Ground Wires Only Twisted

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by kraftwerk, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. kraftwerk

    kraftwerk New Member

    Messages:
    2
    I have been replacing the 22 year old receptacles and switches in the house I just moved in to. The house has plastic boxes.

    Downstairs the ground wires are wire nutted together as they should be. However, upstairs they are only twisted together with no nut, with one wire folded back on itself leading to the ground screw.

    Is it worth the effort to go round and putting a wire nut on these ground wires?
  2. ElectricKing

    ElectricKing Electrician

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles
    Honestly, I have been questioning this for years until i discussed it with many city inspectors city-wide. The purpose is to assure that the ground wire is interconnected but as well as connected to the outlet.

    now, one time an inspector asked me to put ground clamps on the ground wires because there was no wire nut that was holding them together but they were twisted together and then one wire went to the outlet. that inspector did not like that. the other 100,000 houses i have worked on, the inspectors had no problem. so i asked a few inspectors after what they think about that inspector that made me put ground clamps on all the grounds and they said it just depended on the inspector.

    short and simple as long as the ground wires are connected tight and has strong continuity between the ground and neutral, then your safe. dont worry about it. the electrician still knew what he was doing.
  3. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT

    YES!, I'm not saying I've never seen the method you described, but it is a code violation, they need to be spliced or joined within the box or to the box with devices suitable for the use.
  4. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT

    Why are you asking the inspector what he wants? why not look it up yourself what code actually requires? Not what a inspector wants... :rolleyes:
  5. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

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    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    No, not so much. Some form of mechanical connection IS/was required.
    Would I go around and fix every one? Probably. Depends on how well they were twisted.
  6. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    I AGREE...
  7. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    Cant stress that one enough..... :cool:
  8. Wrex

    Wrex New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Yup no wire nuts is just bad practice.

    What's next neutral wires without wire nuts?

    Even the best twisted wires can come apart if a wire nut isn't holding them together.

    I also use the method described above I twist all of the grounds together and cap them off with a wire nut. One of the wires is a little pigtail connected to the recepticles ground screw.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2008
  9. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I do not know about the NEC and all of that, but two or more wires properly twisted together are definitely "mechanically connected", and no wire nut is necessary for keeping them that way ... and a simple coat hanger is an excellent example of those two facts. Personally, I have *never* seen wire nuts added to solid ground wires twisted together, and I cannot imagine anyone substituting them where clamps are actually required.
  10. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    The NEC and all of that huh???
    Well I DO know about the NEC and a mechanical connection IS most certainly required, and twisting alone is NOT a mechanical connection.

    I'm sorry, but advice like your last post is what is dangerously wrong with internet message boards. There is no accountability for knowingly giving incorrect or erroneous advice.




    250.8 Connection of Grounding and Bonding Equipment
    Grounding conductors and bonding jumpers shall be connected by exothermic welding, listed pressure connectors, listed clamps, or other listed means. Connection devices or fittings that depend solely on solder shall not be used. Sheet metal screws shall not be used to connect grounding conductors or connection devices to enclosures.
  11. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    2,560
    Location:
    North Carolina
    And people wonder why this thread got started!!!!
  12. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    I would put it on your to do list to install wire nuts on these as a ground connection could potentially carry the same current as the other wires (if malfunction somewhere).

    A mechanical connection is better than a twist. A twist *and* a wire nut or crimp connector is best in my opinion, as opposed to no twist and a wire nut.

    Some electrical connections (large amperage) also need to be tightened with a torque wrench to a certain tightness or the connection can become warm/hot! For example read the label on a new electric panel and it should say how many foot pounds the main lugs should be tightened.
  13. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer



    Slow down a bit and look more closely: I gave no advice at all. Rather, it is a mechanical fact that two wires or ends (such as with a coat hanger) properly twisted together are "mechanically connected" and not going to come apart even if that expression means something different or more in the NEC. Now, my personal practice is to crimp sleeves around twisted ground wires, but that is only to assure the integrity of the mechanical connection already established ... just like when soldering electrical wiring: The mechanical connection is first, then the solder is applied to assure it.
  14. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Whatever bud, but this certainly looks like advice to me:

    You can convince yourself to to do anything you feel justified doing.

    Giving advice on boards like this, or giving examples of how to do something, that is not code legal is simply wrong.

    Your "coat hanger" example holds no water in my world of soft copper wire.
  15. alternety

    alternety Like an engineer

    Messages:
    671
    Location:
    Washington
    My thought on why you should use wire nuts (not arguing with code). When you put on a wire nut it essentially creates multiple gas tight electrical connections from the pressure, small contact area size, and rigidity of the inner wire cone pressing into the softer copper. When you twist wire together (say with pliers) you do not have conditions that will necessarily create a gas tight contact. Over time, wire without a nut can develop surface oxidation that can degrade the connection. Since the ground only carries appreciable current when something goes wrong, you are unlikely to notice any problem developing over years. All the current carrying wires will have nuts to "insulate" the wires and they will be fine. The current carrying wires would be more prone to failures of simple twist connections because of thermal cycling and possibly small arcs or heated areas as the interfering film develops. Mostly the nutless connection would perform OK. But there are a lot of them out there, and eventually Murphy will pick one to bless.

    Codes are a lot about fixing things that might happen. Without it being a code requirement, wire nuts would still be "best practice".
  16. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I had not thought about an electrical connection needing to be "gas tight", but yes, that is why I usually use crimps. One problem with merely twisting is that it takes more than fingers and one pair of pliers to do it properly ... such as with a coat hanger. To be twisted properly, the wires must first be properly oriented and held tightly in place (beyond finger-gripping), then the twists must be uniform and tight. In days gone by, I have seen electrical wires that have been properly twisted, but not any time recently. So, something more now definitely seems necessary to assure an effective and lasting mechanical connection.
  17. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,560
    Location:
    North Carolina
    on your coat hangers also ?????????????
  18. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Mocking people is really a poor way to spend one's time.

    -----------

    I will see you all again in about a week. My wife and I are helping my new son-in-law move my younger daughter to New Jersey, and we all plan to leave in the morning. So if you happen to see an old school bus towing a red Blazer anywhere between Chicago and Hackensack, please understand we truly are going just as fast as we possibly can!
  19. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    Have a nice trip Lee, are you going to the ocean? Better safe than sorry, maybe use a wire nut, have a safe trip.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  20. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Thank you, and we did have a fine trip! Our only mechanical problem was an overworked 4-way flasher while we were climbing mountains, and not even a wire nut could have fixed that.

    Question for you, Cookie:

    What would you do if your car stalled and stopped in a construction zone on a narrow two-lane half of a bridge on a major highway?

    Coming through Ohio in heavy traffic on 271 this morning, we came upon a stalled van with a woman sitting inside it talking to AAA on her cell phone ... and she had not even thought of calling the highway patrol for some mean-time safety and protection! We pulled our old bus around in front of her van and eventually pulled both of them off the bridge and out of the way, and I told my wife the first thing she should do if that ever happened to her is to at least jump over to the other side of the safety barrier even if it meant ruining a new pair of pantyhose, eh?!

    Oh, and no, we did not make it to the ocean on this trip.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
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