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Cable Types for Home Electrical Wiring

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Select the Right Cable for Home Electrical Wiring Projects. This color standard affects the outside sheath colors, not the individual insulated wire conductors. The NMB cable comes with a ground wire as well.

Home Electrical Wire and Cable

Question: I noticed that 12-2 NMB now has yellow sheathing. I have some older 12-2 NMB that has white sheathing. Can I use the white in new construction or do I have to use the yellow?

This electrical question came from: Keith, a Contractor from Port Townsend WA.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Keith.

Selecting the Right Cable for Home Electrical Wiring

Electrical Code Updates for NMB Type Cable

The Standard Types of Home Electrical Cables
Keith, a standard for identifying which wire size or gauge of electrical cable that is used for house wiring has been adopted for the Romex type NMB Cable. Your local building authority may not allow you to install cable that does not conform to the new standard, however you may want to ask them directly since they will be inspecting your wiring project.

The Standard Cable Colors for Copper NMB Home Electrical Cables

  • White – #14 AWG.
  • Yellow – #12 AWG.
  • Orange – #10 AWG.
    • This color standard affects the outside sheath colors, not the individual insulated wire conductors. The NMB cable comes with a ground wire as well.

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2 Responses to “Cable Types for Home Electrical Wiring”
  1. Douglas says:

    Can I replace the 16/2 braided wire on a whole house fan motor with a 14/2 or 12/2 nm wire? The existing wire does not have a ground wire and the unit is all metal. Thanks!

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Douglas,
      As long as the wire size is the same or larger, 14/2 would be fine and easier to work with than 12/2.
      Attaching the ground wire to the metal frame or ground screw in the connection box if there is one available would be good.


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