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Old 07-21-2019, 04:21 PM   #1
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Adding new ceiling light and switch to circuit


I recently upgraded the old two-prong receptacles to three-prong on a 20 amp branch circuit. I did so by adding a GFCI from the homerun from the panel, which then protects the remaining 4 new receptacles downstream.

In a small alcove I wish to add a new ceiling light controlled by a switch. To power the switch I plan on tapping into one of these outlets. This will be simple to do since the receptacle and new switch share the same wall cavity, making it easy to drop the Romex from the attic.

The receptacle I am tapping into has the original house wiring housed inside a metal junction box, where the copper ground is attached to a screw in the rear of the metal junction box. So my question is this: When running the 12-2 Romex to wire the new switch (power will go to the switch first, then to the light), what do I do with the Romex ground wire at the point it enters the receptacle's metal junction box? Can I just pigtail to the existing copper wire that is attached to the screw?

Just want to ensure the new switch and ceiling light are properly grounded. Tks for anyone's experienced advice.
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Old 07-21-2019, 04:42 PM   #2
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Re: Adding new ceiling light and switch to circuit


Your plan is not code compliant. While you can use GFCI to allow the use of 3 pin receptacles on an ungrounded circuit, you are not allowed to extend an ungrounded circuit.

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Old 07-21-2019, 04:46 PM   #3
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Re: Adding new ceiling light and switch to circuit


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Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
Your plan is not code compliant. While you can use GFCI to allow the use of 3 pin receptacles on an ungrounded circuit, you are not allowed to extend an ungrounded circuit.

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He said he had a ground wire.
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Old 07-21-2019, 04:58 PM   #4
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Back in the day a wire was run separate from the "Romex" to ground the metal boxes, then connected to a metal water pipe.
You need to verify that the ground path is still intact and plastic pipe has not replaced any of the metal piping. It was usually smaller than the required size we use today.
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Old 07-21-2019, 05:01 PM   #5
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Re: Adding new ceiling light and switch to circuit


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Originally Posted by Wiredindallas View Post
Back in the day a wire was run separate from the "Romex" to ground the metal boxes, then connected to a metal water pipe.
You need to verify that the ground path is still intact and plastic pipe has not replaced any of the metal piping. It was usually smaller than the required size we use today.
What am I missing
The receptacle I am tapping into has the original house wiring housed inside a metal junction box, where the copper ground is attached to a screw in the rear of the metal junction box.
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Old 07-21-2019, 05:04 PM   #6
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Re: Adding new ceiling light and switch to circuit


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Originally Posted by ggano View Post
I recently upgraded the old two-prong receptacles to three-prong on a 20 amp branch circuit. I did so by adding a GFCI from the homerun from the panel, which then protects the remaining 4 new receptacles downstream.

In a small alcove I wish to add a new ceiling light controlled by a switch. To power the switch I plan on tapping into one of these outlets. This will be simple to do since the receptacle and new switch share the same wall cavity, making it easy to drop the Romex from the attic.

The receptacle I am tapping into has the original house wiring housed inside a metal junction box, where the copper ground is attached to a screw in the rear of the metal junction box. So my question is this: When running the 12-2 Romex to wire the new switch (power will go to the switch first, then to the light), what do I do with the Romex ground wire at the point it enters the receptacle's metal junction box? Can I just pigtail to the existing copper wire that is attached to the screw?

Just want to ensure the new switch and ceiling light are properly grounded. Tks for anyone's experienced advice.

If I am reading it right that the box you are going to has a ground, you said 12G, match the wire in the box, it is likely 14G
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Old 07-21-2019, 05:26 PM   #7
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Re: Adding new ceiling light and switch to circuit


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Originally Posted by Nealtw View Post
He said he had a ground wire.
Why did he use a GFCI to replace 2 wire receptacles with 3 wire if he has a ground wire?

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Old 07-21-2019, 05:35 PM   #8
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Re: Adding new ceiling light and switch to circuit


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Originally Posted by rjniles View Post
Why did he use a GFCI to replace 2 wire receptacles with 3 wire if he has a ground wire?

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But he said the outlet in question has a ground.
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Old 07-21-2019, 05:37 PM   #9
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Re: Adding new ceiling light and switch to circuit


Maybe he just wanted GFCI protection.
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Old 07-22-2019, 03:48 PM   #10
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Re: Adding new ceiling light and switch to circuit


Sorry I couldn't get back sooner, but hope this clarification helps. I replaced the original two-slot outlets on the kitchen branch circuit in order to minimally bring the outlets up to code, which requires GFCI protection for countertop outlets. Two of the ones I replaced were on the countertop and the other two outlets were near the floor. All are now protected by GFCI.

The ground wire that I referenced yesterday, the bare copper wire attached by screw to the original metal junction box, was running along the bottom of the receptacle in the far back of the box and was overlooked by me when I pulled the old outlet. When I pulled out the recently installed three-prong socket to see where the wires ran inside the wall is when I first noticed the old copper ground wire inside the box.

All the new GFCI protected outlets have been working fine, so now I am wondering what impact the originally connected ground wire will have, if any, on my newly replaced receptacles.

If worse comes to worse, I will run power to the switch from a different outlet on another circuit that was already upgraded in the panel a year ago. Just will be a longer run of wire, but no biggie.

BTW, tks for everyone's input.
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