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Old 07-06-2011, 05:30 AM   #1
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


Purchased a late 50's home with the traditional 2-wire setup. Fuses were upgraded to breakers, and the now-exterior box is grounded on a grounding rod directly below it.

I have my drill, cable bit, and spray foam ready. Putting a 3/16" hole in the bottom of each pocket with an outlet or switch, and running each ground out that way. I'm just worried about getting it to code. Three small concerns:

1) The wire. What gauge is acceptable for code? Can it be bare, or must it be coated? If coated, any particular color for convention?

2) The connection. Does it matter whether I connect them to bare metal on the breaker, or directly to the grounding rod itself? (I plan to gather the ground wires at a junction box and run a single wire from there, somehow connecting them all...)

3) Is there any special stapling requirements, like requiring a staple within a certain distance of the hole, or coated staples?

A huge thanks in advance!


Last edited by Thadius856; 07-06-2011 at 05:42 AM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:06 AM   #2
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


I'm not an electrician, but that just doesn't sound like a good idea. I would not advise running all grounds to a junction box and then trying to run a single one from there to the panel. If you're going through the trouble of replacing all your receptacles and drilling holes to run new ground wires, why don't you just run all new wiring. Sounds like you're doing the same work, the only difference will be cost.
1.)As for color convention - http://publicecodes.citation.com/ico..._34_sec007.htm

If you have a 30 amp breaker - 10 guage wire
If you have a 20 amp breaker - 12 guage wire
If you have a 15 amp breaker - 14 guage wire

2.) This does not sound like a good or legal idea...but you should not have bare metal on the breaker except where the hot wire is connected. Ground wires have a bus bar they attach to which should be bonded to the neutral bar as well.

3.) Code does require you to staple the wires near the box (within 12inches unless not secured at box intrance...then 8") and along runs (minimum every 4.5'). http://publicecodes.citation.com/ico..._38_sec002.htm


Last edited by autx790; 07-06-2011 at 08:12 AM.
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Old 07-06-2011, 12:11 PM   #3
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thadius856 View Post
Purchased a late 50's home with the traditional 2-wire setup. Fuses were upgraded to breakers, and the now-exterior box is grounded on a grounding rod directly below it.

I have my drill, cable bit, and spray foam ready. Putting a 3/16" hole in the bottom of each pocket with an outlet or switch, and running each ground out that way. I'm just worried about getting it to code. Three small concerns:

1) The wire. What gauge is acceptable for code? Can it be bare, or must it be coated? If coated, any particular color for convention?

2) The connection. Does it matter whether I connect them to bare metal on the breaker, or directly to the grounding rod itself? (I plan to gather the ground wires at a junction box and run a single wire from there, somehow connecting them all...)

3) Is there any special stapling requirements, like requiring a staple within a certain distance of the hole, or coated staples?

A huge thanks in advance!
For common household wiring (14, 12, 10 gauge) run a ground wire of the same gauge. It can be either bare or green insulated.

Once in the panel, connect the ground wire to a terminal strip (bus bar) intended for that purpose. If there is enough room, connect it to the same bus as the neutral wires. If not you may heed to add another bus bar (sold separately) to the back of the panel. Two ground wires of the same size can share a hole in the bus bar otherwise each wire needs its own hole. If a ground wire for a branch circuit first reaches the fat ground wire between the panel and the ground rod it can be fastened there instead of go all the way to the panel. A clamp would be needed; just twisting wires does not make a good enough connection.

If several ground wires join together and just one wire continues to the panel, the one wire has to be sized for the larger (or one largest) wire in the bunch.

Wires fished through existing walls do not need to be stapled. For wires running exposed, suggest using the normal rules for stapling, within 12 inches of the hole it came out of and every 4-1/2 feet thereafter. If the wire has to cross open space such as between and under floor joists without touching anything, a running board such as a 1x3 has to accompany the wire
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Last edited by AllanJ; 07-06-2011 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:34 PM   #4
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


Perfect! Answers all of my questions.

For the sake of clarity:

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If the wire has to cross open space such as between and under floor joists without touching anything, a running board such as a 1x3 has to accompany the wire
I'm running under the home, through the crawlspace, stapled to the underside of the floor joists. It will run perpendicular to them, hanging taut when not touching.

Can I just tack the 1x3 to the underside of the joists, or must I cut the 1x3 into individual segments and attach them separately?
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:38 PM   #5
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


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If you're going through the trouble of replacing all your receptacles and drilling holes to run new ground wires, why don't you just run all new wiring. Sounds like you're doing the same work, the only difference will be cost.
All receptacles were replaced by previous owner, but he never attached any grounds. :\

I'm heavily considering splicing all of the grounds at the junction box, so I can more easily determine the lengths without crawling under the house after each hole I drill. So, I may just end up with a bundle of grounds heading to the bus bar anyway.
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Old 07-07-2011, 08:05 AM   #6
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


Attach the 1x3 as a continuous strip under the joists. It does not have to be cut up and recessed.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 07-07-2011 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:32 AM   #7
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


Why? Ground only the refrigerator, dishwasher, disposal, and any window AC units. Everything else can be protected with a GFCI (receptacles or breaker) or replace the three prong receptacles with two prong.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:27 AM   #8
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


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Originally Posted by HouseHelper
Why? Ground only the refrigerator, dishwasher, disposal, and any window AC units. Everything else can be protected with a GFCI (receptacles or breaker) or replace the three prong receptacles with two prong.
*facepalm* this is not great advice. It implies that replacing 2prong with 3prong and GFCIs is equivalent to doing a grounded rec. It is not. GFCI recs without grounds do not give protection to equipment. This advice is shoddy DIYer cutting corners.

I know it's hard to Do It Right. I'm slowly rewiring my entire home.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:31 AM   #9
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


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*facepalm* this is not great advice. It implies that replacing 2prong with 3prong and GFCIs is equivalent to doing a grounded rec. It is not. GFCI recs without grounds do not give protection to equipment. This advice is shoddy DIYer cutting corners.

I know it's hard to Do It Right. I'm slowly rewiring my entire home.
GFCI's are not designed to protect equipment in the first place. They are designed to protect people from electrical shock.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:06 PM   #10
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


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GFCI's are not designed to protect equipment in the first place. They are designed to protect people from electrical shock.
RIGHT: connecting devices to earth does that. That's her point. GFCI doesn't even enter into it. People might not understand that their property is susceptible to damage even if non-grounded GFCI receptacles are properly marked as such. Most surge suppressors are useless without a proper ground.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:12 PM   #11
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


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*facepalm* this is not great advice. It implies that replacing 2prong with 3prong and GFCIs is equivalent to doing a grounded rec. It is not. GFCI recs without grounds do not give protection to equipment. This advice is shoddy DIYer cutting corners.

I know it's hard to Do It Right. I'm slowly rewiring my entire home.
It's is perfectly code compliant to do this and is neither shoddy nor cutting corners. How many three prong plugs do you have in a house anyway?
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:24 PM   #12
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


Well, besides the aforementioned kitchen appliances and A/C, there are TVs (basically 100% of them since 2000), computers, and audio amplifiers/receivers. The surge suppressor thing I mentioned is the biggest one for me, because I had one with a bad ground start smoldering when it took a hit.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:46 PM   #13
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


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Well, besides the aforementioned kitchen appliances and A/C, there are TVs (basically 100% of them since 2000), computers, and audio amplifiers/receivers. The surge suppressor thing I mentioned is the biggest one for me, because I had one with a bad ground start smoldering when it took a hit.
Other than surge supressors and UPS's how does a grounding connection protect equipment?
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:16 PM   #14
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


Quote:
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It's is perfectly code compliant to do this and is neither shoddy nor cutting corners. How many three prong plugs do you have in a house anyway?
All of mine are 3 prong. The former HOer went the GFCI + no ground route.

While it is minimally acceptable to do this (ONLY WITH PROPER LABELING is it code compliant) it is NOT good practice.

I am re-wiring the house as I remodel. I strive not to 'meet' code, but to exceed it.

In my opinion, only doing the minimum required by law (and failing to offer equipment protection) IS shoddy electrical work that cuts corners.
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Last edited by Leah Frances; 07-07-2011 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 07-07-2011, 04:01 PM   #15
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Retrofitting Ground Wires - To Code!?


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RIGHT: connecting devices to earth does that.
Completely incorrect.
Connecting anything to an "earth ground" does not help with anything other than lightning or other high voltage surges.
What is the protection is the neutral to ground bond in the main panel.
The dirt outside has nothing to do with protecting personnel or equipment, or tripping breakers.

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