Is neutral required within switch box?

Ask your electrical related questions here
Post Reply
jfreeman
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:48 am

Is neutral required within switch box?

Post by jfreeman » Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:38 pm

Hi all,

My apologies if this has been covered - I couldn't find a definitive answer. Would anyone know if the CEC requires a neutral conductor in a switch box?

I am putting a simple junction box overhead light in a closet, where power comes into the junction box, and then I am switching the hot side, running 14/2 to a switch box around 3 feet away. Should this pass inspection?

Thanks!

Here is a quick drawing of how I have it at the moment:
light.png
light.png (16.29 KiB) Viewed 237 times

User avatar
Aaron
Posts: 3777
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:03 pm
Location: St. Paul, MN

Re: Is neutral required within switch box?

Post by Aaron » Fri Dec 20, 2019 5:32 pm

Technically I don't believe CEC requires it just yet (the NEC in the US has had the requirement since 2011). But if you have the opportunity to wire it so a neutral is in the box, you should really do so in order to use electronic switch devices in the future.

In the scenario of your diagram, where power enters the light fixture box, you would run 14/3 to the switch box, instead of 14/2.

Otherwise it's become much more common these days to run power to the switch, first, to power the lights. In that scenario, you can use all 14/2.

User avatar
emtnut
Posts: 2038
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:21 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Is neutral required within switch box?

Post by emtnut » Sat Dec 21, 2019 9:27 am

All provinces have adopted the 2018 CEC , so now the neutral is required at the switch.

Run a 3 conductor as Aaron mentioned.
~~ Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford :mrgreen: ~~

User avatar
Aaron
Posts: 3777
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:03 pm
Location: St. Paul, MN

Re: Is neutral required within switch box?

Post by Aaron » Sat Dec 21, 2019 4:37 pm

Oh good to know its official there now too.

User avatar
emtnut
Posts: 2038
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:21 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Is neutral required within switch box?

Post by emtnut » Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:58 pm

Aaron wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 4:37 pm
Oh good to know its official there now too.
Quite recent here. Ontario started 2018 code in May of 2019.
~~ Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford :mrgreen: ~~

User avatar
Aaron
Posts: 3777
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:03 pm
Location: St. Paul, MN

Re: Is neutral required within switch box?

Post by Aaron » Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:36 pm

To the OP: When you run 14/3 from the fixture box to the switch and you use a standard toggle switch, just use the red and black wires for the switch leg and stick a small cap on the white.

On the fixture side, wire white to neutral.

jfreeman
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:48 am

Re: Is neutral required within switch box?

Post by jfreeman » Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:45 am

Hi Aaron and Emtnut,

Sorry for the delay - thank you both for the info, I appreciate it. I picked up some 14/3 and ran it to the switch box as you both mentioned. It does clean it up nicely - I now have power on black, switched power on red, and a capped-off white neutral.

Thanks again, and happy new year!

User avatar
Aaron
Posts: 3777
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:03 pm
Location: St. Paul, MN

Re: Is neutral required within switch box?

Post by Aaron » Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:52 pm

Cheers! You got it right. Happy new year to you too.

Boingdwidth
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:45 pm

Re: Is neutral required within switch box?

Post by Boingdwidth » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:52 pm

I didn't know all provinces adopted 2018 CEC, I thought it was only here. I'm quite outdated.

Post Reply