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Old 06-05-2012, 03:32 PM   #1
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Wrapping tape around nuts, switches and receptacles


I know it is not required to wrap tape around wire nuts, switches and receptacles.

I know many wrap tape onto wire nuts. I personally don't do that, but I have seen many that do.

However I do wrap tape around receptacles and switches. Most of the people down here in South Florida do, the explanation I got was to minimize shorts, where pulling or tucking at wires can accidentally hit the screws off to the side. If it's backwire and the copper is concealed completely I don't bother.

However, on a switch, the green ground screw is usually in the way of the tape. So I found myself bending the screw away, then wrap the tape around the switches, then bend it back to the original position. Today just bending it back and forth like that once broke off the metal tab where the green screw is screwed on to.

How do you guys do it?

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Old 06-05-2012, 03:53 PM   #2
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Wrapping tape around nuts, switches and receptacles


I tape all connections but then I am a novice. I was told in a worst case if a wire falls out of the nut at least it might be held from shorting by the tape. I also tape switches, receptacles, etc but never bend anything

Related, I dont pre twist wire before wire nutting, not because that is what the instructions say, but because I suck at pretwisting (except for ground wires which for some unknown reason I can twist to a professional quality)

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Old 06-05-2012, 04:27 PM   #3
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Wrapping tape around nuts, switches and receptacles


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I know it is not required to wrap tape around wire nuts, switches and receptacles.

However, on a switch, the green ground screw is usually in the way of the tape. So I found myself bending the screw away, then wrap the tape around the switches, then bend it back to the original position. Today just bending it back and forth like that once broke off the metal tab where the green screw is screwed on to.
You just described one of the pitfalls of wrapping tape around switches and receptacles. Most electricians do not use tape here.

All the wires in the box should be pushed in far enough that nothing touches the screws on the side of the switch or receptacle and you would not need tape.

Yes it is tricky pretwisting wires enough that you can snip off the excess to let the wire nut screw on far enough and not have bare wire exposed. A little more brute strength may help here. (Do not use brute strength screwing on the wire nut.)
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Last edited by AllanJ; 06-05-2012 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:09 PM   #4
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Wrapping tape around nuts, switches and receptacles


No tape here!!
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:37 PM   #5
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Wrapping tape around nuts, switches and receptacles


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All the wires in the box should be pushed in far enough that nothing touches the screws on the side of the switch or receptacle and you would not need tape.
This must be a practice that vary by location or something because almost all electricians I have met down here in Miami seem to tape every device they wire.

I also had another thread about those metal knockout seals and again most I have met would fold the tabs back.

I spoke to the electrician that I hired for a previous job this morning and this was his explanation...he said he can only speak for his own work, but he cannot predict nor assume how others do their work, so he tries to be a bit redundant for the peace of mind. For example he said if he is hired to change out a switch or add a light to a fan or whatever small project, he removes a wall plate, and ease out the existing switch or whatever, he is looking at bunch of wires tangled up done by someone else 20 years ago. If he were to remove the wire to that switch and pull on the wire a little, he does not want this tension to cause a wire to be disengaged in a box ten feet away that he can't see and won't open. With the tape it may be pulled off but won't result in touching a metal screw of another switch. He said this could also happen when you pull a new wire and use fish tape that end up tugging at other wires. The same reason he said he folds back all the tabs on the knockout seal, didn't want any wires to be caught in between those tabs.

To me it seems to make sense to do the extra step even if it's not needed. I am just wondering what the best way of doing it is.

Last edited by miamicuse; 06-05-2012 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:16 PM   #6
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Wrapping tape around nuts, switches and receptacles


If people need tape to make sure things don't short out....they are doing it wrong.......
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:14 PM   #7
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Wrapping tape around nuts, switches and receptacles


Taping is for amatures... and when installed in metal oldwork boxes....
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:19 PM   #8
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Wrapping tape around nuts, switches and receptacles


I only tape switches/outlets when the box they are installed into are metal and held by madison straps (f-clips, steamboats, hold-its)
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:22 PM   #9
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I only tape switches/outlets when the box they are installed into are metal and held by madison straps (f-clips, steamboats, hold-its)
True dat...
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:37 PM   #10
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Wrapping tape around nuts, switches and receptacles


okay, i obviously look like the idiot on this one. the funny thing is i did about 25% of my project without taping, then got advice from a relative who is a general contractor, "your taping your connections, arent you?!" so i went back and added tape!
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:45 PM   #11
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Wrapping tape around nuts, switches and receptacles


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I only tape switches/outlets when the box they are installed into are metal and held by madison straps (f-clips, steamboats, hold-its)
This brings up a good reason for using the plastic boxes......

I know the plastic vs metal box is a long and emotional one....but, plastic does have the advantage in this case....

Personally....I only use plastic in the wall. If the box is going to exposed....metal only....

One question....what is a "steamboat"?
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:46 PM   #12
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Wrapping tape around nuts, switches and receptacles


All the same name for the same product.

But if the wiring is done with MC, AC, BX, FMC, or metal conduit you need a metal box.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:50 PM   #13
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Wrapping tape around nuts, switches and receptacles


Steamboat, madison strap, battleship, all the same animal.

The power should be off when installing or removing devices from the box. No worry about shorting to the box. The OSHA allowance for working hot just cannot be met for many cases, especially DIY work.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:58 PM   #14
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Wrapping tape around nuts, switches and receptacles


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All the same name for the same product.

But if the wiring is done with MC, AC, BX, FMC, or metal conduit you need a metal box.
Or you could just use a bonding bushing and meet code if you so desired to use a plastic box with the above listed wiring methods.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:03 PM   #15
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Wrapping tape around nuts, switches and receptacles


I have never seen it done that way, and I wonder what an inspector would say. I know what you are saying, but in reality, would it be allowed.

I guess the best argument the inspector would have is that the plastic box wasn't being used in the way it was intended if there were no knockouts in the box.

I love these technicalities.

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