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johncle6023 09-12-2012 02:53 PM

Adding a ground wire
 
Thanks in advance for any help. My house was built in the 50's but has an updated panel which is grounded properly. Most of the wire within the house has also been updated. I occasionally run into a wire which is still the old black and white only without a ground. I am currently updating my kitchen with recessed lighting. I pulled down the existing fluorescent lights and found that one is grounded properly while the other is not. My question is regarding how i can gain a ground to this fixture. Can i simply run a bare copper ground wire from grounding terminal bar within the breaker box to this location? Or can i "jump" a ground from the other fixture that is properly grounded? Any info would be greatly appreciated!

stickboy1375 09-12-2012 04:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by johncle6023 (Post 1008509)
Thanks in advance for any help. My house was built in the 50's but has an updated panel which is grounded properly. Most of the wire within the house has also been updated. I occasionally run into a wire which is still the old black and white only without a ground. I am currently updating my kitchen with recessed lighting. I pulled down the existing fluorescent lights and found that one is grounded properly while the other is not. My question is regarding how i can gain a ground to this fixture. Can i simply run a bare copper ground wire from grounding terminal bar within the breaker box to this location? Or can i "jump" a ground from the other fixture that is properly grounded? Any info would be greatly appreciated!


Just re-wire.... its the same amount of work to bring a ground wire to the fixture as it is to bring a new wire.

hammerlane 09-12-2012 05:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stickboy1375 (Post 1008549)
Just re-wire.... its the same amount of work to bring a ground wire to the fixture as it is to bring a new wire.

Think he means bring a new cable in.:thumbsup:

kbsparky 09-12-2012 06:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stickboy1375 (Post 1008549)
Just re-wire.... its the same amount of work to bring a ground wire to the fixture as it is to bring a new wire.

Quote:

Originally Posted by hammerlane (Post 1008600)
Think he means bring a new cable in.:thumbsup:

Not necessarily. Depending on the switching scenario it could be much more difficult to run a new cable, than it would be to install a single grounding wire.

To answer the OP, yes you can install a single ground wire back to the grounding bar in the panel.

johncle6023 09-12-2012 08:25 PM

Thank you very much for the responses. The switching is in fact why i had to ask the question in the first place. It would be extremely difficult to try to run a new cable to the location of the current switch, which is where it has to stay according to my wife. But getting a ground wire from the panel to the attic space and the ungrounded fixture would not be a problem. Thank you for letting me know that this is in fact acceptable. Im assuming i should run solid, insulated copper instead of bare wire...12 gauge? Thank you again for your time, i really appreciate it.

kbsparky 09-12-2012 08:31 PM

You can run solid, stranded, insulated or bare wire. Your choice.

As for the size, 12 gauge will work on both 12, and 14 gauge circuits. But you are not required to install anything larger than the circuit conductors.

stickboy1375 09-12-2012 10:18 PM

personally, I would just GFCI the circuit if not re wiring... :) just another option for you.

AllanJ 09-13-2012 05:48 AM

If you run a separate ground wire it need not follow the route of the feed cable (current carrying conductors) back to the panel. If this ground wire (an equipment grounding conductor) should first reach a fat ground wire (grounding electrode conductor) running between panel and ground rod or water pipe, it can stop there.

As I interpret the National Electric Code, the separate ground wire can run past multiple outlets/receptacles/fixtures of the same branch circuit and they can all tap onto it.

It is not mandatory to do at least one of: (a) grounding the light fixtures or (b) putting ground fault interrupter protection on the circuit. (At least one of these is strongly recommended for pre-existing receptacles.)

johncle6023 09-13-2012 02:10 PM

Thanks for the advice. Just a quick question regarding "if the ground should first reach a fat ground wire it can stop there". Does this mean I can simply run the ground to the fixture several feet away that is on a desperate circuit and is grounded properly? Or do I still need to run it all the way back to the panel?

Thadius856 09-13-2012 02:58 PM

I have much the same situation in my house. Where possible, I rewired through the attic (all lighting, the entire kitchen, etc). However, this required opening a few walls that I didn't want to touch (office/entryway/etc).

In the areas that were not accessible, I ran a ground retrofit through the crawlspace. It essentially amounted to shutting off power, removing the device and cutting the old switch box nails off the stud. Then I'd run a cable bit through the wall pocket down about 12", right through the bottom plate and subflooring. Ran 12g THHN, connected several together at a junction box of nothing but grounds, and then took one ground to the main panel. On exterior walls, I had to be sure that I drilled back a little from vertical to clear the stem wall, rim joist and sill plate. Replace the switch box with a new work box, reinstall the device, and you're golden.

Two things to keep in mind: you want to fill the hole with a can of foam insulation afterwards, and you may have to move the new work switch box an inch or clip off a drywall wing on that side.

If you don't have a crawlspace but do have an attic (slab on grade), then sorry, but rewiring probably will be easier. Stock up on fish tape, lube, and a magnet pull system to make life easier.

AllanJ 09-13-2012 04:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by johncle6023 (Post 1009172)
Thanks for the advice. Just a quick question regarding "if the ground should first reach a fat ground wire it can stop there". Does this mean I can simply run the ground to the fixture several feet away that is on a desperate circuit and is grounded properly? Or do I still need to run it all the way back to the panel?

If you wish to run a separate ground wire, start at the fixture or outlet box or receptacle in question. Then work back all the way to the panel.

It may not terminate at another fixture box or outlet box or junction box that contains a ground wire accompanying its current carrying wires, and it may not terminate and tie onto another separately run ground wire from outlets, fixtures, etc. of another branch circuit.

It may be tied on to the (usually #6) ground wire from the panel to ground rods instead of following the latter the rest of the way to the panel.

Wires including ground wires must be wire nutted, screwed, or clamped together; just twisting or wrapping around is not good enough.

Thadius856 09-13-2012 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AllanJ (Post 1009254)
It may not terminate at another junction box that contains a ground wire accompanying its current carrying wires, and it may not terminate and tie onto another separately run ground wire from outlets, fixtures, etc. of another branch circuit.

This. In my case, I only had to ground receptacles on two circuits, so I only have two wires going back to the panel. YMMV.

patented 09-19-2012 05:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AllanJ (Post 1009254)

It may not terminate at another fixture box or outlet box or junction box that contains a ground wire accompanying its current carrying wires, and it may not terminate and tie onto another separately run ground wire from outlets, fixtures, etc. of another branch circuit.

Anyone know the rationale for this rule? Seems to me like tying the ground wire to any other ground wire couldnt hurt, but they dont allow it. Im just curious more than anything.

stickboy1375 09-19-2012 05:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by patented (Post 1013188)
Anyone know the rationale for this rule? Seems to me like tying the ground wire to any other ground wire couldnt hurt, but they dont allow it. Im just curious more than anything.

Less chance of it being disrupted in the future...

patented 09-19-2012 05:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stickboy1375 (Post 1013189)
Less chance of it being disrupted in the future...

Thanks. Thats a very interesting rationale, considering it sounds like there really isnt a downside from a functionality perspective.


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