The Complete Guide to Wiring, Updated 6th Edition: Current with 2014-2017 Electrical Codes - Black & Decker, Cool Springs Press (2014)

Introduction

Image

This newly updated, 6th edition of BLACK+DECKER Complete Guide to Wiring is the most comprehensive and current book on home wiring you’ll find anywhere. The information you’ll find within conforms to the 2014 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC) as published by its governing authority, the National Fire Prevention Association. Typically, most simple home wiring projects are unaffected by the changes to the NEC, which is updated every three years. But according to top-notch home inspector Bruce Barker, who helped us update this book for its 6th edition, there are four code alterations that may impact homeowners and their DIY wiring projects soon. Most local governing authorities use the NEC as the basis for their set of codes, although it usually takes a few years before the changes are adopted. And local codes always supersede any national codes.

Here are the changes most likely to affect your wiring project, based on the new 2014 edition of the NEC:

1. The available neutral at switch boxes. Some switch wiring methods require that the white wire be used (and labeled) as a hot wire. A single pole switch at the end of the circuit (a switch leg) is one example. Three-way and four-way switches are other examples.

New computer-controlled and timer switches need power to operate, which means that a neutral wire is required to complete the electrical circuit. To allow easier installation of these new switches, the new NEC requires an available neutral wire in many switch boxes. In most cases, you will just cap the neutral wire and leave it, looking a bit lonely, in the switch box. To provide this neutral wire, you’ll need another wire. You may need to substitute 3-wire cable where you formerly used 2-wire cable, or you may need to substitute 2 runs of 2-wire cable where you formerly used 3-wire cable. Our new wiring diagrams will show you how to do this. When it goes into effect, this change will apply only to new construction and expanded circuits.

2. AFCI protection for most circuits. Changes to the NEC earlier this century mandated AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) protection on all bedroom circuits. The new NEC expands this requirement to include most 15 and 20 amp, 120 volt, receptacle and lighting circuits. Exceptions include the kitchen and bathroom receptacle circuits and the garage and exterior receptacle circuits. AFCI circuit breakers are required in most cases. AFCI receptacles are available and may be allowed when it is impractical to install AFCI circuit breakers.

Adding an AFCI device may not be as easy as installing it. Some AFCI devices may not be compatible with shared neutral (multi-wire) branch circuits. Some AFCI devices may not be compatible with dimmers, especially solid-state dimmers. You may want to have an electrician help you when you install AFCI devices.

3. Garage receptacles may not feed other outlets. You may no longer tie into a receptacle in your garage to power anything outside of the garage, such as an outdoor security light. Also, you must provide a receptacle for every parking spot in the garage.

4. AFCI and GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) protection for new receptacles. When that old receptacle blows you may not replace it with a standard duplex receptacle, even if that’s what you had before. If codes require AFCI or GFCI protection for the affected receptacle you need to provide it.