) and it fell off, as we have all seen, leaving the conductor no longer identified.

    See, it is not just that the tape will come loose, it is that the loose tape will fall off ... but I guess you cannot think that far out into what logically happens next.

    Jim. for a while there you were actually posting useful information, and then you stopped ... and now you are only posting things not thought out to try to catch me on something. I do find it nice that you think that much of me to feel the need to try to shoot what I say down, but your posts should at least be thought out fully so they are not so easy to dump on.

    Make yourself useful and comment on this post: http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...-verbiage.html

    Use what knowledge you have (it is apparent that Bill knows a lot, not so apparent with you) and put it to good use for all.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Would you please explain how you contorted that into a 110.12(B) violation? I was stated that paint can be removed and was not necessararily permanent. I did not say that it was ok to spray the entire panel with Goof-Off.

    Yes, I did say that tape could come loose. I did not say it fell off. Based on the methods I have seen used I doubt that several spiral wraps or even non-spiral wraps could fall off.

    You seem to be the one that cannot accept that the only enforceable standard is what is written. Sure you can raise all the imagined defects as a point in your reports. Go ahead, it continues to perpetuate the stigma that HI's don't have the required knowledge to distinguish Code compliant from a fantasy world where everything could have or should have been different given unlimited time and/or money.

    You have stated numerous times about exceeding the standards. Lets extend this to cars. As long as the vehicle meets the NHSTA standards it is legal to operate on the road. Just because Car A only has 2 airbags and Car B has 12 airbags and rollover protection and any other safety equipment does not mean that Car A does not meet the requirements. Could Car A have those items? Yes, does that make it a defect because it doesn't?

    Are you saying that because Singapore has canings for vandelism that those same standards are enforceable here? Like it or not you can't enforce those either.

    Do you not call a physician that scored a 70% the same thing as one that scored a perfect score? Aren't they both called Doctor? Can you make the doctor go back and retest until they score higher than the standard?


  24. #24
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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Heck, is heat shrink permanent? No, it can be removed with a razor knife. Is paint permanent, no. There are products like Goof-Off that will remove dried paint. In fact dried paint can be scraped off a conductor with a fingernail.

    After all these thousand of years we still have not gotten stupid out of the gene pool.
    First to address that last part - you are correct and living proof that you are correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Would you please explain how you contorted that into a 110.12(B) violation? I was stated that paint can be removed and was not necessararily permanent. I did not say that it was ok to spray the entire panel with Goof-Off.
    Jim stated: "No, it can be removed with a razor knife. Is paint permanent, no. There are products like Goof-Off that will remove dried paint."

    Jim asked: "Would you please explain how you contorted that into a 110.12(B) violation?"

    Jim, you are showing your stupid part again ...

    - 110.12 Mechanical Execution of Work.
    - - (B) 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.

    Jim stated: "No, it can be removed with a razor knife. Is paint permanent, no. There are products like Goof-Off that will remove dried paint."

    Your "razor knife" will likely "damage" the insulation by nicking it.

    Your "Goof Off" is a "cleaner" whether or not it leaves behind a corrosive residue.

    Did you notice the really strange part in there? I'm waiting for you to point it out as though I have not seen it before. It's a conundrum if you will.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    More Peckisms, 110.12 doesn't say a cleaner can't be used, only that if used it cannot cause damage.

    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 refers to foreign materials like paint or plaster on the connections.

    There is no conundrum regarding the use of paint on a conductor insulation like you have tried to twist your logic around. Since the paint would not be on the connection it would be allowed. Spray paint all over the buss from having an uncovered panel during painting would be another issue.

    Missed the point again, but nice try.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: 14-3 (red wire on neutral bus bar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    More Peckisms, 110.12 doesn't say a cleaner can't be used, only that if used it cannot cause damage.

    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 refers to foreign materials like paint or plaster on the connections.

    There is no conundrum regarding the use of paint on a conductor insulation like you have tried to twist your logic around. Since the paint would not be on the connection it would be allowed. Spray paint all over the buss from having an uncovered panel during painting would be another issue.

    Missed the point again, but nice try.

    The man STILL cannot read what even he writes and posts.

    Anyone else see the words "insulators, and other surfaces" in there? That is not all and exclusively only about "the connection".

    Have you checked into the chemical compatibility of the paint and the insulation? What kind of paint? on what insulation? Paint can damage insulation, and that does not need to be visible mechanical damage, it can be chemically and dielectric damage.

    Show me "paint" which is approved for use on electrical insulation and I will you show you THE ONLY "paint" which is approved to be used on electrical insulation.

    That can of white RustoleumTM spray paint you bought at the Big Box store ... if you cannot show that it is approved for use on electrical insulation ... put it down, now, now back away - carefully, hands in the air ... you are not qualified to handle that stuff ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: 14-3 Gene pool member #1

    Quote Originally Posted by ben jacks View Post
    This is probably one of the most entertaining forums that keeps me coming back to see what happens next. This permanent wire tape thing has some merit in bringing out my past experience of coming up with different permanent wiring coatings for thermal protection and using a hot stamp machine to identify white insulation as white or other colors.

    The Kingsley hot stamp machine would permanently emboss the identification onto the outer conductor jacket with the word denoting 'white' as opposed to the other white wires denoting red, black etc. So there is another way of permanently identifying wire, not so easily, but is another option to consider.

    Should the insulation be black, the Kingsley has a roll of white to emboss on black to cover the skeptics of questioning what happens if the insulation be other than white. At this juncture please note that this may not be NEC code compliant due to degradation of the insulation dielectric integrity if the hot stamp heat range is set too high.

    I know there are moments where some see me as a space cadet gone wrong, but I like to help in every way possible I can on this classic discussion for home inspection of critical wiring options. rbj
    Ben,

    The problem with hot embossing conductor insulation are at least two-fold:
    - 1) that damages the insulation as you noted
    - 2) that does not meet the code requirements of "Identification shall encircle the insulation and shall be a color other than white, gray, or green." when reidentifying white conductors to a use other than that as grounded conductors

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