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Thread: Extending ungrounded circuit

  1. #16
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ked View Post
    You shall not connect new wiring to an old two wire system. GFCI protection does not change this rule.
    Would you please post a quote to this rule from any code that is published.

    Here is what I have found in the National Electrical Code and it disagrees with you;

    406.3(D)(3) Non–grounding-Type Receptacles. Where grounding means does not exist in the receptacle enclosure, the installation shall comply with (D)(3)(a), (D)(3)(b), or (D)(3)(c).
    (a) A non–grounding-type receptacle(s) shall be permitted to be replaced with another non–grounding-type receptacle(s).
    (b) A non–grounding-type receptacle(s) shall be permitted to be replaced with a ground-fault circuit interrupter-type of receptacle(s). These receptacles shall be marked “No Equipment Ground.” An equipment grounding conductor shall not be connected from the ground-fault circuit-interrupter-type receptacle to any outlet supplied from the ground-fault circuit-interrupter receptacle.
    (c) A non–grounding-type receptacle(s) shall be permitted to be replaced with a grounding-type receptacle(s) where supplied through a ground-fault circuit interrupter. Grounding-type receptacles supplied through the ground-fault circuit interrupter shall be marked “GFCI Protected” and “No Equipment Ground.” An equipment grounding conductor shall not be connected between the grounding-type receptacles.

  2. #17
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ked View Post
    If you are adding new wire, "extending a circuit", you must use new 3 wire grounded cable, or wire in conduit and it must be grounded. You shall not connect new wiring to an old two wire system. GFCI protection does not change this rule.
    250.130 says in part : ". . . For replacement of non-grounding receptacles with grounding type receptacles and for branch circuit extensions only in existing installations that do not have an equipment grounding conductor in the branch circuit, connections shall be permitted as indicated in 250.130(C)." (emphasis mine)

    250.130(C) lists 5 different permitted points to connect the equipment grounding conductor of a branch circuit extension.

  3. #18

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    I stand corrected. Our local AHJ has a more strict rule. It looks like, per the NEC, you could protect all circuits with GFCIs and have every receptacle in a 2 wire house be replaced with a three wire modern receptacle with little no grounding tags on them. It is a trade off--install GFCIs which makes things safer, and you can use 3 prong receptacles.

  4. #19

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    I still have one unanswered question, if you could help. I don't expect anyone to know why, but maybe you have run into this before. When installing the new breaker for the bath, I checked the circuit for the living room, and it does have a ground wire, but none of the receptacles do. Could it be possible that they just weren't used, maybe cut off at the first fixture?

  5. #20
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    I'd love to hear the Pros' answers, but my amateur answer would be -- anything's possible. If you can find that first living room receptacle, you'll have the answer. Tracking down and mapping a circuit in a house is an interesting, funny, and sometimes humorous exercise, but I've done it for every house I've owned, and never regretted the time spent doing it.

    If you're really lucky, the ground wire at the first outlet will still be usable (not snipped off short), in which case you can install a grounding receptacle there. Or, there may be enough slop in the cable to pull more into the outlet box and expose a usable length of ground. The cables connecting downstream outlets may or may not have ground wires, but keep tracing, and replace those ungrounded receptacles which have valid ground wires available. You might also consider replacing the head receptacle in the chain with a GFCI receptacle for added safety.

    I had a similar experience with a dryer circuit, where the neutral wire was snipped (you used to be able to use the ground as neutral, I think). I was installing a new dryer with a 4-prong plug, and wanted to use all 4 wires (2 hots, neutral, ground). I gave the cable an experimental tweak and drug (I live in the South) another foot or so of cable into the box and I was good to go.
    Last edited by Mikey; 11-18-2007 at 08:23 AM.

  6. #21
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by muzz View Post
    I still have one unanswered question, if you could help. I don't expect anyone to know why, but maybe you have run into this before. When installing the new breaker for the bath, I checked the circuit for the living room, and it does have a ground wire, but none of the receptacles do. Could it be possible that they just weren't used, maybe cut off at the first fixture?
    It is possible that the ground wire was terminated at a ground in a metal box. If it is properly terminated, and the devices are grounded with a grounding clip, then they could be code-compliant. Also, if the box is properly grounded, the ground can be extended and the device in the box can be connected to the box with a pigtail.

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