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Identifying Equipment Ground Conductors and the NEC

How to Identify Equipment Grounding Conductors as Required by the National Electrical Code

How to Identify Equipment Grounding Conductors
Electrical Question: Can I use green electrical tape at each end of a black #6 as a second ground to a cold water pipe for a 200 amp residential service? Or does the NEC say I could do that for a wire only larger than #6?

This electrical question came from: Steve, a Electrician from Georgetown IN

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

Identifying Equipment Grounding Conductors

The NEC rules for Equipment Grounding Conductors (EGC) are as follows:

250.119 Identification of Equipment Grounding Conductors.
Equipment grounding conductors shall be permitted to be bare, covered, or insulated. Individually covered or insulated equipment grounding conductors shall have a continuous outer finish that is either green or green with one or more yellow stripes except as permitted in this section. Conductors with insulation or individual covering that is green, green with one or more yellow stripes, or otherwise identified as permitted by this section shall not be used for ungrounded or grounded circuit conductors.
(A) Conductors Larger Than 6 AWG. Equipment grounding conductors larger than 6 AWG shall comply with 250.119(A)(1) and (A)(2).
(1) An insulated or covered conductor larger than 6 AWG shall be permitted, at the time of installation, to be permanently identified as an equipment grounding conductor at each end and at every point where the conductor is accessible.
Exception: Conductors larger than 6 AWG shall not be required to be marked in conduit bodies that contain no splices or unused hubs.
(2) Identification shall encircle the conductor and shall be accomplished by one of the following:
a. Stripping the insulation or covering from the entire exposed length
b. Coloring the exposed insulation or covering green
c. Marking the exposed insulation or covering with green tape or green adhesive labels

To summarize the NEC for Equipment Grounding

For conductors larger then #6 you can identify an EGC that is not green by painting or covering the exposed insulation green, removing the exposed insulation, or marking the insulation with green tape or labels. Note that the restriction of using white or gray for anything other than a grounded conductor still applies so you cannot re-identify a white or gray conductor for use as an EGC.

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2 Responses to “Identifying Equipment Ground Conductors and the NEC”
  1. corey says:

    Was the use of a black #6 conductor with green phase tape (equipment grounding conductor) ever permissable in past years? RE: article 250-119

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Corey,
      I would assume that it may not have been an acceptable practice, however some years ago I don’t recall solid green insulation, so phasing tape had to be used for open conductors. I do recall the practice where the insulated ground conductors had the insulation removed at the point where they entered the enclosure or cabinet.
      Dave

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