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Old 04-14-2013, 10:54 PM   #1
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Trying to figure out my bathroom wiring. May not have ground wire.


House built in the late 60's.
electrical boxes are all metal.
Not sure if I have ground. May not be up to code. Need possible explanations.

Problem 1.
Checked the 3-prong outlet next to sink, hoping to change to gfci.

All I see are 2 wires connected, a red, and a black.
Looked inside the box, I don't see a ground wire. Not even screwed to the box.
But this is 3-prong outlet. It must have ground somewhere. where?


Problem 2.
Light switch appears to be end of circuit; has one cable coming in, 3 wires attached- 2 blacks on the same terminal (1 is in the quick connect socket, 1 is wrapped around screw), 1 red on the other terminal going to the vanity light.
Don't see a ground wire. Dunno why 2 black wires are on the same terminal.

I removed the vanity light. See attached pic.
I went up to the attic, and I think the power comes through vanity light, then goes to light switch.

I don't think I see a ground wire either, or maybe i didn't dig around enough. But for sure, there is no ground wire going to the light fixture.

In the electrical box, there are 2 black wires nutted. I don't know what these are. The other yellow nut is for the neutrals.

The red wire is coming from the light switch.



I'm asking about the ground because I am going to wire a bath fan off the red wire in the vanity light box. Bath fan needs ground connection.

I need to make sense of this bathroom wiring.
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Last edited by pman6; 04-14-2013 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 04-14-2013, 10:59 PM   #2
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Trying to figure out my bathroom wiring. May not have ground wire.


Looks like armored cable? Metal-wound flex stuff?

Have you tested for ground using a voltage tester?

1) Should have a black and a white connected to that receptacle.
2) 2 blacks on the same terminal are hot feed in/hot feed out. Should have been wire-nutted with a tail to the switch for proper installation.
3) Red wire is the switched lead. Everything appears to be properly connected.

Note: IF you have NM cable, the grounds may be wound under the cable clamp. That was standard practice in the late-60s ...

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Old 04-15-2013, 12:56 AM   #3
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Trying to figure out my bathroom wiring. May not have ground wire.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kbsparky View Post
Looks like armored cable? Metal-wound flex stuff?

Have you tested for ground using a voltage tester?

1) Should have a black and a white connected to that receptacle.

Note: IF you have NM cable, the grounds may be wound under the cable clamp. That was standard practice in the late-60s ...

I don't know if it's armored. I saw the cable in the attic. It has foil wrap, but no hard shell.

I think my picture above may actually be showing the ground wire wound up. I'll check it again next time.

yeah, outlet was likely black and white. my memory sucks.


What do I touch with the voltmeter to test for ground?

and finally, I want to use the 12-o'clock knockout in the metal box to push wire to the bath fan.
What clamp do I use here?
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Old 04-15-2013, 01:18 AM   #4
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Trying to figure out my bathroom wiring. May not have ground wire.


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What do I touch with the voltmeter to test for ground?
test between the metal box and the hot wire (BLACK), also check between box and RED
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Old 04-15-2013, 01:22 AM   #5
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Trying to figure out my bathroom wiring. May not have ground wire.


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and finally, I want to use the 12-o'clock knockout in the metal box to push wire to the bath fan. What clamp do I use here?
You can find them at Home Depot or Lowes, but how will you get to the top of the box? Are you willing to cut out some drywall?

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Old 04-15-2013, 01:28 AM   #6
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Trying to figure out my bathroom wiring. May not have ground wire.


sure, I can cut some drywall.

but damn, I thought by now they'd design a clamp I could push in from INSIDE the box.
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Old 04-15-2013, 01:33 AM   #7
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Trying to figure out my bathroom wiring. May not have ground wire.


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sure, I can cut some drywall.

but damn, I thought by now they'd design a clamp I could push in from INSIDE the box.
Well, they do, but I'm damned if I can find them at Big Box stores, and don't know the name.

BTW: just because you have 3-prong receptacles doesn't mean there's a ground wire. It's illegal to install a 3-prong on an ungrounded circuit, but it's still done by hacks all the time.

Secondly, if there's no ground wire, you can still put the GFI in. You should have a label that came w/ the GFI that reads "No Equipment Ground". Place that sticker on the cover plate.
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Old 04-15-2013, 06:46 AM   #8
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Trying to figure out my bathroom wiring. May not have ground wire.


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sure, I can cut some drywall.

but damn, I thought by now they'd design a clamp I could push in from INSIDE the box.
Here is one. I've seen them at the home-horror stores:



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Old 04-15-2013, 11:49 AM   #9
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Trying to figure out my bathroom wiring. May not have ground wire.


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Here is one. I've seen them at the home-horror stores:



The Insider, why couldn't I think of that? Thanks you, kb
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:56 AM   #10
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Trying to figure out my bathroom wiring. May not have ground wire.


kbsparky, Do you use them? I'm wondering if the only size they have is 1/2"? I've seen bigger KO's that needed these.

Home Depot
BTW, the Master Electrical Specialist there says that no such critter exists
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Old 04-15-2013, 06:44 PM   #11
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Trying to figure out my bathroom wiring. May not have ground wire.


holy crap. I don't need 100.

Just need one. Not spending $80.

I'll dig out a little drywall and use a regular button.

They need to sell smaller packs, and also in 3/4". I think my knockout is 3/4".
It's definitely not 1/2"
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:47 PM   #12
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Trying to figure out my bathroom wiring. May not have ground wire.


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They need to sell smaller packs, and also in 3/4". I think my knockout is 3/4".
It's definitely not 1/2"
They do silly. Do you think HD only sells a 100 pack??

Also, 1/2" in electrical terms is actually 7/8" nominal. 3/4" is 1-1/8".
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:50 PM   #13
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Trying to figure out my bathroom wiring. May not have ground wire.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sirsparksalot View Post
kbsparky, Do you use them? I'm wondering if the only size they have is 1/2"? I've seen bigger KO's that needed these.

Home Depot
BTW, the Master Electrical Specialist there says that no such critter exists
I use `em all the time. Buy `em by the 100. Probably have 80 on hand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pman6 View Post
holy crap. I don't need 100.

Just need one. Not spending $80.

I'll dig out a little drywall and use a regular button.

They need to sell smaller packs, and also in 3/4". I think my knockout is 3/4".
It's definitely not 1/2"
You want 5 of `em? I'll send you 5 postpaid for 5 bucks.

As for the knockout sizes, be advised that a 1/2" trade size has an actual opening of 7/8"

A 3/4" trade size knockout is actually 1-1/8"

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