I have 3 bundles of 3 12AWG THHN wires each:

  • black-white-green (red tape)
  • black-white-green (blue tape)
  • black-white-green (black tape)

These 3 bundles come out of the load center and into 1/2 EMT. So 9 wires total, 6 of them current-carrying. (With 6 CCCs, I derated them 80% from 30A and put them on 20A/15A breakers.)

At any rate, to avoid mixing up which neutral/ground goes with which hot, etc., at each junction box where two or more bundles exists, I have them bound together with colored electrical tape so as not to confuse myself or the person following behind me.

In the load center the bundles are marked with their color just as they go out into the conduit, then again at a junction box where they go their separate ways. Actually at any place where two or more bundles co-exist.

Is this going to trip out the person who follows me, or worse yet, be dangerously misleading?

2 Answers 2


It's mandatory

When putting identical-appearing circuits in a conduit, you must differentiate them somehow. It's mandatory.

I would not bundle them but mark them individually. Black(blue) and White(blue) for instance being the obvious pair. Bonus points: use a decent length (2") of shrinkwrap so the tape doesn't come off someday.

The reason I don't like bundling them is pulling. It will make pulling harder by making wires bind.

Get rid of those grounds

Grounds don't count against wire-size derate (on 10, 12, 14 AWG you are allowed 9 active conductors per conduit without worrying about derate). Having considered this math in every way possible on 120/240 split-phase, this means 4 circuits of any kind.

But they do count against conduit fill - in 1/2" EMT you are allowed 9 wires fullstop... and you are now full. Dump two of the grounds and you will be able to fit a fourth circuit. Use the 10-32 ground screws in the boxes to splice grounds.

EMT itself is a ground path. One ground in EMT is belt-and-suspenders. Three is inexperience. The only reason to pay the fill cost for that is if you were splitting the circuits into nonmetallic conduit downline, and the split point lacked any place to splice the grounds - I have had to do that.


What you have done is to try to organize and identify the cable line (circuit) of the wire. The problem with the tape that I see is that normally the conductor itself would be taped to indicate if that conductor (being white and had black tape) it would be considered a hot wire. There are special cable tags to do exactly the thing you have done.

Also your question really needs a couple qualifier's

1: What part of the world you are located in ?

2: Is this really a residential Home Improvement Question ?

Your use of the term Load Center is not a typical terminology for a residential home of a person in the United States - so that is the reason for question number 1 - code varies around the world .. Now the reason for question 2 is that in commercial applications Load Center is a common term used in factories with in the United States.

  • 2
    I am in North Texas ... and I think it is a home improvement question, as I am trying to do some wiring in a remote cabin, and do it safely and correctly. And by load center I mean the panel where the all the breakers are. Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 20:31
  • 1
    Load center is a North American term (one of too many), and homes do have conduit. AWG, THHN, EMT and the derates he mentioned scream "North America" (or rarely, Philippines). Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 21:07
  • @KerryThomas yes I knew you were referring to the service panel just nomenclature is not typical.
    – Ken
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 21:18

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