I know that according to code and according to (most) manufacturer
instructions there is no need to wrap the terminals of switches or
outlets with electrical tape or to reinforce wiring nuts with tape.
On the other hand, if you have the time, is it still a good idea from
a safety and belt-and-suspenders perspective to apply a layer of tape?
[It seems to me that adding tape to outlets/switches just minimizes the
risk that the terminals will rub up against something metal (or skin)
while taping over wiring nuts just decreases the risk that they will
pull off if you get to agressive in pushing or pulling the wires into
Personally I hate electrical tape....Electrical connections exhibit heat and
tape peels off when heated....so much for my rant! I'm sure some of the
electricians on this NG are going to let me have it with that
comment....ready for a whippin'....Ross
You're right; in my experience, the tape doesn't peel; instead,
it sort of gels itself into and around whatever it's wrapped
around. It sounds like you use soft rubber tape that can be
stretched and that you stretch it to near it's limit as you apply
it. Which, by the way, can also LOOSEN a wire nut, depending on
the wrap direction of the tape.
One should not be so p-h-i-l-o-p-o-L-e-m-i-c
Trust me...30 years in the electronic biz, I know how to use tape but just
don't. I always prefered shrink tube....Whether the tape is vinyl or cloth,
it peels under heat, gums everything up......so much for my rant!...Ross
There are 2 types of electrical tape. The cheapo 49 cent stuff is
dangerous because it can burst into flames. Professional grade tape
like Scotch 33 is fire retardant.
There is a time and a place for electrical tape. A large device in a
small metal box sometimes needs to be wrapped to prevent accidental
contact between the terminal screw and the side of the box.
Mr Fixit eh
replying to Mr Fixit eh, Hank Jochade wrote:
Exactly what happened to me - the GFCI is so wide, one of the "Load" side screws
was touching the metal box - I did not see that - HOWEVER, after 40 years of
electrical installations, I still don't wrap the device - Making sure the
screws don't touch the side, I tighten it enough so it won't move.
I wouldn't wrap the wire-nuts no matter how much free time I had.
Wrapping sockets might not be a bad idea. Tenants, etc break plastic outlet
covers from time to time and a wrapped socket is slightly harder to
electrocute yourself with.
Hope this helps,
It also helps a little when the screws should loosen up and let
the fixture slip sideways or tild in the box. I've seen wires
bent and strips long enough that the wires can actually touch the
box if it slips sideways just a bit. There isn't a lot of room
on the sides sometimes, depending on the switch type and mfg and
box size. Especially GFCI's when they first came out.
I like taping terminal screws on recepts and switches, but not wire
nuts. I've talked to inspectors, one said he sees tape on a wire nut,
he can't see if any exposed conductor, so he'll remove it to see.
Which will make him unhappy, and you want an unhappy inspector.
tom @ www.ChopURL.com
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