EGC color

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don_resqcapt19

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Illinois
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retired electrician
Re: EGC color

In my opinion, contrary to what most of us have been taught, the code does not restrict the use of green insulated wire to equipment grounding conductors only. It does, of course, require that insulated EGCs be green, but 250.119 does not restrict the use of green for other applications. The only place any type of restriction on the use of green comes into play is the application of 310.12(C). If you use green EGCs, then 310.12(C) prevents you from using green for ungrounded conductors.
This is all leading to the question about the color of the grounding electrode conductor. Many have said that this conductor can be any color except, green, white or gray. I don't find any rules in the code that say you can't use green for the grounding electrode conductor. I also don't find any rules that say you can't use the colors that are commonly used as ungrounded conductors, but I maintain that the color used for the grounding electrode conductor cannot be used as an ungrounded conductor within that same facility. This rule is found in 310.12(C).
As many of you know this is the subject of a thread on another forum, where a nationally recognized instructor maintains that you can't use green GECs and I say that you can. We have agreed to disagree for now, but he has not be able to quote any code sections where code words actually forbid the use of green for the GEC. He keeps citing 250.119, but I find no wording in that section that restricts green to equipment grounding only. If anyone can cite specific code language that says you green can only be used for EGCs, I'd like to see it.
Don
 

roger

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Fl
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Electrician
Re: EGC color

Don,
He keeps citing 250.119, but I find no wording in that section that restricts green to equipment grounding only. If anyone can cite specific code language that says you green can only be used for EGCs, I'd like to see it.
The wording doesn't exist

Roger
 

don_resqcapt19

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Location
Illinois
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retired electrician
Re: EGC color

Scott,
Why? Also if you use black for the GEC, do you also use it for ungrounded conductors in that building?
Don
 

tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
Re: EGC color

I agree with Don there is no restriction on the use of green for other uses. Sometimes I find we and I read something into the code that is not there. I remember using gray for a 277 V grounded conductor and read right over natural.

However, there are four answers to a code question (if I used green for a ungrounded conductor it would surely result in a violation):

4 Answers to a Code Question
1. Code Answer
2. AHJ Answer
3. Toms Answer
4. Truck Answer
 

bphgravity

Senior Member
Location
Florida
Re: EGC color

I think it is safe to say that is accepted in the electrical industry that green and bare is reserved for GEC and EGC, white and gray for grounded conductors, and all others (black, blue, red, brown, orange, yellow...) is for ungrounded conductors. Whether it is actually a requirement or not, this is the best and most used practice, however care needs to be taken when servicing existing installations. If this issue came to a lawsuit or insurance adjuster, they would eat us up and spit us out alive if hots were wired green and EGC's wired black. There are alot of things in the code that are allowed, doesn't mean they should be done.
 

don_resqcapt19

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Illinois
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retired electrician
Re: EGC color

I'm not trying to suggest that green be used as an ungrounded conductor, as that would create some serious safety issues, but I think that it can and should be used for the grounding electrode conductor. If you use any other color for the GEC, then you are not permitted to use that color as an ungrounded conductor in that facility.
Where did he idea that you can't use green foe a grounding electrode conductor come from?

Tom,
I always thought there were only 2 code answers
1) one used on contract jobs
2) one used on time and material jobs.
Don
 

mvannevel

Senior Member
Re: EGC color

310-12(c)-1999 NEC- "Ungrounded conductors shall be distinguished by colors "other than white, natural gray, or green". Don't have my 2002 code book handy since we're still using the '99. Is this still in the code language for '02?

[ March 11, 2003, 08:52 AM: Message edited by: mvannevel ]
 

david luchini

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Location
Connecticut
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Engineer
Re: EGC color

Don,
Thanks for pointing out an interesting change between the 1999 and the 2002 code. 310-12(c)-1999 states that "Ungrounded conductors shall be distinguished by colors other than white, natural gray or green;" which I read as green cannot be used for an ungrounded conductor whether it is used for the EGC or not.

That wording was removed from the 310-12(c)-2002, meaning that green would now be allowed for an ungrounded conductor if green is not being for the EGC, as you pointed out earlier. I wonder what was behind this change?

Dave
 

bphgravity

Senior Member
Location
Florida
Re: EGC color

Could there be a possible reason that you would want to distinguish your EGC's from GEC's. Since 250.119 says EGC's must be green or bare, does that imply that the GEC's should be different?
 

don_resqcapt19

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Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
Re: EGC color

2002 code section 310.12(C)
(C) Ungrounded Conductors. Conductors that are intended for use as ungrounded conductors, whether used as a single conductor or in multiconductor cables, shall be finished to be clearly distinguishable from grounded and grounding conductors. Distinguishing markings shall not conflict in any manner with the surface markings required by 310.11(B)(1).
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
Re: EGC color

Does anyone know why they made the change? :confused:

Does it have to do with the NEC becoming an "International Code Book"?
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
Re: EGC color

The wording change from 1999 to 2002 was the result of proposal 6-35. This proposal only asked that the words "natural gray" be deleted, but the panel accepted in principle and deleted all of the color words, without any real substantiation.
You can view the propsoal and panel comment here. Scroll down to page 50 of 80.
Don
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
Re: EGC color

Even using the '99 wording, I see no code violation if the GEC is green. However, using the '99 wording, you could use black for both the grounding electrode conductor and an ungrounded conductor. Using the '02 wording, if you would use black for the GEC, then you cannot use black for a hot.
Don
 

bphgravity

Senior Member
Location
Florida
Re: EGC color

The only conclusion I have come to is: The more I learn the less I really know. Just when I thought I was at least competent with the NEC.....
 

mvannevel

Senior Member
Re: EGC color

This isn't the first instance where this has happened in the code, and I'm sure it won't be the last. The real key here, as I see it, is to let "common sense" prevail. In the past, green has not been a choice for an ungrounded conductor, and regardless of missing code language, that should remain the case. Unless an electrician wishes to provoke an inspector, or an inspector wants to provoke an electrician, this should be a non-issue. Way back when I was learning the trade I was taught grounds were bare or green. This meant EGC's as well as GEC's. What needs to follow here is not further discussion of whether or not to use green, but a discussion of how to limit errors and omissions like this from the code. This clearly wasn't the intent of the change, but it happened. Now we need to figure out (a)How to fix it, and (b)How do we keep it from happening again. Just my opinion.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
Re: EGC color

mv,
This meant EGC's as well as GEC's.
That is the whole point of this thread. A number of "code experts" have stated that you cannot use green for the GEC. I'm just trying to point out that, while the code does not give a specific color requiremen for GECs, it likewise does not prohibit the use of green for the GEC.
Yes, the code needs to be corrected so that green cannot be used as an ungrounded conductor. This may have to wait for the 2008 code as I don't find a proposal to make a change for the 2005 code.
Don
 
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