White conductors ok here?

This isn’t my picture but it was being discussed elsewhere. No one commented on the white conductors not being reidentified as energized conductors. I just finished my classes and I thought that I saw this several times as being incorrect.

Would someone be so kind as to educate me?

On the breakers, they need to be marked with black tape, black marker, or such, Josh.


Thanks! That makes me feel pretty confident about what I’ve learned. It is pretty neat to call something out that others see as fine and actually be right as a newbie.

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It became a requirement later. Part of dumbing down the code for those that didn’t understand it was a hot.

Not to be confused with the White wire that is incorporated on a GFCI breaker!!

Yup, if you don’t know why there is a white conductor from a cable on the circuit breaker you shouldn’t be in the panel in the first place. :smirk:

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I’m sorry, what is the reason for a neutral to be on this particular breaker (the picture that I posted)? If it is energized and not marked at both ends as re-purposed, is it not a safety concern?

If John Doe downstream sees a white conductor hanging there because Jane Doe took something apart and didn’t bother to secure them, how is John supposed to know that the white wire is energized?

Perhaps I am missing something.

That’s the reason why it gets re-identified as an ungrounded conductor to protect those who shouldn’t be working on it in the first place. But hey if it saves one life it’s worth it.

It is not a neutral. I agree with Robert. This should have been in any of the training courses.

No, but it should be labeled as such. Is that not correct? I -just- watched the training video the other day about running whites to breakers without labeling them as being repurposed.

Gerald, did you notice the black wire in the neutral bus?

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Yep! I was just focused on the breaker, however, since I was hearing conflicting information. :slight_smile:

In the original post that was called out. They stated that the white conductor in the breaker was fine, however, which is against what I learned. According to the education, it should be called out by being marked in some way Technically, it should be repurposed on both ends but that goes a bit beyond the scope.

However, even people here are saying that it is fine so maybe I misunderstood the lesson.Then again, it looks like the people who are saying that it is fine are non-members so I’ll take it with a grain of salt.

It’s not fine, the NEC requires that it be re-identified as an ungrounded conductor. However it wasn’t always required, I think that is where the confusion comes from. For us old timers when we opened a panel and saw a white conductor landed on a CB we knew it was an ungrounded conductor, no remarking needed. About the last 6 editions of the NEC require that it be re-identified.

In addition to a white conductor that wasn’t marked for re-purposing, it looks like too much sheathing has been cut back as well.

For you folks stating that a white conductor on a breaker is fine…can you elaborate? I was under the impression that a white conductor repurposed as being energized needed to be marked with either black or red.

Assuming that it isn’t a neutral even though it is on a breaker is improper.

I can be marked with any color other than white or green. Black, Red, Blue, Brown, Orange, Yellow, Pink, Purple, etc. are all acceptable although I think that a purple conductor would really confuse people. :slightly_smiling_face:


Prior editions of the code did not require the reidentifaction of the white as a hot because it was known and understood. Within about the last 20 years it was added as a code requirement since people without the knowledge to be in a panel were thinking the white was a neutral. Older installations will still be found without being marked.

Neutrals are only connected to gfi or afci breakers if they are truly neutrals. A white on a 2 pole non gfi or afci breaker is a hot, whether marked or not.

BTW, the non-members are both professionals in the electrical industry.


I would follow that white wire back to the Romex bundle and see if the black wire from the neutral bar is reversed. I would recommend that the system be checked by a licensed electrician, immediately.

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It’s a 2 pole CB with both the white and black conductors from the cable landed on it.

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Why? Are you willing to pay them for their trouble?

My question was more about looking at the big picture. Maurice stated following the wire to see if if polarity was switched. It is possible. Others stated that NEC codes have changed several times. It could be the type of breaker also. Fact is, a zoomed in picture doesn’t tell the whole story and there are more advanced classes from INTERNACHI that get into more detail about different situations. Whether this particular situation is correct or not depends on the variables. Don’t stress about it too much :wink:. I have to admit electrical isn’t my strength but without seeing the whole picture, it can be confusing. The sparkies on here have the experience, try to learn from them. Take a day away from your post and come back to it with a fresh outlook and maybe all of it will make more sense.