Adding ground to ungrounded outlet

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  #1  
Old 04-05-07, 10:54 PM
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Adding ground to ungrounded outlet

Hi all

Hopefully I have a simple one for you here. I have an ungrounded outlet in the kitchen, that is shin level. I was going to run a ground wire to the cold water pipe and put in a grounded outlet as well as add 2 more outlets <one in same area but chest high since I am putting a countertop at waist height>, and another in the dining room on the other side of the wall. After tracing down what was on that circuit, I decided I wasnt comfortable putting 2 more outlets on that circuit, so I ran some fresh romex and put in a grounded outlet <on an open 15 amp circuit breaker> about 3 feet above it. My main question is, can I pigtail the ground off of the new outlet <both outlets are on seperate 15 amp circuits> and run a ground wire down to the ungrounded older outlet and switch the outlet to a grounded outlet, utilizing the grounding path from the new circuit? I recently replaced 2 ungrounded outlets on another circuit with grounded outlets and used the existing 2 wire but ran a ground wire from both of them attached to a clamp on the cold water pipe. I could run a ground wire to that same clamp <provided there is no limit of ground wires that you can hook up to a grounding clamp> from this outlet also if I need to, but it seems a whole lot easier to just run it three feet down the wall and ground it off of the other circuit, since it doesnt seem like the grounding bar in my service panel is circuit breaker specific. Just figured I'd check before doing this on my own. Thanks in advance.

Bob
 
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  #2  
Old 04-06-07, 12:27 AM
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In the US you can't ground a receptacle to a water pipe. Illegal and potentially dangerous to do so. You can run to an existing ground that is from your breaker box. Either the grounding bar if present or neutral if a main panel and no separate ground bar. You need to disconnect the two incorrectly grounded receptacles you installed and replace them with ungrounded outlets or GFCI receptacles marked "no ground".

Of course you also seem to be in violation of code for kitchen outlets. You need two 20 amp grounded circuits. Until you started working on it you may have been grandfathered.
 
  #3  
Old 04-06-07, 04:28 AM
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Assuming you are in the US...

I'm not comfortable with what you did either.

You cannot run new circuits to a kitchen for receptacles that are only 15 amp/14 gage wire. Take out what you did and redo with 20 amp/12 gage wire.

However, before you put in a new circuit (after you remove the wrong one you put in), buy and read a book or two on home wiring. Your goal is to learn what the requirements are for kitchen circuits, so that you do it right this time. The books will also answer the other questions you don't yet realize that you have.
 
  #4  
Old 04-06-07, 06:46 AM
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But if you happen to be in Canada, the story is different. To ensure good advice, I recommend you visit your profile and fill in your location.
 
  #5  
Old 04-06-07, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
In the US you can't ground a receptacle to a water pipe. Illegal and potentially dangerous to do so. You can run to an existing ground that is from your breaker box. Either the grounding bar if present or neutral if a main panel and no separate ground bar. You need to disconnect the two incorrectly grounded receptacles you installed and replace them with ungrounded outlets or GFCI receptacles marked "no ground".

Of course you also seem to be in violation of code for kitchen outlets. You need two 20 amp grounded circuits. Until you started working on it you may have been grandfathered.
Thanks for the reply, I see now that I did not make myself clear. I was trying to save you folks some unnecessary reading, but in doing so I left out some pertinent information. The two receptacles that I ran a ground wire to the water pipe <which I will change now, thanks> were not in the kitchen, they are in the living room. The two in question are in the kitchen, but one of them was an existing 15 amp ungrounded that also feeds upstairs. This is an old house <81 years old> and the plug on this circuit is on the wall seperating the kitchen and dining room, away from any water, it's an empty dead wall that I'm just using for new counter space. There are 2 20 amp grounded circuits in other parts of the kitchen, which I installed a GFCI on the one near the sink. I ran a new 15 amp circuit about 3 feet above the existing, so that it will be above the countertop to plug in a little TV and a blender occasionally, all major appliances are on 20 amps. Does this still have to be a 20 amp circuit, just that it is code that all kitchen receptacles have to be 20 amp, or just out of concern for the major appliances? These are just convenience outlets, as you cant really put any large appliances in the area because of the layout of the kitchen. Thanks

Bob
 
  #6  
Old 04-06-07, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
But if you happen to be in Canada, the story is different. To ensure good advice, I recommend you visit your profile and fill in your location.
No, not in Canada, but I am in Detroit, about 4 miles from windsor and the ambassador bridge I will update it, thanks.

Bob
 
  #7  
Old 04-06-07, 10:15 AM
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Any new circuit serving a kitchen counter in the US needs to be a 20 amp circuit and needs GFCI protection. Remove the circuit you added and redo it properly. In fact all circuits (with a couple of exceptions) serving the kitchen receptacles must be 20 amp circuits, and they can serve nowhere else in the house except kitchen, dining room, and similar receptacles .

Redo those illegal ground connection to the water pipes either by rewiring the circuits or running the ground all the way to the main panel.

Those two existing kitchen counter top circuits that you mentioned should BOTH be GFCI protected at every receptacle. When discussing the kitchen counter top ALL receptacles need GFCI protection. Add another GFCI receptacles and make sure that they protect ALL the receptacles serving the counter top.

Please buy some books and learn about what you are trying to do, before making more mistakes.
 
  #8  
Old 04-06-07, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by racraft View Post
Assuming you are in the US...

I'm not comfortable with what you did either.

You cannot run new circuits to a kitchen for receptacles that are only 15 amp/14 gage wire. Take out what you did and redo with 20 amp/12 gage wire.

However, before you put in a new circuit (after you remove the wrong one you put in), buy and read a book or two on home wiring. Your goal is to learn what the requirements are for kitchen circuits, so that you do it right this time. The books will also answer the other questions you don't yet realize that you have.
Thanks for the info. I can redo it easy enough, at least the circuit I ran, because I only ran the line up from the basement to the receptacle. I did not want to make it live until I was sure I was safe, and I do have a couple of open 20 amp circuits in the service panel. I figured if I screwed up and couldnt confirm that I did it properly, at least I had the hole in the wall cut for a professional if I have to call one in This does lead to another question about the existing 15 amp circuit, should this be removed from the picture, and how so? I did notice that in my living room there is a ceiling receptacle that is capped off, and when I was painting and removed the cap, there are wires with wire nuts on them. I asked the electrician about this when I had it converted from fuses to circuit breakers and upgraded service panel about it, and he said it was fine. Should this be done with the old 15 amp circuit in the kitchen? It is the only outlet that is not 20 amp, and if so, I can just wire nut it off and put two receptacles off of the new circuit I am running. I do plan on buying a book, today actually, since there are definitely some wiring issues in this house and I'd like to understand what I can do and what I should be calling pro's in on. Thanks again for any info

Bob
 
  #9  
Old 04-06-07, 10:29 AM
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Live junction boxes must remain permanently accessible. The box in your ceiling is fine, as long as the cover can be removed and you can access the wires without having to remove drywall, etc.

A better solution, when possible, and when you don;t want to use the circuits again is to completely abandon them. That means finding the other end of the wire and pushing it out of the box it is in. If you do this then it may be completely abandoned leaving the box and/or the cables inside the wall.
 
  #10  
Old 04-06-07, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft View Post
Live junction boxes must remain permanently accessible. The box in your ceiling is fine, as long as the cover can be removed and you can access the wires without having to remove drywall, etc.

A better solution, when possible, and when you don;t want to use the circuits again is to completely abandon them. That means finding the other end of the wire and pushing it out of the box it is in. If you do this then it may be completely abandoned leaving the box and/or the cables inside the wall.
Yes, it is accessible and easily removable, so that makes me feel better. As for your second paragraph, I beleive that is what I am going to do. I traced the wire back to a junction box and noticed that this wiring is really crazy. It goes from the kitchen to the j.box where it ties into the porch lights, one of the basement lights and a few other things, and that really made me uncomfortable after reading your last post on how nothing should be tied into a kitchen circuit. It seems like the best course of action here is to just replace the 15 amp I ran with a 20 amp, remove the old existing 15 amp out of the picture and tie a new 20 amp into that new receptacle, with just those 2 receptacles on that one circuit.

I already picked up a GFCI while I was out getting the book, since I am planning on selling this house and dont know what whoever buys it will do with the kitchen, at least they'll have adequate power. I have a computer network and little recording studio in the house, and have already replaced some of the existing wiring, so might as well keep bringing as much as possible up to code, although I'll never be able to do the whole house, as it's over 80 years old. As for those two that are grounded to the cold water pipe, I figure that since I'm going back to the service panel with the new ground anyways, might as well replace that wiring while I'm there. What the heck, I love learning, and figure what I learn on this house just may come in handy on the next one

Thanks

Bob
 
  #11  
Old 04-06-07, 02:01 PM
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Understand that there is no requirement to bring the house up to current code, even when you sell it. There may, depending on local codes, be a requirement for GFCIs in certain locations (which is a good idea anyway even if not required by code because of grandfathering), but that is usually all.

Also understand that a Home Inspector (if the buyer is smart and has the house inspected) may suggest things, but unless you are required by law to have certain things in place, anything that the home inspector suggests is only that - a suggestion. Unless the buyer insists on it (and you and the buyer can negotiate anything), you don;t have to follow through.

Having said that, I recommend that any and all new wiring you do be completely up to code, and that you install GFCI protection at least in the bathrooms and kitchen. Personally I would go as far as to install GFCI protection in all the currently required by code locations, but that is up to you.
 
  #12  
Old 04-07-07, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft View Post
Understand that there is no requirement to bring the house up to current code, even when you sell it. There may, depending on local codes, be a requirement for GFCIs in certain locations (which is a good idea anyway even if not required by code because of grandfathering), but that is usually all.
Having said that, I recommend that any and all new wiring you do be completely up to code, and that you install GFCI protection at least in the bathrooms and kitchen. Personally I would go as far as to install GFCI protection in all the currently required by code locations, but that is up to you.
Yes, I understand that there is no requirement, and it's a good thing because even with all the changes I have made, it would cost a fortune to redo everything. I already picked up GFCI's for the other two outlets while I was out getting the one for this new circuit. I figured what's another 20 bux in the grand scheme of things, and maybe a perspective buyer will feel more comfortable about the work they cant see if they know that I've done things that they can see right. I know that I can negotiate with the new seller all the other things, but I've been through so much on this house where the previous owner, instead of spending 10 dollars and taking 15 minutes to do it right, he'd spend 8 and take 3 hours doing it half assed, not thinking that someone might have to work on it after he sells it, that or he didnt care <from everything I've found wrong with the place years after and talking to the neighbors, it seems like it was the latter>. I'd rather leave the house in the shape that if someone does run into a problem, they'll say "good thing Bob did it this way" instead of "that damned Bob!" like I did whenever I had to fix anything the other guy did afterwards Thanks for all the help along the way, will keep you posted on how it turns out when I can finally get the wiring done this weekend.

Bob
 
  #13  
Old 04-10-07, 04:36 PM
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Grounding

Ok, here's the update and hopefully final solution, unless you guys can show me the error of my ways again and point me in the right direction. I pulled out the 14/2 and replaced it with 12/2 romex. After looking at the pre existing 15 amp receptacle and tracing it to a box downstairs that just looked beyond me, I decided not to pull it. This house has the old knob and tube wiring, and this wire went to a j.box that is mounted on the ceiling of the basement with what, for lack of better word, looks like a transformer on the outside of it with 2 black wires going inside and wire nutted to the mess of wires in there. I figure I'll save that one for an electrician that I'm going to call for all the things I am not comfortable doing. What I did was move that receptacle to the dining room <which is on the other side of the wall of the kitchen>. On the new 20 amp circuit I ran the wire first to the hole I cut in the wall above the counter, hooked it up to a GFCI and then ran from the spare terminals of the GFCI to a 20 amp recep. that I put in the old hole below the counter where the 15 amp recep. that was running all over the house used to be. I ran a ground wire from the 20 amp recep below the counter to the re-directed 15 amp recep <the one that used to be in the kitchen and is now in the dining room>. Does anyone see anything wrong with this setup?

Also, in the book that I got it shows a GFCI breaker. Would there be any harm is putting this on the circuit that the outlets on either side of the sink are on instead of putting GFCI outlets? The guy who owned the house before me installed these, and he left hardly any wire to work with to replace these with GFCI's, and I cant get a good enough angle to get in there to install these. I like the idea of the breakers because it looks like the easiest way for me to fix this mess.

I ran into something wierd with the wiring of the old 15 amp recep that was in the kitchen that I moved to the dining room. At first I thought it was aluminum wire, and went back to the book because I remember reading about having to use special outlets and switches. I trimmed the ends down, and was going to just wire nut it and put it in the recep box with a solid coverplate, but as I started to nut it I noticed the copper shining through where I clipped, so I scratched the surface of the wire, and it was copper underneath. Could this be oxidation, or is there something here that the book isnt telling me?

Anyways, sorry for the long post, but figured I'd include as much as I could of what I did, so that way if I did anything wrong you can see it in my steps. I havent hooked the circuit up to the service panel yet, I figured I'd wait to see what your thoughts and opinions are of it before I do anything dangerous. Just me being over cautious Thanks for all the replies and information, you've been a great help

Bob
 
  #14  
Old 04-10-07, 05:08 PM
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The code does not say that you can run ground wires anywhere you want from rec to rec to get things grounded.

It says that the ground wire must be run with the circuit conductors. Except that you can ground outlets in old work only by running a wire all the way back to the panel, or other accessable point on the ges. grounding electrode system.

If you run new wires to new recepticles you must run proper grounded wire. This must be proper grounded wire all the way back to the panel.

Yes a GFI breaker is as good as a GFI recepticle.

I have never heard of aluminum clad copper. The only time I have seen copper discolored this way is because it has been overheating. If so, it needs to be replaced.
 
  #15  
Old 04-10-07, 05:50 PM
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A wire that appears silver-colored on the outside, but has a core of copper, is generally called "tinned copper". The code treats it exactly the same as copper. The "tin" is there to slow oxidation.
 
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