Taping the switch leg

Exevez

Member
Location
Mesa, Arizona
Occupation
Commercial Electrician
Is there any code that says I have to identify the switch leg when it is the same color wire as the constant hot?
So I'm on a big job right now and I was put on lead for wire pulling for a few buildings. Every classroom has the same layout for the lights. Two switch legs and an emergency light by the front door. Since theirs only one em light per room I pushed the constant hot through all the other boxes (2 or 3 boxes) without any loop. The switching for the rooms lights is the same everywhere aswell. The a switch leg is in the row behind the em light and the b switch leg goes to every other light in the room. So I'll admit what I did, I did out of laziness. When pushing the wire. I didn't go to every box. In fact I put my ladder at the box for the emergency light and maybe 2 more boxes per room. I also didn't tape my switch legs. I did tape it in the em box which is the only box that has more than three wires hanging out of it. Every box aside from the home run and the em just has the switch, neutral, and ground. So the guy putting in the lights is the kind of guy who likes to put other people's work down in order to make his work look better and he went crying to foreman about me not taping my switch leg. This ended in a shouting match and my foreman telling me to check the code for identifying wires. I see alot of stuff about identifying when you're using a different color wire but what about in my situation? Inevitably I told my field super why the guy was nitpicking my work. Told him, if he was so upset about the switch leg not having tape he could have put tape on it as he put in the lights and not said anything, just done his job. But he wanted to make a big deal put of it and give himself a reason to take three weeks doing nothing. Sorry I rambled. Got excited for a second lol.
 

mkgrady

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
Are these wires installed in cable or conduit? If cable and you are making the white wire hot then you need to identify it. I am exempt from that requirement because my state code does not require it. If you are pulling wire through conduit then you would not be using a white wire in a switch leg.
 

Exevez

Member
Location
Mesa, Arizona
Occupation
Commercial Electrician
Conduit and yes I used the same color wire for the switch as the constant hot. But again, in every box other than the emergency light their is only the switch leg, neutral, and ground. The only box that has four wires, so the only box with the potential to be made up incorrectly, is the emergency light.
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
There is no code requiring a switchleg to be a different color than the phase or leg feeding it. The person claiming this needs to do his/her homework and show you the article section.

Roger
 

Exevez

Member
Location
Mesa, Arizona
Occupation
Commercial Electrician
I thought not, So their is no code that requires me to identify, by taping or marking, the switch leg when it is the same color as the constant hot?
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
I thought not, So their is no code that requires me to identify, by taping or marking, the switch leg when it is the same color as the constant hot?
As far as the NEC is concerned there is no requirement, local codes may be different but I would want to see it.

Roger
 

augie47

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee
Occupation
State Electrical Inspector (Retired)
I may be mistaken but I don't think general purpose switches are marked line and load and although practice is "line" on top I don't know that it's a requirement. That said (if it's correct) it really makes no difference Code-wise... just connect the two wires to the switch,:)
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
There is no code requiring a switchleg to be a different color than the phase or leg feeding it. The person claiming this needs to do his/her homework and show you the article section.

Roger
I agree, another electrical myth without any basis in truth. Years ago when I was an apprentice the spec called for only purple switch legs but that was not a code requirement.
 

Little Bill

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee NEC:2017
Occupation
Electrician
Sounds like the guy(s) saying to tape/identify the wires are confusing having to reidentify a white conductor if used on a switch. But again, if there is conduit, no need to run a white wire to start with!
 

Exevez

Member
Location
Mesa, Arizona
Occupation
Commercial Electrician
Theirs a power pack, that generates the switch legs, that gets attached to the box for the em light. So the only place I needed to identify is their. Dude was just trying to make excuses for why he is milking the job. I was just trying to verify that this is preference issue and not code. Dude was ballsy when he told me to check the code book and he is older than me so I wanted to verify before I told him where he could shove it.
 

Exevez

Member
Location
Mesa, Arizona
Occupation
Commercial Electrician
I may be mistaken but I don't think general purpose switches are marked line and load and although practice is "line" on top I don't know that it's a requirement. That said (if it's correct) it really makes no difference Code-wise... just connect the two wires to the switch,:)
No but we don't use line voltage switches for anything practically. Building schools everything but the janitors closet and the electric room are catv switches. Some jobs we do the catv some jobs it gets subbed out
 

Bluegrass Boy

Senior Member
Location
Texas
Occupation
Commercial/ Industrial/ Maintenance Electrician
I’ve done all commercial and industrial. We typically would use a different color for switch legs, and in your example, the wire for the em light would have the wire numbers added, no numbers on switch leg.

I even remember a situation where there were multiple switch legs and constant hots, and black tape was put on with wire numbers on the black tape to save from confusion. We always wrote on the cover plate with permanent marker all pertinent information.
I have always done my work with the thought in mind, if I personally am the one that has to come back and access any j-box , or any part that needs to be accessible, how would it need to be set up for ease of access?
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
We typically would use a different color for switch legs, and in your example, the wire for the em light would have the wire numbers added, no numbers on switch leg.
We do the same, label just the hot leg with the circuit number at the switch.
 

Frank DuVal

Senior Member
Location
Fredericksburg, VA 21 Hours from Winged Horses wi
Occupation
Electrical Contractor, Electrical Engineer
I may be mistaken but I don't think general purpose switches are marked line and load and although practice is "line" on top
Nope, the bottom screw is hot in my installations! ;)

Why? Because the electrons are feeding up to the lights, so the top screw is switched!:LOL: Not really, just the way I've been doing it for over 40 years...
 
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