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Discussion Starter #1
We are doing some minor improvements to our kitchen (paint, new floor, etc..) and would like to add a second overhead light to a 3 way switch. I have access to the attic space above the kitchen and think that running a new wire to a new box shouldnt be a problem. However, the problem arises because the wiring for the kitchen ceiling light is older and only has 2 wires (black and red).

Do I need a ground?

Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
 

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By code you are not permitted to extend an ungrounded circuit. The entire circuit will need to be upgraded to meet code.
 

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He is not required to upgrade his lighting circuit or any other circuit in the house. Just run a cable from the existing light to the new light. You have no need to open the switch box. Make sure you connect the new cable to the new fixture just like the existing one. Make a little drawing so you cannot screw up. If the boxes are plastic just cut off the ground in the new cable. If the boxes are metal, connect the ground from the new cable to the box and fixture.
 

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Maybe in Canada they are required to upgrade the whole circuit?
 

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If you have access above I would run a new circuit
Connect the new light & the existing light
What else is on the circuit?
This guys got a three way. Why complicate this and then have to help him rewire the complete switch loop. Run a new cable and install the fixture and be done with it. :thumbsup:
 

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Ah, missed the 3 way
I just don't like 2 wire, only 1 circuit in this house had it & it was the basement lights & shocked me - a tingle, not too bad
 

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He is not required to upgrade his lighting circuit or any other circuit in the house.
I agree, the existing circuit doesn't have to be upgraded, but that doesn't mean that it can be added to in a manner that isn't compliant with the modern code. The addition of the new light fixture requires a permit for sure. I don't have my NEC with me but the IRC absolutely requires that the new portions of work be installed in a code compliant fashion. Appendix J of the IRC covers this in depth under AJ501.5.1. Pretty sure the NEC's language mirrors the IRC, or vice-versa. The only caveat is that the local municipality may or may not have specifically adopted the appendices of the code, which are not automatically adopted when the code is adopted...They must be specifically adopted. Appendix J is pretty helpful when dealing with existing homes because it takes a lot of interpretation out of it.
 

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I agree, the existing circuit doesn't have to be upgraded, but that doesn't mean that it can be added to in a manner that isn't compliant with the modern code. The addition of the new light fixture requires a permit for sure. I don't have my NEC with me but the IRC absolutely requires that the new portions of work be installed in a code compliant fashion. Appendix J of the IRC covers this in depth under AJ501.5.1. Pretty sure the NEC's language mirrors the IRC, or vice-versa. The only caveat is that the local municipality may or may not have specifically adopted the appendices of the code, which are not automatically adopted when the code is adopted...They must be specifically adopted. Appendix J is pretty helpful when dealing with existing homes because it takes a lot of interpretation out of it.
We can quote all the regulations we want. The issue is, why?
Do you think an EC would pull a permit to install this extra fixture? Even if he rewired the whole circuit? I think not. The permit and inspection would cost more than installing the fixture. A little common sense here is in order.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thanks for all the replies.

to further muddy the situation, there is a junction box (modern 3 wire) on the wall in the attic @ 10 linear feet away from the old fixture box. would it make sense to run a ground wire from that box to the original lightfixture?
 

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If you're going to bother running a ground wire from the new JBox to the light, why not just run new romex?

I get permits for installation of my last light fixtures. Cost was NOMINAL. And the inspector gets another chance to see that I do quality work.
 

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We can quote all the regulations we want. The issue is, why?
Do you think an EC would pull a permit to install this extra fixture? Even if he rewired the whole circuit? I think not. The permit and inspection would cost more than installing the fixture. A little common sense here is in order.
Bravo! Somebody who tells it like it really is. I'm not a contractor, just a skilled DIYer. I'd never in a million years pull a permit for such simple work, regardless of how nominal the fee.
 

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i suppose i could run all new nomex from the JBox. wouldn't this then require me to rewire the switch loop?
If you plan to pull new cables, please take the time to make drawing of the circuit. I am not sure if that will help you though. If you do not understand how the switch loop works, you will be back here looking for even more help. Just take a length of cable and run it to the new box and fixture. (from existing to new) Then have a couple beers, enjoy your new light fixture. :thumbsup:

If this two wire system is keeping you awake at night, get a couple bids to replace all of it. You can do it piece meal if you want, but you will save some money if you have someone do it all at once.
 

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Bravo! Somebody who tells it like it really is. I'm not a contractor, just a skilled DIYer. I'd never in a million years pull a permit for such simple work, regardless of how nominal the fee.
Well, let's not give the impression that it is OK to work without permits or inspections. To a skilled person who knows their work is compliant, professional or DIY, it may be OK in certain situations to forgo the process. But not everyone is sure of their own compliance, and the ones who are got that way by having their work inspected.

I know that my work is top notch and is compliant above the Code, so on small jobs, like running a circuit for granny's light, I may skip the permit and inspection. Novices need the inspection to make sure they have covered all their bases. Let's not down play the importance of it, especially on a DIY site.
 

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Bravo! Somebody who tells it like it really is. I'm not a contractor, just a skilled DIYer. I'd never in a million years pull a permit for such simple work, regardless of how nominal the fee.
Ok, I am in the regulatory field, so from a professional perspective everything is supposed to be 'code compliant.' However, as a practical matter if you are going to have an ungrounded fixture, an overhead light is about the least dangerous. If it were my house, I'd just do it and forget it.
 

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Well, let's not give the impression that it is OK to work without permits or inspections. To a skilled person who knows their work is compliant, professional or DIY, it may be OK in certain situations to forgo the process. But not everyone is sure of their own compliance, and the ones who are got that way by having their work inspected.

I know that my work is top notch and is compliant above the Code, so on small jobs, like running a circuit for granny's light, I may skip the permit and inspection. Novices need the inspection to make sure they have covered all their bases. Let's not down play the importance of it, especially on a DIY site.
I hear you loud and clear InPhase. But a single extension from one light to another?
I do agree inspections can help and enforce compliant installations by non professionals.

If the OP were to get the AHJ involved in this small project, it might turn into a very big and expensive project. Thats why I suggest he just run the cable and install the fixture.
 

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I hear you loud and clear InPhase. But a single extension from one light to another?
I do agree inspections can help and enforce compliant installations by non professionals.

If the OP were to get the AHJ involved in this small project, it might turn into a very big and expensive project. Thats why I suggest he just run the cable and install the fixture.
No, no J.V. I wasn't saying anything particular to this installation, but merely pointing out that the other guy (whom I quoted) shouldn't be so dismissive of the permit and inspection process, especially in regards to DIY projects. Me personally, I'd just run the extension and leave the ground wire unconnected, even though it is a violation. I am not suggesting that anyone else do this.
 
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