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Old 03-22-2011, 10:24 AM   #1
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12/2 with a 16? guage ground


Hi,

My brother is remodeling his bathroom, and the majority of the wiring says "12/2 with ground". The jacket is black and silver(maybe grey). However, the groud wire is probably a 16 guage wire at best.

Most of his outlets are two pronged. If he used a three pronged outlet, would this 16 guage wire provide sufficient ground?

I realize that in a bathroom he should be using GFCI outlets, but I am just curious if that is an acceptable ground.

Thanks.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:03 AM   #2
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12/2 with a 16? guage ground


Technically 12 gauge power wires need a 12 gauge ground and 14 gauge power wires need a 14 gauge ground. But if I were not tearing open all the walls then I would just connect up the 16 gauge ground wire and use it.

It is also permissible to string a separate ground wire from the receptacle, along any route vaguely following the existing wiring, back to the panel where that circuit's breaker is located.

All ground wires are tied together wherever they come together (in junction boxes, etc.) In addition one ground wire or end (separate short length; pigtail; can be used) must connect to a metal box and a wire or end must connect to the green screw on the receptacle or switch.

The GFCI receptacle unit will work with or without a ground wire. One GFCI receptacle will protect other receptacles further on. GFCI receptacles may be installed without upgrading the circuit.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 03-22-2011 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:14 AM   #3
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12/2 with a 16? guage ground


Did he open up the walls and find this stuff? That sounds like the old nm that they used back around the 50's/60's. It had a smaller ground and the jacket looks like black/silver or sometimes a greenish/silver tint to it. If the walls are opened up it is best to replace it. The conductors are usually in good shape but the jacket starts to deteriorate with age. Also the newer stuff is 90 degree C and the older stuff was mostly 60 C.
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:30 PM   #4
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12/2 with a 16? guage ground


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Originally Posted by teamo View Post
Did he open up the walls and find this stuff? That sounds like the old nm that they used back around the 50's/60's. It had a smaller ground and the jacket looks like black/silver or sometimes a greenish/silver tint to it. If the walls are opened up it is best to replace it. The conductors are usually in good shape but the jacket starts to deteriorate with age. Also the newer stuff is 90 degree C and the older stuff was mostly 60 C.
He did open the walls, but it most of the electric in the bathroom is at the end of circuits. We really can't tell where the wires are coming in from.
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:56 PM   #5
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12/2 with a 16? guage ground


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Most of his outlets are two pronged. If he used a three pronged outlet, would this 16 guage wire provide sufficient ground?
Likely when this was originally installed, yes. There used to be allowance for a reduced ground conductor. That was removed quite awhile ago and if you are changing the circuit in any way, you must bring it up to current code.

So, if you are now changing to a 3 wire circuit, you need to use currently acceptable material.

You also need to be aware of the GFCI requirements in a bath as well as proper circuiting. Is there more than one circuit in the bathroom? does any of them feed anything outside of the bathroom?
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:59 PM   #6
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12/2 with a 16? guage ground


He did open the walls, but it most of the electric in the bathroom is at the end of circuits. We really can't tell where the wires are coming in from.

Well it's time to run some new circuits then. Usually you are required to rewire and bring things up to code when you do a gut remodel. The circuits being at the end of other circuits is another reason to rewire. The code since that original wiring is to run at a minimum a 20 amp dedicated circuit to the bathroom. Depending on what else is going in there you might need more. I usually pull a new 20 amp circuit for the gfci outlets and a 15 amp circuit for the lighting/fan circuit. Trace the circuits back to where they originate from and disconnect them there then run new circuits from your panel to the bathroom.

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