I recently bought a roll of the old "White" 12-2 w/ground romex at an
auction. The price was right and electrically the color dont matter.
The stuff is new and in excellent condition.
I dont recall when the change occurred which made 12-2 romex yellow, but
I believe it was near the end of the 1990's. Therefore this roll of
"white" must be at least 12 years old.
Considering that I'm using it in a farm shed which will not require
inspection, I'm not worried about the code. However, I'm curious if
this stuff would still be legal to use in a new installation for
residential work which would be inspected? I know there's probably
still a fair amount of this stuff around. Does anyone know what the
code says about this?
Yea, the thought has occurred to take a yellow permanent marker and at
least color the ends!!!!
By the way, when are they going to come out with designer colors on
romex? I'd like some dark brown to match my walnut paneling, some red
for the trim around the fireplace, and some light violet for the
bathroom. And what about those blue plastic boxes. I want my choice of
designer colors too. That dark blue dont match anything in the
house.......... (just kidding).
Speaking about designer colors, I just bought my first bag of matching
yellow romex staples. Until now, they were always white. This ought to
make this a much better world, except now I cant use the same ones on
white 14-2 romex, and wil have to buy a bag of white ones even if they
are the exact same size....... :)
The colour coding is voluntary and there is therefore "NO official
standard". It started about 2001
GENERALLY white is 14 guage, for 15 amp circuits. Yellow is GENERALLY
#12 for 20 amp circuits, Orange is GENERALLY #10, for 30 amp circuits,
Black is USUALLY either #6 or #8 - stove or drier cable, or feeding
sub panels - 40 or 60 amp.
GREY sheath can be any size and generally indicated NMW rather than
NMD (weatherproof or special app)
Because it is a "voluntary standard" it is NOT addressed by most
(possibly not any) code.
On 7/21/2012 11:04 PM, email@example.com wrote:
They started color coding the sheath the same time they changed to 90C
rated insulation on the conductors which changed the cable designation
from NM to NM-B . As you stated color coding is not a code requirement.
Thanks to all who replied. I did not know it was voluntary. It is a
good idea though, since the labelling was often hard to read.
The newer stuff is easy to rip open. The older white 12-2 or 14-2 was
harder but not much harder. However, I recall using some old UF
(underground) cable which was white. That stuff was a nightmare to
strip. The jacket was molded right to the black and white wires, and
the bare ground was in a ridge in the center and was molded right to it.
I remember spending 20 minutes hacking away little chunks at a time, and
and trying to expose the black / white wires without cutting it down to
bare wire. I normally left the jacket insulation on the bare wire
except at the tip. Damn I hated that stuff. The modern gray UF is
still harder to strip than standard romex, but at least it separates
from the insulated and bare wires without having to literally scrape it
On 7/21/2012 2:49 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I don't see where it would make any difference. Even when the newer NM
cable was made with conductors rated higher than 60 degrees, the NEC
only allowed the higher ampacity ratings to be used for de-rating
purposes, so all NM regardless of conductor type has to be used at the
60 degree ampacity rating
On Sun, 22 Jul 2012 15:05:00 -0400, email@example.com wrote:
The irony of this is that about the time they finally have required 90C
cable, most light fixtures now use CFL bulbs, which operate very cool
compared to the incandescent bulbs.
I've seen many boxes where the old cloth covered cable, and even some of
the newer cable was all bare wires because the old fixtures literally
baked the wires because they did not allow the heat to exit the fixture.
As our lighting changes to more energy efficient (and cooler) bulbs, I
suppose there will be more changes in wiring. Yet, some people will
still run "Hot" bulbs such as incandescents, and halogens are even
hotter. Then too, people dont always follow instructions. Just because
a fixture says 60W (or smaller) bulbs ONLY does not mean they will
follow it, particularly when all they have on hand is a 100W bulb. Not
to mention many people dont read. Just like the old plug fuses. It was
more common than not, to replace a blown 15A or 20A fuse with a 30A. If
they had made 100A fuses that fit the socket, they would have used them.
Sometimes I think the electrical code is too strict and sometimes even
rediculous, but I guess they have to be in order to protect us from
idiot people who cant or wont follow instructions, or who just dont know
Good comments. GFCI and AFCI devices can keep people from electrocuting
themselves and starting fires from poor wiring practices and faulty
connections; but something bad will eventually happen when a high-wattage
bulb is put into a socket rated for somthing less. It's unfortunate that
the only safety "enforcement" is often a printed sticker on the light
fixture that discolors or falls off rather than a physical barrier such as a
socket designed such that the wrong bulb won't even go into the socket.
Much of the blame belongs to the industry which has done little to nothing
to educate consumers about lighting and electrical matters for years.
There's more general information now because of the bulb phase-out, but
still very little about safety.
Agreed, but there are places where this is not the case. For example,
if you can still get a 200 or 300W incandescent bulb, you can still
screw it into a fixture rated at 60W max. Using a 100W is likely within
the safety margin, but not a 200W or larger. And now they have those
halogen bulbs which run hotter..... That could be a fire hazzard even
if a 60W was used.
I bet they still do, just not as much, due to breakers. A local auto
service center still has an old fuse box with plug fuses. They never
close the cover on this panel, and I noticed that all the fuses are
green (30A). If I was into betting, I'd bet that they are all feeding
#14 or #12 wire. I know that if I said anything about it, I'd be told
that it's been that way for the past 50 years and has not caused a
Back when I was a maintenance man for a rental company, who owned about
70 homes, I often had to repair electrical problems. I always replaced
all the 30A fuses with the correct size. A year later, I'd come back to
that property and find all 30A fuses again. For awhile I began to
install the fusestat adaptors and fusestats. That solved the problem in
most cases, but then these places were having constant calls for power
outages, because the renters did not understand how to replace the
fusestat, and this was costing the owners of the rental company money,
which they did not want to spend. I tried to convince them to add
circuits to things like an air conditioner and kitchen appliances, and
did so in some of the worst of the houses, but the rental company didn't
want to spend the money. They had the same attitude..... "The 30A fuses
worked fine, just put them back".
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