?? about old house wiring and ground


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Old 01-23-08, 12:42 PM
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?? about old house wiring and ground

Hi everyone,

have a question if you all dont mind.

We bought a house a few years ago and realized after the fact that all the wall outlets are two pronged. We thought we would have the money to rewire the entire house by now but thats def not the case as I was laid off recently.

The house has remco relays throughout.
My question is this, the old wires say ( Narax Type NM 10-2 T Ground 600v ), does this mean we have ground and can put in a three pronged outlets without rewiring the whole house? I am pretty sure I can do that by myself if that is the case.

And another question is about how much heat the wire can stand. I saw somewhere that old wiring may not be compatible with new light fixtures and stuff or rather that manufacturers warned about it. Should I be concerned about that also?

I cant find anything about the wire on the web so thought I would ask someone that knew.

Any help would be appreciated .... thanks for your time.

K
 
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Old 01-23-08, 12:46 PM
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Look at the cables and see if there is a ground wire present.

These wires are not rated for 90 degrees C, and are not compatible with light fixtures that require 90 degree C rated wire.
 
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Old 01-23-08, 12:51 PM
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there are only two wires ( a black and a whilte) that is why I was confused about it saying ground on it because that makes no sense to me there is no other wire present

why does it say ground? I thought maybe it had something to do with the relay system
 
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Old 01-23-08, 12:54 PM
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If there is no ground wire present, then you do not have a ground.

You may, if you look closely, find that a ground wire does exist but that it was cut off at the end of the insulation. Sometimes, since no ground wire was required for most branch circuits, they just cut the ground wire off so it would not be in the way.
 
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Old 01-23-08, 01:06 PM
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if its there cut off can I add a longer piece to it ? (just in case the wire is too short to pull all the way up)
 
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Old 01-23-08, 01:57 PM
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Probably not, unless you can add a junction box in an unfinished attic or basement.
 
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Old 01-23-08, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by kkareny View Post
if its there cut off can I add a longer piece to it ? (just in case the wire is too short to pull all the way up)
If you unscrew the receptacle, you see wires inside the box behind it - can you see *any* length of ground wire inside those cables? (bare copper or green) You just need enough to get a wire nut or one of those crimping guys around it.

If not, then it is going to be hard to add an extension to the cable to carry the ground. You would need a junction box like Bob says.

An electrician checked my wires for the same reason, but most apparently have no ground at all, so my options are as I understand them:

- Run completely new wiring. (It's like 25 cents a foot for 12/2 + ground)
- Run just a ground wire into these boxes. (It's like 10 cents a foot.)
Options requiring no carpentry, but obviously not optimal:
- Just leave 2 prong plugs everywhere.
- Put a GFCI outlet at the upstream-most receptacle, making sure that pressing test cuts off power to all receptacles on that switch - then these can be legally replaced with 3 prong plugs if properly labeled. Not advised for TVs, computers, surge protectors, etc...
 
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Old 01-23-08, 02:16 PM
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If you are lucky, the ground wire is folded back under the cable clamp.

If you can pull an inch or so into the box, then you can use various set screw wire connectors to splice to the short ground wire.

I looked up Narax, and it probably has 'undersized' ground wires, which you _may_ be grandfathered to use.

-Jon
 
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Old 01-23-08, 03:58 PM
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I cant see any ground wire may be there but will require me to disassemble something major to get to it.

We installed a light in one of the bathrooms. When we took out the medicine cabinet there were wires there that are about 8 in long. The were just taped with no caps on end.
They are now wire nutted and have tape on them.

I went and pulled some of the covering back and see no ground wire doesnt mean it isnt there but will have to wait until tomorrow when I can turn power off so I can look better. Am afraid I will get zapped.

Thanks everyone for your time and effort I appreciate it.
 
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Old 01-23-08, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by kkareny View Post
were just taped with no caps on end.
They are now wire nutted and have tape on them.
I hope these are in a box.
 
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Old 01-24-08, 03:58 AM
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no they arent in a box yet , initially I bought 3 boxes which I have already used. They will end up in one yes. Its a half bath and the wires are no where near the water supply.

These wires were attached to the lights on the medicine cabinet . We initially thought that we could pull the wires into the attic (where they are coming from) and cut them off and finish them at a box that is up there.

After we flipped the power, took out the cabinet we cut and taped the wires seperately. We thought everything was fine til we realized now there was no power in our bedroom.

Because the house has the relay system we decided that it might be better to attach a box in the space left by the cabinet instead of taking the chance of there being another relay jumpered to it.
 
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Old 11-09-09, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ErikHaugen View Post
An electrician checked my wires for the same reason, but most apparently have no ground at all, so my options are as I understand them:

- Run completely new wiring. (It's like 25 cents a foot for 12/2 + ground)
- Run just a ground wire into these boxes. (It's like 10 cents a foot.)
Options requiring no carpentry, but obviously not optimal:
- Just leave 2 prong plugs everywhere.
- Put a GFCI outlet at the upstream-most receptacle, making sure that pressing test cuts off power to all receptacles on that switch - then these can be legally replaced with 3 prong plugs if properly labeled. Not advised for TVs, computers, surge protectors, etc...
reviving an old thread because I never saw if the options this guy I'm quoting listed are indeed "code" options.

I have an older home (1961) and most of the wiring is 2-wire and no ground. Do I have the option of just running a single ground wire to each outlet and (and light if I get ambitious) then connecting all the grounds together as I work my way back to the main panel?

If I can run just a ground wire does it have to be jacketed (green stranded THHN) or can it be a bare solid?

Do I have to run it through the joists (like standard romex has to be run) or can I run it along the sill plate?

Can it be connected by wire nuts for every circuit or do I need to make all connections in a junction box?

Also the guy I quoted said he could wire the first outlet on the circuit with a GFCI and use that to protect the the rest of the circuit, is that code if I can't do any of the above that I asked?
 
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Old 11-09-09, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by shane21 View Post
If I can run just a ground wire does it have to be jacketed (green stranded THHN) or can it be a bare solid?
Either is allowed.

Do I have to run it through the joists (like standard romex has to be run) or can I run it along the sill plate?
It must be protected just like romex -- run through bored holes, stapled, etc.

Can it be connected by wire nuts for every circuit or do I need to make all connections in a junction box?
All connections must be made in accessible junction boxes with wirenuts or crimps.

Also the guy I quoted said he could wire the first outlet on the circuit with a GFCI and use that to protect the the rest of the circuit, is that code if I can't do any of the above that I asked?
Yes it is a code-legal option. Downstream receptacles must be labeled with "GFCI PROTECTED OUTLET" and "NO EQUIPMENT GROUND". These stickers usually come with the GFCI receptacle. This method does not provide an actual ground, but it does provide the safety to personnel that would be provided by a true ground.
 
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Old 11-10-09, 11:24 AM
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Thanks ibpooks I never knew that was an option. I was planning on rewiring the whole house from the basement/attic and was dreading all the time it was gonna take. A single wire will make this much easier.

Is there a requirement on how big the ground wire needs to be? I'm assuming the same gauge as the hot/neutral is fine per each circuit, but If I combine multiple circuits before I make it back to the main panel should I be increasing the size of the "trunk" ground wire?
 
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Old 11-10-09, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by shane21 View Post
Thanks ibpooks I never knew that was an option. I was planning on rewiring the whole house from the basement/attic and was dreading all the time it was gonna take. A single wire will make this much easier.
Generally the best course of action in a home like yours is to leave most of the existing wiring as-is and add GFCI protection to the first device of each ungrounded circuit. You can then selectively ground specific receptacles or add new grounded circuits only in the locations where they will be beneficial (fridge, computer, home theater). Only appliances which have three-prong cords will get any benefit from a grounded receptacle so it is a waste of time and material to upgrade receptacles that will only power a lamp, phone charger or similar device.

It is also the case that homes with ungrounded wiring generally have too few circuits to really meet modern electrical demand so simply adding new 20A grounded circuits where required solves two problems at once. The obvious example is at the kitchen countertop. Older homes often have a single 15A or 20A circuit feeding the whole kitchen. Rather than ground this circuit it is better to just add two new 20A circuits and get grounding plus enough power to run both the microwave and coffee pot for about the same labor of drilling and pulling wire.

Is there a requirement on how big the ground wire needs to be?
The ground should pair with the largest hot wire it serves as:
#14 hot = #14 ground
#12 = #12
#10 = #10
#8 = #10
#6 = #10
 
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Old 11-10-09, 04:12 PM
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If I ground a full 15A circuit worth of wiring then I understand I'd need just a 14 GA ground. But If I then pick up two more full 15A circuits can I still use that same 14GA wire to bring them all back to the main panel? Should I send "homeruns" back to the panel on EVERY circuit or can I just increase the "trunk" as I pick-up more circuits on the way back to the panel?

Example - If I have 3 separate 15A circuits that I connect to a single junction box can I then take a 14GA ground from that junction to the panel or should I increase that wire to say a 12GA or 10GA wire?
 
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Old 11-10-09, 04:46 PM
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Before you start, read up on the NEC, specifically 250.130(c) as to what you are trying to accomplish. As ipbooks said earlier, it is really intended for just a few outlets. It is intended not the entire run.

If you want to follow code, in a strict interpretation, you have to run the ground from each outlet to the service panel or the grounding electrode system (ground rods, plates) You can extend a circuit in this way, in an existing installation, using the correct cable (NM w/ground). It does not indicate that you can daisy chain a single ground wire along the entire run of outlets however.

Check with your inspector.

They really want you to replace this wiring, not adapt it. That is why you need to run the wire basically to the panel. It is not that much more difficult to actually run the required cable w/ground.

My suggestion is to go with your original plan and replace the wiring or use the GFCI method.
 
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Old 11-10-09, 08:32 PM
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yea funny how the easy and cheapest way is never the right way. I kinda figured daisy chaining was a bad idea and probably would just give me trouble if I ever try to sell in the future. Better to do it once and do it right i suppose.

ibpooks just gave me hope with his earlier post
 
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Old 11-11-09, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by shane21 View Post
yea funny how the easy and cheapest way is never the right way. I kinda figured daisy chaining was a bad idea and probably would just give me trouble if I ever try to sell in the future. Better to do it once and do it right i suppose.
It's not that it isn't right, it just isn't clearly stated by the NEC that you can do the daisy chain. It does tell you where and to what you can make your connections however. Your local inspector has to make the final interpretation.

Originally Posted by shane21 View Post
ibpooks just gave me hope with his earlier post
He told you exactly what an inspector would say. Use GFCI or add the ground to selectively specific receptacles.

If you do rewire, pull #12. Good luck.
 
 

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