Grounds are all twisted together

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Old 08-24-09, 08:40 AM
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Grounds are all twisted together

My wife and I recently bought a house and I'm wanting to switch out all the ugly yellow receptacles and light switches for white ones. I have a little bit of basic electrical experience and I have no trouble replacing these myself. My concern however is about the existing wiring. When I removed the cover panels and pulls the receptacles and switches out of the walls, I was surprised to see EVERY SINGLE ground wire is twisted together and not one is actually going to the receptacle or switch. Am I missing something here? How the hell did this pass NEC inspection? I live in Indianapolis, IN and the house was built in 1995. I frequently get little static shocks when I switch on lights and I'm guessing its because they aren't grounded (I used to assume it was from walking on the carpet). This scares me. I take it I should fix these all right away as I replace them to white?

Also, I am installing a couple ceiling hung(to the joists not the junction box) flourescent workshop lights in the garage. Does NEC code allow insulation around a plastic junction box? These are not recessed lights, just a junction box attached to ceiling. The lights would be hung from the ceiling and screwed into the joists.

Thanks for the help,
Eric
 
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Old 08-24-09, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric_S View Post
I was surprised to see EVERY SINGLE ground wire is twisted together and not one is actually going to the receptacle or switch. Am I missing something here?
It could be okay if you have metal boxes and self-grounding receptacles, but you are probably correct in your assessment that this was a botched job.

I take it I should fix these all right away as I replace them to white?
Yes. Current code requires that the grounds be connected with a wirenut or a crimp instead of just a twist. Also a pigtail must go to the device (receptacle or switch) and to a ground screw on the box if is it metal. Ideal Term-A-Nuts make this a really quick job if you don't want to cut your own pigtails.

For plastic boxes:


For metal boxes:


Does NEC code allow insulation around a plastic junction box?
Yes. If the shop lights are plugged into a ceiling receptacle instead of hardwired, the receptacle must be GFCI protected. Modern code requires all receptacles in the garage to be GFCI, even those on the ceiling.
 
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Old 08-24-09, 09:26 AM
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Thanks ibpooks for the reply. The receptacle boxes and light switch boxes around the house are plastic i believe, so I guess I'll be fixing all the grounds. It boggles my mind though as to how this passed inspection.

For the second question though I think you misunderstood. I added junction boxes to the ceiling for splicing directly to workshop lights (not plugged in to receptacles). Is it ok to have insulation around the junction box in attic?

I know for recessed light fixtures you can't have insulation touching them, but what about just for plastic junction boxes that would hold a splice to a ceiling mounted light?
 
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Old 08-24-09, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric_S View Post
I know for recessed light fixtures you can't have insulation touching them, but what about just for plastic junction boxes that would hold a splice to a ceiling mounted light?
It's okay to have them surrounded/covered by insulation.
 
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Old 08-24-09, 09:40 AM
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Good to know. Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 08-24-09, 07:19 PM
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If my memory serves correct, switches were not required to be grounded until the 1999 code. Receptacles on the other hand were, so that is an odd one.

I frequently get little static shocks when I switch on lights and I'm guessing its because they aren't grounded
You will still get static shocks from grounded items as well.

Also, there are cans that may have insulation touching the can. They are IC (Insulation Contact) rated.
 
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