Can a white (or other color) wire be remarked to serve as a grounding conductor?


At the end of the day it's about safety. So it pays to account for the user's force-of-will. If a code violation of one type or another is inevitable, it is a matter of least harm.

My first read of "Continuous outer covering" was "more than the usual band of black tape you find on switch loops", e.g. covering the wire with many spiraling loops of electrical tape, paint, or shrink tubing, to the full length it is visible in a box or legal splicing point. With the notion that the mark survive the kind of manhandling that often removes that black band. That may not be what code means, but now, back to our end-user who is going to solve his problem by some code violation or another.

The rationale of code allowing exception for very heavy wire seems to be that very heavy wire is expensive. Well, if General Motors can't afford to replace a 0000ga. wire simply because it is not green, maybe Joe Poor can't afford to replace a...

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Yes. Where conductors are used at radio frequencies, a 'skin effect' is thought to take place, and often the conductors are plated with silver, which has a higher conducti

…vity than copper. Another more common example is in electronic plugs and sockets, where the pins are often plated with gold, so as to minimize contact resistance. Gold is unreactive, and this gold plating offers little hold for corrosion that would otherwise interfere with the passage of electrical signals. A third example would be in high voltage transmission lines, where a steel core is used for strength, and this is given a wrapping of aluminum sheathing. This is not true plating, but gives higher conductivity for a given span which would otherwise be limited by the breaking strain if aluminum alone....
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Green or bare wire is used for ground conductors in US, Canada and countries which use similar wiring codes for 60Hz power supplies. Green/yellow striped wire is

…used for ground conductors in Europe and other world areas which use similar wiring codes for 50Hz power supplies. IF YOU ARE NOT ALREADY SURE YOU CAN DO AN ELECTRICAL JOB SAFELY AND COMPETENTLY REFER THE WORK TO QUALIFIED PROFESSIONALS. If you do this work yourself, always turn off the power at the breaker box/fuse panel BEFORE you attempt to do any work AND always use an electrician's test meter having metal-tipped probes (not a simple proximity voltage indicator) to insure the circuit is, in fact, de-energized. ...
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Clarification of Definitions and Terminology


White wire that carries the unbalance load between two hot (ungrounded conductor) A neutral must be serving two ungrounded conductors (a.k.a. hot conductor) that read 240 volts between those two ungrounded (hot) conductors.

A Grounded Leg

White wire that serve only one ungrounded conductor (a.k.a. hot conductor)

A Switch Leg

Those ungrounded conductors (a.k.a. hot conductors) installed between the light box and any switch box.

Note: A switch leg does not contain a grounded leg (a.k.a. neutral) or true neutral conductor but contains only ungrounded (a.k.a. hot) conductors whether constant hot conductor feeding the switch power or intermittent hot conductor feeding the light from that switch.

Notice this switch leg is either an ungrounded conductor (a.k.a. hot conductor) or an intermittent ungrounded conductor (a.k.a. intermittent hot conductor) energized with power only...

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Q. What are the NEC rules for the identification of circuit conductors?

A. Grounded (neutral) conductors 6 AWG and smaller must be identified by one of the following means [200.6(A)]:

1) By a continuous white outer finish.

2) By a continuous gray outer finish.

3) By three continuous white stripes along its entire length on other than green insulation.

4) Wires that have their outer covering finished to show a white or gray color but have colored tracer threads in the braid identifying the source of manufacture are considered to meet the provisions of this section. The use of white tape, paint, or other methods of identification isn't permitted for grounded conductors 6 AWG or smaller.

6) A single-conductor, sunlight-resistant, outdoor-rated cable used as the grounded conductor in photovoltaic power systems as permitted by 690.31(B) can be identified by distinctive white marking at all terminations.


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NEC Wire Color Requirements for Traffic Signal and Street Lighting Applications

What Are the Specific Conductor Color Requirements Used for Traffic Signal and Roadway Lighting Applications in the NEC?

In Traffic Signal applications, a comment is often made that the wiring to the signal head is a code violation because the green conductor is used for the green display. What does the NEC have to say about this apparent violation? Another question that is frequently asked is “where are the requirements for phase colors such as Black-Red-White for 120/240 V single phase and Brown-Orange-Yellow-Gray for 277/480 V three phase?”

Authors Note: Proper terminology in the NEC is conductor, the commonly used term wire is not used in the NEC. Also, using No. or # to designate conductor size was changed in the 2002 to the correct industry term AWG. Please refer to the NEC for the complete text of the sections summarized here.

The NEC only requires a few specific colors for...

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Homes in North America are supplied with a 120/240V single-phase electrical service. The incoming 240V power is split onto two legs. Each leg can provide 120V hot-to-neutral, and the two legs together will supply 240V, which is used to supply heavy loads such as air conditioning compressors and cookstoves.

In every home, there are branch circuits that supply the lights, receptacles and built-in appliances with electricity. The wires, or conductors, in those circuits are classified based on wiring type, size and color, and it is the color of the wire’s insulation which designates the function of the wire. Understanding the information those colors convey helps you work with greater safety and ease when troubleshooting an electrical problem or making repairs or improvements to your electrical system. The connections should not be made haphazardly. In the United States, the color of the wire used must comply with the requirements of the National Electrical Code (NEC).


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Q: I’m replacing the heating element in my electric water heater. The wires running to the element are black and white, but the white wire is wrapped with red tape. I’m confused—I thought white was always considered a “neutral” wire. What do these electrical wire colors mean, and what would the red tape indicate?

A: You’re right, white sheathing does generally indicate a neutral wire, but it’s not always so simple to decipher. In this case, your water heater is probably wired with two-wire flexible armor-clad “BX” or “MC” cable—that’s a factory-made cable with a metal jacket protecting a black, white, and bare copper wire. The hot or “live” conductor sheathed in black typically carries power to a 110-volt light or receptacle, while a neutral conductor would carry energy away and a bare copper ground wire can conduct any excess energy that might otherwise be a shock or fire hazard. However, when sized appropriately for the load, two-wire armored...

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Electricity is one of the important types of energy and power that we use in our daily lives. It is an essential part of modern life and the economy of a country depends on it. We use electricity for residential, industrial, commercial, transport etc. The electric power that we use at our residence is generated at a distant power plant.

Actually, in order to use the electric power at our homes, three important process are involved. They are generation of electricity at power plants, transmission of the generated power through transmission lines and distribution at the residence and industries. Once it is distributed to our homes, we can use it to power up different appliances.

In order to use the electricity in our homes, a proper wiring is required. The collection of Electrical wiring and electrical devices like switches, sockets, meters and fittings is called Electrical Installation or Building Wiring. An electrical wire is a single solid or twisted Copper or...

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A non-double phase electricity service of 120/240V is made available to various homes in North America. The inbound power of 240V is divided into two branches. Either of the branch has the capability of providing 120V hot to neutral which makes it possible for the two branches to supply a combined power of 240V which is utilized for cook stoves and air conditioning compressors.

Each home has a circuit which is responsible for providing electricity for the lights, built-in appliances and receptacles. The circuits have wires and conductors which are grouped with respect to color, wiring type and size. The color of the wire’s insulation determines the work to be done by the wire. Proper knowledge of the message being communicated by these colors will greatly assist you in working safely and without stress whenever you are faced with the challenge of correcting an electrical fault or implementing enhancements or repairs in your electrical systems. You must also ensure that...

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Electrical wires are color coded according to an international standard which ensures that engineers and electricians can always quickly and easily identify the intended function of each wire in a circuit. Without this color coding it would be all too easy to make a mistake when changing a plug or re-wiring a circuit, and those mistakes could damage the electrical device, or potentially cause serious harm to the device’s user. Here is a quick overview of the colors used in electrical wiring, and what each color means.


Black wires should be considered “live”. Black represents power and it is never used for a neutral or ground wire. Black wires are often used to connect switches to their electrical supply.
Red wires are also used as live wires, primarily in 220 volt circuits. Red wires can be connected to other red wires and to black wires.

Unlike black wires and red wires, green wires are not live. Green represents...

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It wasn't trendy, funny, nor was it coined on Twitter, but we thought change told a real story about how our users defined 2010. Unlike in 2008, change was no longer a campaign slogan. But, the term still held a lot of weight. Here's an excerpt from our Word of the Year announcement in 2010:

The national debate can arguably be summarized by the question: In the past two years, has there been enough change? Has there been too much? Meanwhile, many Americans continue to face change in their homes, bank accounts and jobs. Only time will tell if the latest wave of change Americans voted for in the midterm elections will result in a negative or positive...

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