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Old 05-29-2009, 12:13 PM   #1
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Adding a light with no ground.


We are doing some minor improvements to our kitchen (paint, new floor, etc..) and would like to add a second overhead light to a 3 way switch. I have access to the attic space above the kitchen and think that running a new wire to a new box shouldnt be a problem. However, the problem arises because the wiring for the kitchen ceiling light is older and only has 2 wires (black and red).

Do I need a ground?

Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 05-29-2009, 01:22 PM   #2
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Adding a light with no ground.


By code you are not permitted to extend an ungrounded circuit. The entire circuit will need to be upgraded to meet code.

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Old 05-29-2009, 01:34 PM   #3
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Adding a light with no ground.


Agreed. An additional light would not pass inspection if installed on the two wire system.
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Old 05-29-2009, 02:02 PM   #4
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Adding a light with no ground.


bummer. i think replacing the entire circuit would be cost prohibitive. thanks for the input.
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Old 05-29-2009, 02:17 PM   #5
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Adding a light with no ground.


He is not required to upgrade his lighting circuit or any other circuit in the house. Just run a cable from the existing light to the new light. You have no need to open the switch box. Make sure you connect the new cable to the new fixture just like the existing one. Make a little drawing so you cannot screw up. If the boxes are plastic just cut off the ground in the new cable. If the boxes are metal, connect the ground from the new cable to the box and fixture.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:13 PM   #6
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Adding a light with no ground.


Maybe in Canada they are required to upgrade the whole circuit?
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:28 PM   #7
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Adding a light with no ground.


If you have access above I would run a new circuit
Connect the new light & the existing light
What else is on the circuit?
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Old 05-30-2009, 11:04 AM   #8
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Adding a light with no ground.


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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
If you have access above I would run a new circuit
Connect the new light & the existing light
What else is on the circuit?
This guys got a three way. Why complicate this and then have to help him rewire the complete switch loop. Run a new cable and install the fixture and be done with it.
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Old 05-30-2009, 06:30 PM   #9
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Adding a light with no ground.


Ah, missed the 3 way
I just don't like 2 wire, only 1 circuit in this house had it & it was the basement lights & shocked me - a tingle, not too bad
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Old 05-30-2009, 09:02 PM   #10
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Adding a light with no ground.


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He is not required to upgrade his lighting circuit or any other circuit in the house.
I agree, the existing circuit doesn't have to be upgraded, but that doesn't mean that it can be added to in a manner that isn't compliant with the modern code. The addition of the new light fixture requires a permit for sure. I don't have my NEC with me but the IRC absolutely requires that the new portions of work be installed in a code compliant fashion. Appendix J of the IRC covers this in depth under AJ501.5.1. Pretty sure the NEC's language mirrors the IRC, or vice-versa. The only caveat is that the local municipality may or may not have specifically adopted the appendices of the code, which are not automatically adopted when the code is adopted...They must be specifically adopted. Appendix J is pretty helpful when dealing with existing homes because it takes a lot of interpretation out of it.
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:04 AM   #11
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Adding a light with no ground.


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I agree, the existing circuit doesn't have to be upgraded, but that doesn't mean that it can be added to in a manner that isn't compliant with the modern code. The addition of the new light fixture requires a permit for sure. I don't have my NEC with me but the IRC absolutely requires that the new portions of work be installed in a code compliant fashion. Appendix J of the IRC covers this in depth under AJ501.5.1. Pretty sure the NEC's language mirrors the IRC, or vice-versa. The only caveat is that the local municipality may or may not have specifically adopted the appendices of the code, which are not automatically adopted when the code is adopted...They must be specifically adopted. Appendix J is pretty helpful when dealing with existing homes because it takes a lot of interpretation out of it.
We can quote all the regulations we want. The issue is, why?
Do you think an EC would pull a permit to install this extra fixture? Even if he rewired the whole circuit? I think not. The permit and inspection would cost more than installing the fixture. A little common sense here is in order.
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:39 AM   #12
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Adding a light with no ground.


thanks for all the replies.

to further muddy the situation, there is a junction box (modern 3 wire) on the wall in the attic @ 10 linear feet away from the old fixture box. would it make sense to run a ground wire from that box to the original lightfixture?
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:53 AM   #13
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Adding a light with no ground.


If you're going to bother running a ground wire from the new JBox to the light, why not just run new romex?

I get permits for installation of my last light fixtures. Cost was NOMINAL. And the inspector gets another chance to see that I do quality work.
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:10 AM   #14
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Adding a light with no ground.


i suppose i could run all new nomex from the JBox. wouldn't this then require me to rewire the switch loop?
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:52 AM   #15
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Adding a light with no ground.


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Originally Posted by J. V. View Post
We can quote all the regulations we want. The issue is, why?
Do you think an EC would pull a permit to install this extra fixture? Even if he rewired the whole circuit? I think not. The permit and inspection would cost more than installing the fixture. A little common sense here is in order.
Bravo! Somebody who tells it like it really is. I'm not a contractor, just a skilled DIYer. I'd never in a million years pull a permit for such simple work, regardless of how nominal the fee.

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