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Electrical Wiring in the Home/Using two 14-2 romex in place of 14-4

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QUESTION: I have a ceiling fan with two lights that I want to hard wire to three wall switches or a single triple switch unit (fan/uplight/downlight).  I know that they make a NM-B (Romex) cable that is 14-4 and used in a similar application for bathroom light/fan/heater combos, but it is hard to find, especially by the foot.  Is it acceptable to use two 14-2 cables and simply re-identify conductors in one of them at both ends (red and blue for example) so that I would have one neutral and three hot conductors?

Thanks.

ANSWER: Tim,

Technically it is not correct because you will have the neutral in one cable and not in the other plus your using two cable assemblies to make one. It will work and it is safe if its done right but do it this way and you'll be 100%. Use a 14-3 for the lights and a 14-2 for the fan. The fan and the lights may or may not share a common neutral up in the fan so if they do not you can add a second neutral by sliding another one down the stem of the fan where it comes out at the bottom by the light. Then you can have your separate neutral for the lights and a separate one for the fan. Each cable assembly is powering different components in the fan separately so your good to go.

Bob

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks, Bob.
To be clear, the fan unit does have a single (white) neutral, so the fan and lights do share this.  Are you saying that in this case it is ok to tie the two cable neutrals (one in 14-2, one in 14-3) together at the fan with the fan's neutral?
Or am I supposed to modify the fan unit so that it has two separate neutrals?  
Thanks.

Answer
Tim,

You should be able to easily add (modify) the second neutral for the lights. If that proves too difficult for some reason then tie the two cable neutrals together at the fan and splice the one white wire from the fan to the two cable neutrals (white wires).

Bob
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PASCACK VALLEY ELECTRIC Bob Mossman

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Licensed Master Electrician (32 years) 6165B Contractor in Closter New Jersey with 40 years total experience in Residential - Commercial - Industrial work. Emergency Service - General trouble shooting and repair work - ONAN & GENERAC generator installation - Paddle fans - Kitchen & Bath exhaust fans - AC lines - Smoke detectors - Telephone lines - Cable TV lines - Computer network cabling - Exterior lighting - Recessed lighting - Security lighting - (200 - 150 - 100 amp service up grades) - Electric Heat - New circuits - New appliance hook ups - and more ! FREE ESTIMATES 201-358-1552 Fully Insured

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Licensed contractor in Closter New Jersey.

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"The Frank Williams School of Electrical Construction". My dear old boss is 100 ! and still going God Bless him. I started working for "Tenafly Electric" right out of high school at 19. He was tough but I learned more working for him in 8 and half years than most guys. We did mostly industrial work while doing some commercial and residential so I was fortunate to be exposed to all 3 areas of electrical construction. The guys I worked with were all good guys and I stay in touch with some of them still. Most of us went into our own buisness's which says something about the caliber of the guys I worked with. We had some interesting clients : Wella Corp. of shampoo fame, Farah Fawcett etc, I didn't buy shampoo for 10 years. It was a great place to work. Pan Am the former airline just before they went under, another great place to work, nice clean environment. C&C Metals, the largest button manufacturer in the US at that time, a not so clean environment but a very interesting place to work, lots of machine's cranking out buttons of all kinds but you had to be on your toes, it was a potentially dangerous place to be . All kinds of action going on around you.

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