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Old 11-24-2012, 06:24 PM   #1
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


Good evening everyone.
Let me start by saying that im a first time homeowner living in my newly bought home that was build in 1950 in Sayreville NJ.
My mast head was blown off during the recent hurricane and water came into my breaker box causing it to blow.
I am having a new box put in and the mast head is being reset.
I have taken the face plate off my breaker box and notices some alarming things.
Firstly I noticed that the incoming wiring to my breakers has a smaller gauge ground wire; ive measured it at 16 gauge. the other 2 wires are 14 gauge
I then began to search and noticed that my entire home was wired with this wire 14 gauge on the 2 lines and 16 on the ground.
I traced the wires into my attic crawlspace and come to find that in the attic and behind most of my walls there is the old asbestos sheathed wiring.

My question is: now that im having the box swapped out. Should i have all this wiring removed and replaced to bring my home up to code?

Thanks for any help.
Please do not respond with advice to save me money; I only want to know if this wire with 16 gauge ground and asbestos sheathed wire is needed to be replaced for code purposes.
If anyone could post wording for the code that would support the need to replace all the wiring; I would appreciate it.
Thanks all.

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Old 11-24-2012, 06:32 PM   #2
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


The smaller gauge ground is not compliant.
Local rules will apply about having to change out the wiring when the panel is replaced.

You won't find anything in the code to change the exsisting wiring, as the code is not retroactive, but local rules will apply.

I think the choice is yours.

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Old 11-24-2012, 06:45 PM   #3
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


Quote:
Originally Posted by Geschaefer View Post
Good evening everyone.
Let me start by saying that im a first time homeowner living in my newly bought home that was build in 1950 in Sayreville NJ.
My mast head was blown off during the recent hurricane and water came into my breaker box causing it to blow.
I am having a new box put in and the mast head is being reset.
I have taken the face plate off my breaker box and notices some alarming things.
Firstly I noticed that the incoming wiring to my breakers has a smaller gauge ground wire; ive measured it at 16 gauge. the other 2 wires are 14 gauge
I then began to search and noticed that my entire home was wired with this wire 14 gauge on the 2 lines and 16 on the ground.
I traced the wires into my attic crawlspace and come to find that in the attic and behind most of my walls there is the old asbestos sheathed wiring.

My question is: now that im having the box swapped out. Should i have all this wiring removed and replaced to bring my home up to code?

Thanks for any help.
Please do not respond with advice to save me money; I only want to know if this wire with 16 gauge ground and asbestos sheathed wire is needed to be replaced for code purposes.
If anyone could post wording for the code that would support the need to replace all the wiring; I would appreciate it.
Thanks all.
If you have the money you are better off re-wiring your house up to the 2011 NEC ,You are already having a lot of work done because of the flooding so why would you want 1940's wiring when today's wiring has a full-sized ground.

If your panel was flooded then the wiring was damaged by the water too so it must be replaced.

http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/o...rces/flooding/
Safety tips for water-immersed Type NM-B nonmetallic-sheathed cable, i.e., Romex®

Type NM-B nonmetallic-sheathed cable (commonly called "Romex®" in the industry) is Listed by UL for use in normally dry locations in accordance with the National Electrical Code® (NEC®) under the product category "Nonmetallic-sheathed Cable (PWVX)." General Guide Information for this category can be found in UL's Online Certifications Directory.
Decades ago, the outer jacket of this cable changed from an impregnated, braided covering to polyvinyl chloride (PVC). In the mid-1980s, the internal conductor insulation went from a temperature rating of 60°C to a 90°C rating, and the required marking was changed from "Type NM" to "Type NM-B."
The older, braided jacketed version of this cable has less resistance to water ingress than the newer, PVC-jacketed version, and if subject to immersion, such as from flooding, the suitability for continued use is unknown. Any cable of this type that has been subjected to flooding should be replaced without question.
In general, cables with PVC insulation and jacket can withstand immersion in clean water for a short period of time without being damaged as long as the ends are not immersed. If the ends of the cable are immersed for any period of time, however, the internal paper wrapping around the bare equipment-grounding conductor will absorb and transfer the water into the cable assembly. The water may then start degrading the insulation or possibly corrode the conductors. If the cable comes into contact with contaminated water, the contaminants may also act on the insulation or conductors. Over time, failures can occur.
In a flooding situation, there is no way of knowing how long the cables were immersed in water, or what types of potentially corrosive substances may have been in the water that flooded the cables. As was widely reported after Hurricane Katrina, raw sewage and chemicals were known to be in the floodwaters afflicting the Gulf Coast region of the United States. Nonmetallic-sheathed cable has not been investigated by UL for this type of exposure. Therefore, it is not possible for UL to state that cable in a particular installation is acceptable for continued use after having been subjected to the flooding.
The safest approach is to replace any nonmetallic-sheathed cable that was immersed in water for any period of time during the flooding.
The devastation of a flood is enormous. As the contaminated waters recede, there may be even more threats to your personal health and safety. By taking basic precautions, you can help prevent many injuries. IAEI and UL urge you to always put the safety of your family first.
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:46 PM   #4
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


That was the code at the time of install. It would not bother me to leave it there. Ground only carries current in a fault situation and the 16 gauge should be fine for the breaker to trip if you get a short.
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:49 PM   #5
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


Thanks.
OK well let me pose the question a new way.

Should a licensed electrician install my new box and attach those discontinued wires?
From what ive read; these wires with the smaller gauge ground have been know to overheat and not blow the breaker when put under a load (causing a fire).
Does a licensed electrician have a duty to suggest that I replace those discontinued wires that are to be attached to my new box?
Can he as a license holder attach those discontinued wires to my new box?
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:57 PM   #6
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


If you don't use a licensed electrician, then who is doing the work.
I would not be under any obligation to tell you anything other than the work you hired me for.

I might mention the smaller ground wire to se if you might be interested any me replacing it, but there would be no reason to.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:01 PM   #7
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


Quote:
Originally Posted by HARRY304E View Post
If you have the money you are better off re-wiring your house up to the 2011 NEC ,You are already having a lot of work done because of the flooding so why would you want 1940's wiring when today's wiring has a full-sized ground.

If your panel was flooded then the wiring was damaged by the water too so it must be replaced.

http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/o...rces/flooding/
Safety tips for water-immersed Type NM-B nonmetallic-sheathed cable, i.e., Romex®

Type NM-B nonmetallic-sheathed cable (commonly called "Romex®" in the industry) is Listed by UL for use in normally dry locations in accordance with the National Electrical Code® (NEC®) under the product category "Nonmetallic-sheathed Cable (PWVX)." General Guide Information for this category can be found in UL's Online Certifications Directory.
Decades ago, the outer jacket of this cable changed from an impregnated, braided covering to polyvinyl chloride (PVC). In the mid-1980s, the internal conductor insulation went from a temperature rating of 60°C to a 90°C rating, and the required marking was changed from "Type NM" to "Type NM-B."
The older, braided jacketed version of this cable has less resistance to water ingress than the newer, PVC-jacketed version, and if subject to immersion, such as from flooding, the suitability for continued use is unknown. Any cable of this type that has been subjected to flooding should be replaced without question.
In general, cables with PVC insulation and jacket can withstand immersion in clean water for a short period of time without being damaged as long as the ends are not immersed. If the ends of the cable are immersed for any period of time, however, the internal paper wrapping around the bare equipment-grounding conductor will absorb and transfer the water into the cable assembly. The water may then start degrading the insulation or possibly corrode the conductors. If the cable comes into contact with contaminated water, the contaminants may also act on the insulation or conductors. Over time, failures can occur.
In a flooding situation, there is no way of knowing how long the cables were immersed in water, or what types of potentially corrosive substances may have been in the water that flooded the cables. As was widely reported after Hurricane Katrina, raw sewage and chemicals were known to be in the floodwaters afflicting the Gulf Coast region of the United States. Nonmetallic-sheathed cable has not been investigated by UL for this type of exposure. Therefore, it is not possible for UL to state that cable in a particular installation is acceptable for continued use after having been subjected to the flooding.
The safest approach is to replace any nonmetallic-sheathed cable that was immersed in water for any period of time during the flooding.
The devastation of a flood is enormous. As the contaminated waters recede, there may be even more threats to your personal health and safety. By taking basic precautions, you can help prevent many injuries. IAEI and UL urge you to always put the safety of your family first.
Thank for the reply sir.
Fortunately; my home was not flooded. My breaker box blew when the masthead was blown over by wind allowing water to come into the box.
Even still; I feel that a licensed electrician has some duty to suggest that I re-wire my home.
I am in a bit of a "tit for tat" over this with my insurance company.
I pay a high premium that covers "Code upgrades"
They only want to pay for the box itself; and I am contending that since this wiring is discontinued; coupled with the existence of asbestos wire that a complete re-wire is in order.

On a side note; since the power came back on my box blows occasionally; every so often the power will go out; but none of the breakers or the main are blowing; if i switch the main off and on again the power comes back.

Ultimately; I am looking for code wording that places some duty on my insurance company to allow me to re-wire the home for code purposes.

I had spoken with my local code enforcer days ago and he gave me a verbal that he would not sign off on any 16 gauge ground wiring job. This leads me to believe that a licensed electrician should not install a new box with my current wiring.

My insurance co is sending an electrical engineer to come take a look at my electrical system; im trying to gather enough viable information to convince them that a complete re-wire is in order to bring my home up to code.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:04 PM   #8
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


I had spoken with my local code enforcer days ago and he gave me a verbal that he would not sign off on any 16 gauge ground wiring job.

This kind of puts in between a rock and a hard place.

Unless there are local codes, the wiring can remain because it was code at the time it was installed.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:06 PM   #9
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


Hey Harry!
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:13 PM   #10
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


"I had spoken with my local code enforcer days ago and he gave me a verbal that he would not sign off on any 16 gauge ground wiring job. This leads me to believe that a licensed electrician should not install a new box with my current wiring."

Is he willing to put that in writing? Even in an email?


My home is circa 1900 and I have an ungrounded wiring system. I am under no obligation to replace it all. I am, room by room as I remodel, but that's up to me.

If wiring had to be replaced every time there was a code upgrade it would be a nightmare.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:19 PM   #11
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


Quote:
Originally Posted by Geschaefer View Post
Thanks.
OK well let me pose the question a new way.

Should a licensed electrician install my new box and attach those discontinued wires?
From what ive read; these wires with the smaller gauge ground have been know to overheat and not blow the breaker when put under a load (causing a fire).
Does a licensed electrician have a duty to suggest that I replace those discontinued wires that are to be attached to my new box?
Can he as a license holder attach those discontinued wires to my new box?
If the wires are not damaged he can.

If the wires are damaged by the water then no he should not.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:19 PM   #12
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


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Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
Hey Harry!
jbfan..
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:21 PM   #13
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


Harry; do you have any 2011 NEC code wording that says that wiring must have a full sized ground?
Wording like this from NEC would solidify and justify my standpoint.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:21 PM   #14
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


"I traced the wires into my attic crawlspace and come to find that in the attic and behind most of my walls there is the old asbestos sheathed wiring"

You do not have asbestos sheathed wiring. The old cloth sheathed wire is asphalt impregnated wire not asbestos.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:45 PM   #15
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White Romex with 16 gauge ground


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Originally Posted by Geschaefer View Post
Harry; do you have any 2011 NEC code wording that says that wiring must have a full sized ground?
Wording like this from NEC would solidify and justify my standpoint.


250.122 Size of Equipment Grounding Conductors.(B) Increased in Size. Where ungrounded conductors are
increased in size, equipment grounding conductors, where
installed, shall be increased in size proportionately according
to the circular mil area of the ungrounded conductors.

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