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Old 10-15-2016, 11:13 AM   #1
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Default Neutral req'd in switch box???

Admittedly, I know little about residential as we NEVER touch it.

Anyways, I was told by another electrician that a neutral is needed in the switch boxes when your installing 3-way switches in them! I never heard of this. Depending on how you route the cable, I thought a 14/3 NMD is ok for a 3-way switch, that is, two travelers and the remaining hot or light feed.

Is this true?
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:18 AM   #2
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Depending on the routing, it might not happen. Maybe this guys local county had amended rules?
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:47 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by power View Post
Admittedly, I know little about residential as we NEVER touch it.

Anyways, I was told by another electrician that a neutral is needed in the switch boxes when your installing 3-way switches in them! I never heard of this. Depending on how you route the cable, I thought a 14/3 NMD is ok for a 3-way switch, that is, two travelers and the remaining hot or light feed.

Is this true?

It is true in the USA but not sure about Canada.

I am moving this thread to the Canadian forum
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Old 10-15-2016, 01:11 PM   #4
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With all the smart switches / devices available, and the fact that adding a neutral after usually would be painful, it's not a bad idea anyway.
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Old 10-15-2016, 01:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dennis Alwon View Post
It is true in the USA but not sure about Canada.

I am moving this thread to the Canadian forum
Chicago
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Old 10-15-2016, 01:32 PM   #6
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We should have a Hawaii Forum since we gave Canada one. That way I can start threads about having neutrals in switch boxes, and then answer myself with a post reply that hell no, as the most modern place in the world , we rely on the 2008 Nec and there is no reason to have any neutrals in switch boxes, and to hell with alarm installers. 2008 Rocks.
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Old 10-15-2016, 01:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by power View Post
Admittedly, I know little about residential as we NEVER touch it.

Anyways, I was told by another electrician that a neutral is needed in the switch boxes when your installing 3-way switches in them! I never heard of this. Depending on how you route the cable, I thought a 14/3 NMD is ok for a 3-way switch, that is, two travelers and the remaining hot or light feed.

Is this true?
Tell him to look it up in his code book. It's in Section 13.
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Old 10-15-2016, 02:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splatz View Post
With all the smart switches / devices available, and the fact that adding a neutral after usually would be painful, it's not a bad idea anyway.
Not required in Canada under the CEC, but your local bylaws may.

As mentioned above, not a bad idea, if you consider the new products available.

On a safety note, some devices use the bond wire as the neutral. Not accepted practice by me. US, maybe! 😜

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Old 10-15-2016, 04:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splatz View Post
With all the smart switches / devices available, and the fact that adding a neutral after usually would be painful, it's not a bad idea anyway.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Borgi View Post
Not required in Canada under the CEC, but your local bylaws may.

As mentioned above, not a bad idea, if you consider the new products available.

On a safety note, some devices use the bond wire as the neutral. Not accepted practice by me. US, maybe! 😜

Borgi
About the time 2012 edition came out, there were rumors that a neutral would be required in all switch boxes.
The majority of motion sensors and timers needed a neutral. The electronic low voltage dimmers also, and still require a neutral. There is a wide selection of motions and timers now, which rely on the ground.
I agree with Borgi, using the ground is bogus.
I've made it a habit to install a neutral in all switch boxes, including the commercial 347v.
Saves grief later when the customer later on, wants motion sensors or a device which requires a neutral. (Then I can charge, for adding the neutral, on the CO )
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Old 10-15-2016, 05:25 PM   #10
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We should have a Hawaii Forum since we gave Canada one. That way I can start threads about having neutrals in switch boxes, and then answer myself with a post reply that hell no, as the most modern place in the world , we rely on the 2008 Nec and there is no reason to have any neutrals in switch boxes, and to hell with alarm installers. 2008 Rocks.
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Old 10-15-2016, 07:29 PM   #11
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splatz and Borgi: I think you guys are totally right! If it isn't required now, it would be a good idea. I suspect some people are just grounding the neutral (from the device) if they don't have one in the switch box.
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Old 10-15-2016, 07:39 PM   #12
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No requirement for neutral in a switch box. This applies regardless of
res or commercial and also single pole or SPDT (3-way) or for that matter,
DPDT (4-way).
The arguments for running a neutral where it isn't needed seem weak to me.
I doubt anyone has opened any of the hundreds of switches I've done this way
looking for a neutral.
YMMV
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Old 10-15-2016, 07:52 PM   #13
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Dennis where is it required?
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Old 10-15-2016, 08:22 PM   #14
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As stated above not required by code, but my general practice in commercial is to rough in all single switches with 3 wire to accessible ceiling. It has saved me more than once, and worst case scenario you have one spare wire a few feet long. In my mind that's well worth saving the headache later on if it's needed.

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Old 10-15-2016, 09:33 PM   #15
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As stated above not required by code, but my general practice in commercial is to rough in all single switches with 3 wire to accessible ceiling. It has saved me more than once, and worst case scenario you have one spare wire a few feet long. In my mind that's well worth saving the headache later on if it's needed.

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Dennis said it was true to the op. That's why I asked for clarification.
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:43 PM   #16
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it is in the nec, cant think of the # at the moment. i think it started with the 2014. i wont be here long, this sight is moving so slow im falling asleep!
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:56 PM   #17
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Goto bed old man!
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Old 10-16-2016, 12:02 AM   #18
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old man? why if was as old as i feel id be almost dead! oh, wait, i am
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Old 10-16-2016, 08:15 AM   #19
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For commercial, I install deep 4x4's with a plaster ring. Run 3/4 conduit from the box up above the ceiling tiles and install another box. That way you can push whatever wires you need in the conduit when the designer finally decides on a type of dimmer, low voltage, motion whatever.
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:15 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borgi View Post
Not required in Canada under the CEC, but your local bylaws may.

As mentioned above, not a bad idea, if you consider the new products available.

On a safety note, some devices use the bond wire as the neutral. Not accepted practice by me. US, maybe! 😜

Borgi
The low amount of current drawn by a typical dimmer, etc. through the bond is of no concern. Try putting a motion sensor on a ground fault protected circuit, though. Then you have a problem .
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