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Old 03-11-2008, 01:15 PM   #1
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Question about grounding


Hello,

I wanted to add some extra outlets to an existing circuit. However when I opened up the wall, I discovered that the outlet was connected by romex running from the outlet to a metal junction box connected to flexible metal conduit. Inside the box I found that the romex was connected to two wires and the ground was connected to the box. Is the conduit a safe ground? I don't really have the resources to run wiring all the way back to the box. My friend's dad suggested instead I run a single ground wire over to a cold water pipe and use that as a ground. The pipe available for me to do this is galvanized steel and is about 10 to 15 feet away from where the pipe enters the house.

I did a test setup with a single outlet and checked it with one of those plugin circuit testers. It showed that it is was ok. But I'm wondering how accurate those things are. Also I figured I'd put in a GCFI as an extra safety precaution.

Oh yeah, and if I do run the wire to the pipe, can I just use 12 gauge wire? (It's a twenty amp circuit) And should I use one of those pipe clamps? The only ones I've seen so far are say they are 8-2 awg can I use one of those or keep looking for a 12?

thanks for all the help.

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Old 03-11-2008, 09:05 PM   #2
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Question about grounding


Don't panic. Don't run a new wire to the water main. The flexible metal conduit is in itself a ground. Is the box that the flexible metal conduit is coming from go directly to the panel? If so, then the panel will be bonded to the grounding conductor, thus giving your flex the ground you require. If it hits any plastic boxes along the way, however we may have to talk again.

When you attach your new circuits, tap off of the junction box and tie your grounds together, making sure you have one pigtail that will be securely attached to the box. That should do it. Good luck!

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Old 03-11-2008, 09:51 PM   #3
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Question about grounding


It depends on the metallic flex. How long is it? Are ALL the connections made up tight? Is it broken anywhere?
Typically over 6' and you cannot use it as a ground.

Much as I hate the "cold water pipe ground" it is legal IF, IF, the water pipe is being used as an electrode, AND is bonded properly, AND you make the connection within 5' of where it enters the house.

A safer bet is to run a ground wire back to the panel. A best bet is to run a new home run.
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Old 03-12-2008, 05:55 AM   #4
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Question about grounding


I thought he was talking about running a ground from the junction box to the water main. Speedy is right. Flex length determines if it is OK to use as a ground. I'm spacing out.
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Old 03-12-2008, 07:06 AM   #5
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Question about grounding


Just put in a GFCI outlet and run any others downstream from the load side of the outlet.

Your good to go.


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Old 03-12-2008, 08:13 AM   #6
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Question about grounding


If you test the existing outlet the way it is now, is it showing there is an equiptment ground present?
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:52 AM   #7
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Question about grounding


Quote:
Originally Posted by othermatt View Post
Hello,
I don't really have the resources to run wiring all the way back to the box.
That's about a lame excuse as there ever was ...... do it the right way, or don't do it at all....
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Old 03-12-2008, 12:50 PM   #8
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Question about grounding


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Originally Posted by JGarth View Post
That's about a lame excuse as there ever was ...... do it the right way, or don't do it at all....
That's not the only right way to do it.

As stated, if the receps currently have no ground you can always replace with a GFI recep and it will be code compliant.

I certainly understand not having the resources to run a new home rum back to the box. Some times its not the easiest solution for the average DIY'er, and that is okay. Replacing with GFI receps or a GFI breaker is perfectly acceptable. Just remember, you have to put stickers on the receps that say "NO EQUIPTMENT GROUND" and "GFI PROTECTED".
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Old 03-25-2008, 04:21 PM   #9
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Question about grounding


I am in a simalar situation and there is a lost ground somewhere and all 4 outlets in a back bedroom are not grounded so i check all of them and cant see a problem so I put in a GFI outlet on the first one - I think anyway and it wont trip with my tester but where the gfi outlet is a privous H/O punched thru the wall to exterior to add an outside out let and its about 4feet to the metal water main So i ran a piece of wire over to it and clamp it on and all works well ? my question is would that be exceptable and the outside outlet is in a metal switch box for exterior use can i simple drill a hole thru it and run the wire out to the water main and clamp it ? and what size copper wire would work ? its on a 15 amp circuit

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