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I'm re-wiring parts of my house and have pulled some 12/2 out. Is it against NEC code to re-use that cable?

I didn't have to pull that hard to get the cable out and there doesn't appear to be any surface damage or major bends. The cable is twelve years old from the time the house was built.

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    I don't believe there is anything in the NEC that says the cable has to be new. – Tester101 Oct 13 '13 at 12:43
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    But after looking at the search 'NEC code wire reuse', I think the NEC code might require that the wire is up to code for use that you are installing it for. Same type of requirements as if the cable was new. I think that you might have some issue with that being a 12/2 cable with regard to grounding, unless that cable is going to be installed in conduit that will be used as the grounding conductor which it might have been installed in before it was removed. – Dan D. Oct 14 '13 at 4:33
  • Ah... Dan D. has a good point. If it's 12/2 cable without a grounding conductor, you'll not be able to reuse it since you'll need a grounding conductor to meet code. – Tester101 Oct 14 '13 at 10:15
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No, nothing is wrong with re-using cable and cable assemblies that are listed and approved provided that they are in working order and still permissible for new construction in the location that you intend to use them. Don't use a cable that doesn't have a grounding conductor would be the main rule for re-using what you'd find in a residential setting.

Re-use becomes more of an issue when you get into classified locations, such as medical facilities and other commercial areas. You wouldn't be able to re-use a bunch of MC (metal clad) cable where HCFC (hospital care facility cable) is now required - but you're not likely to run into those situations in a residential setting.

If it's the right type of cable, just test it:

  • Are the conductors stiff and brittle?
  • Is any bonding that used to be in the assembly still there, and in good shape?
  • Is the exterior obviously stressed, or showing signs of damage from smoke or water?

... don't use it :) Otherwise, you should be fine.

Still, even if it looks / tests fine - consider replacing it if it's over 15 years old. You need not waste it, Romex has oodles of uses out of the wall (it's great for tying up/down all kinds of stuff, for instance).

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I went ahead and re-used the cable. There have been no issues so far but I may pull it back out and just go ahead and use new cable. Once I started installing the outlet I noticed that the plastic surrounding the solid wires was drying out and becoming brittle. The coating could easily crack when you bent the wires back into the box. Not sure if this is an issue all cable shows after 10+ years or if this is particularly low quality romex..

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Yes, all good answers, but most importantly, why would you want to? Romex is the LEAST expensive electrical installation possible. Your existing Romex has been energized & in use for 12 years. Every time that you turn on a light (power outlet) or use power from a receptacle (power outlet), you are heating up those conductors, so you are planning on re-using cabling which has already LOST 12 years of its useful life not to mention if any of the existing Romex had steel staples installed then you had "pinchpoints" that intensify the heat at each attachment point - the reason our company policy requires only plastic Romex staples - you never want a linear metal source crossing perpendicular to the wire pathway (plastic staples have metal nails that are on either side or parallel to the cable, which is OK). Unfortunately, residential electrical workers are NOT electricians & haven't worked in higher voltages where problems show up quicker. Lower voltage problems are not as apparent since it takes a longer passage of time for the troubles to surface, but the problems are still there. Our company policy doesn't allow us to re-use breakers or wire since we have no way of knowing how heat-stressed the equipment/ item already was. Also metal staples can damage the old Romex or perhaps it was bent past the minimum radius list per NEC and now you might be bending it against the grain of the previous bend which incurs metal fatigue & wire failure. Old Romex is excellent to be used for tying ladder onto racks & for temporary lighting for construction, otherwise it is dumpster fodder. Don't be penny:pound foolish.

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    I use used equipment ALL the time, breakers & disconnects should be recertified by an approved agency / company. I have a test bed to verify up to 300 amp 3 phase and the training to use the equipment at my plant. Reusing wiring can be done but the jacket needs to be in good shape and if reusing wire I will run at least a 1kv megger test to verify the insulation did not get damaged when being pulled. – Ed Beal Apr 29 '18 at 20:15
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You can reuse almost any electrical component (NOT stab connectors!).

However, give the stuff a close inspection looking for any flaws or defects, and make sure it performs like new material. You are required to check for that (110.12). It's lived inside a wall, it should look pretty much new. If it doesn't, shuck it, go get $2-3/lb for the shiny copper at the scrap man, and buy new.

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