Black and green wire connected to different circuits?


Old 06-11-05, 08:01 PM
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Black and green wires connected to different circuits?

I try to figure out the electrical circuits in my new, old house and I encountered the following situation. In the main breaker panel one armored cable (with 3 wires, black, green and white) is connected as follows:

black to circuit 1
green (taped in red) to circuit 2
white to neutral bus

Why is that, why the green is not connected to ground? I found 4 cables in the similar situation (black to one circuit and green or red to another circuit). All circuits are 110 v and 20 amps.

Thank you.

Last edited by mark22; 06-12-05 at 06:29 AM.
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Old 06-11-05, 08:14 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Brethren, Mi
Posts: 1,648
Electric is color blind, just like a garden hose, it doesnt know what color the hose or wire its going thru is,,,,,,,,, but,,,,,,,,, what the guy that wired this did was re-mark the green as a current conductor. It doesnt mean this wont work but its not a good idea and not code in residential work and he may be depending on the outer cable casing as a grounding conductor, also not a good idea as the cable was not designed for this. It has a green wire for that and thats what it should have been used for. To add to this he is using a shared neutral circuit just to add to the confusion, he should have used a wire with 3 conductors and a ground.
Old 06-12-05, 07:22 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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What has been done is that a multi wire circuit has been created. A multi wire circuit is (in this case) where two hot wires share a common neutral and ground wire.

Unfortunately what has been done in your situation is both against code and dangerous. The dedicated ground wire has been removed.

This should have been caught during your home inspection. Then you could have made correcting these problems part of the purchase offer. Too bad you either didn't get a home inspection or got a poorly done one.

I think you should bring in a professional and get the entire electrical system looked at. Whatever idiot made these mistakes probably made others. The problem should be identified and corrected ASAP. Don;t delay on this. You could have a fire or life hazard waiting to happen.
Old 06-13-05, 06:22 PM
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I am wondering if would be too difficult to try to fix everything myself?
Old 06-13-05, 06:28 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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Difficult? Maybe yes, maybe no.

However, you need much more knowledge than you have now. Based on the questions you have asked and the danger of using multi wire circuits, I recommend that you bring in a professional to fix this and any other problems, and that you then approach any new projects by reading and learning and then doing.
Old 06-14-05, 08:08 PM
Loose Neutral
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I have a feeling this would be your result . What has been done is not code and presents a few dangers. Worse yet, who knows what lies in all those other JB's? Sure he maybe marked them in the panel. The worst is that you, someone you know, or your electrician could find that green in a JB somewhere down the line and assuming it was a ground ZAP! I find this all the time in a lot of older houses.
Old 06-16-05, 03:54 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Harrisonburg
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The fact it is a Multi-Circuit is not against code in is the method of which they did it and chances are as RAC said you have potential other issues. You can find many electrical companies who will come and do an Electrical Evaluation..I would not call a home inspector on this...just my personal option....i would opt for someone whos specialty is Electrical.

The biggest concern I have is 1.) future electricians or home owners will find that green wire someone else and it just may not be RED...BIG PROBLEM. and 2.) If as RAC says they chose to try and use the jacket as the ground when it may not be approved for such grounding since it did have a dedicated GREEN wire for the could have a REAL hazzard their coupled with the fact....who knows the guy could have put the 2 lines on the same BUSS termial sharing the same leg.....and on high draw applicances and you have then a possible overload issue on the neutral......who knows but it is better to be safe than sorry...

One of the first things I would do it make sure the Green/Red Adapted wire is on a different voltage leg than the black wire in the circuit....just for starters but again...if I were you I would have a professional look at it.

In the code it is ok to use white for a hot as long as you WRAP it all the way down with black tape or what have you.....showing it is no longer a neutral but it also has to be done on BOTH ends of the circuit and I venture to say the red wrapping in your case is only on one end...which is a problem for future service being done by someone not knowing this fact.
Old 07-01-05, 08:01 AM
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In the basement there are the 2 meters and service panels for the 2 apartments. Because the 2nd apartment, which I want to rent it out doesn't have access to the circuit breakers (cb), I would like to install a circuit breaker in the 2nd apartment. How should I do that? All circuits for 2nd apt will run from the main cb in the basement to the 2nd cb and then to every receptacle? And the 2nd cb should be the same amperage or lower than the first one? Thank you.

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