Options for grounding recepticles

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Old 01-16-08, 02:07 PM
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Options for grounding recepticles

I know there have been a number of similar posts, but I can't find the answers to these questions. My house is ~40 years old, and many of the plugs are 2 prong. The cables are not metal clad or anything, and most only have 2 wires, so there's no easy solution. I have a crawlspace and a small 'attic' of sorts.

I'm putting GFCI on the upstream-most receptacles for several circuits, but for a couple of plugs I'd like to have legitimate ground for televisions & computers, etc.

I'd rather not rewire everything, or run a new ground cable right alongside the other cables, since they are all going through the walls.

An electrician that I spoke to suggested drilling holes in the sill plates and running ground wires in the crawlspace to some plumbing and clamping the wires to the plumbing.

I'd really rather not go in the crawlspace at all, though - I'd much rather work in the attic. Is it ok to run the wire through the attic back to the panel instead? If so: can I connect several ground wires from different plugs together in the attic in a junction box so only one wire needs to go back to the panel in the garage, or do I need to run all the wires straight from the plugs to the panel? Do all the rules about stapling and not going at right angles to the ceiling framing joists apply if it's just a ground wire?

I'm getting my panel replaced, so I'd like to run the ground wires before the electrician comes so I can get him to connect them to the panel.
 
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Old 01-16-08, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ErikHaugen View Post
I'm putting GFCI on the upstream-most receptacles for several circuits, but for a couple of plugs I'd like to have legitimate ground for televisions & computers
Just a reminder for those receptacles which are GFCI protected but have no real ground need to have stickers on the faceplates that read "NO EQUIPMENT GROUND" and "GFCI PROTECTED OUTLET".

An electrician that I spoke to suggested drilling holes in the sill plates and running ground wires in the crawlspace to some plumbing and clamping the wires to the plumbing.
This is not a legal solution in the U.S.; plumbing cannot be used as a ground. If you are in Canada, I believe this method is still legal, but someone else would need to confirm.

Is it ok to run the wire through the attic back to the panel instead? If so: can I connect several ground wires from different plugs together in the attic in a junction box so only one wire needs to go back to the panel in the garage
This is all okay. The shared ground wire needs to match the largest hot conductor, so if you have a mix of 15A and 20A circuits, the ground must be #12 to match the 20A circuit. You may use either bare copper or insulated green wire.

Do all the rules about stapling and not going at right angles to the ceiling framing joists apply if it's just a ground wire?
Yes.
 
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Old 01-16-08, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
Just a reminder for those receptacles which are GFCI protected but have no real ground need to have stickers on the faceplates that read "NO EQUIPMENT GROUND" and "GFCI PROTECTED OUTLET".
Only if they are 3 prong, right?

Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
This is not a legal solution in the U.S.; plumbing cannot be used as a ground. If you are in Canada, I believe this method is still legal, but someone else would need to confirm.
Hmm - maybe I should get a different electrician.


Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
This is all okay. The shared ground wire needs to match the largest hot conductor, so if you have a mix of 15A and 20A circuits, the ground must be #12 to match the 20A circuit. You may use either bare copper or insulated green wire.
Great - so once I hook up one #12 green wire to the panel, I can just hook grounds to that in a box as I need them?
 
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Old 01-17-08, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by ErikHaugen View Post
Only if they are 3 prong, right?
The GFCI sticker should be on all outlets protected with GFCI. NO EQUIPMENT GROUND only needs to be on three-prong receptacles which do not have the ground wire.

so once I hook up one #12 green wire to the panel, I can just hook grounds to that in a box as I need them?
Yes, you may.
 
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Old 01-17-08, 08:21 AM
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In the US it is legal to use the plumbing as a place to connect the ground wire if the connection is made at the same place as the main panel is connected.
 
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Old 01-23-08, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
Originally Posted by ErikHaugen
so once I hook up one #12 green wire to the panel, I can just hook grounds to that in a box as I need them?


Yes, you may.
What should I buy here for the wire - a roll of single strand THHN 12 gauge wire? http://www.idealtruevalue.com/servlet/the-70107/Detail Can I run that around the attic etc without conduit or anything?

thanks so much for your help.
 
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Old 01-23-08, 06:24 PM
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You should consider simply leaving the old receptacle circuits alone, and adding a few new receptacles at the desired locations, using all new supply cables from your main box. The labor of running the cables will be similar, it is a real pain to fish a new wire into an old box, and this way you actually expand the capacity of your system. If the system is that old than you probably have a very few, rather overloaded circuits anyway.

-Jon
 
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Old 01-24-08, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by winnie View Post
You should consider simply leaving the old receptacle circuits alone, and adding a few new receptacles at the desired locations, using all new supply cables from your main box. The labor of running the cables will be similar, it is a real pain to fish a new wire into an old box, and this way you actually expand the capacity of your system. If the system is that old than you probably have a very few, rather overloaded circuits anyway.

-Jon
Jon, thanks for the note. Yeah, I have on one circuit receptacles in 2 bathrooms, several bedrooms, a gas furnace, a doorbell, and a gas fireplace, so maybe you're right. Heh - I was looking at these old boxes and wondering how I was going to fish a wire into there from the ceiling. Plus I want the plug for the TV to be in a new location.
 
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