Ground wire

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by kregas, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. kregas

    kregas New Member

    Messages:
    15
    I'm wiring some lighing and outlets right now in my basement. When I opened a few existing junction boxes to tap into, there was only black and white wiring...no ground....so I tapped in some storage lighing the same way. Seeing this was done when the house was built in 2004, I just finished wiring up my basement bathroom the same way. Now I'm thinking back and wondering if I needed a ground. Do I have to go back and run a full set of grounds or will I be ok? I'm using 14/2 romex and plastic junction boxes.
  2. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    They have been installing new wiring with grounds ever since I can remember. (Hint, I wasn't born yesterday...)

    I have no idea why someone would build a house in 2004 and wire it with no grounds??? Do you mean a room addition or the entire house was built in 2004?

    Anyway I have heard of some areas which have no electrical inspectors, thus people do not get electrical permits nor do they get their work inspected. Is this the case?

    Permit or not, grounding is a good thing. It protects you and your family from being electrocuted.

    I would suggest you get an electrician to check your main electric panel to be sure it is well grounded, then slowly begin installing new grounded circuits.

    Then get a book on modern electrical wiring which includes the 2008 NEC requirements.

    NEC codes nationwide...
    http://www.nema.org/stds/fieldreps/NECadoption/implement.cfm
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2008
  3. Igor

    Igor New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Oregon
    Was your existing wiring armored cable or in metallic conduit? If so, the conduit or armor serves as the grounding conductor.
  4. kregas

    kregas New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Everything is encased in 1/2" conduit...even the wiring I'm installing.

    The run I was referring to without the copper ground are wires that lead to a pullchain light in the basement. I tapped off it to put in a switch for it and added a few more lights.

    Is there an alternative grounding method other than to do the whole run over? It's about 125' from the fuse panel to the bathroom.
  5. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,532
    Location:
    North Carolina
    250.118 Types of Equipment Grounding Conductors.
    The equipment grounding conductor run with or enclosing the circuit conductors shall be one or more or a combination of the following:
    FPN: For effective ground-fault current path, see 250.2 Definition.
    (1) A copper, aluminum, or copper-clad aluminum conductor. This conductor shall be solid or stranded; insulated, covered, or bare; and in the form of a wire or a busbar of any shape.
    (2) Rigid metal conduit.
    (3) Intermediate metal conduit.
    (4) Electrical metallic tubing.
  6. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,244
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    So according to that, using metal boxes with EMT eliminates the need to run a separate ground wire. Each fixture, switch, outlet, etc, should then be bonded to it's metal box via a wire pigtail with a grounding screw.
  7. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    First, and while I could be wrong, I believe you should not be running Romex inside conduit. Then, and even if you have used metal conduit, the plastic junction boxes would be breaking the mechanical ground. So yes, and if I am understanding things correctly here, you do need to do some re-work ... but I do not know what might be simplest or best.
  8. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I believe the typical outlet already has the ground terminal bonded to the plate that fastens to the box, and the typical switch does not have or need a ground terminal at all. But yes, at least some of the fixtures I have installed here at home have needed a separate ground wire added and attached.
  9. Igor

    Igor New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Oregon
    You can run Romex in EMT if you meet the fill requirements, although usually you wouldn't except for short lengths for protection from damage. I haven't done the math, but I suspect you need something bigger than 1/2" EMT (see Chapter 9, Table 1, Note 9 for the fill calculations.) You should be using metallic boxes with metallic conduit (see 314.3.)

    There are some localities where local rules require the use of conduit. You really should find out if your local Authority Having Jurisdiction has adopted any rules like that before you get into this any deeper.
  10. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    The emt is your ground in the existing system.

    You must be in Chicago.

    The plastic boxes and romex are not going to up to code. At the very least you should attach the romex ground to the source box with a ground screw and put it in play.

    To stay in code you need to use metal boxes to keep the ground path via the conduit in tact.
  11. kregas

    kregas New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Thanks for all the help.

    I was told originally that conduit was required for any exposed wiring runs and romex was acceptable if enclosed in the wall. I ran the 14/2 romex in the 1/2" conduit all the way to the junction where I have a metal junction box in the ceiling and ran romex out into the walls to each receptacle...this explains the plastic boxes.

    I left the copper grounds in tact. I'll either:

    1. connect all grounds back from the receptacles to the box if I can.

    2. If I can't (since I have conduit running back to the fuse panel) can I run the grounds back from the receptacles and ground to the metal junction box?
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008
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