Code-compliant ways to add a ground

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  #1  
Old 11-30-12, 09:59 PM
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Code-compliant ways to add a ground

Currently, most of my circuits have no ground. It appears that replacing receptacles with GFCI's are acceptable, but in some places, I do want an actual ground (for surge protectors, for example). It also appears that code allows running ground separately from circuit conductors. (Please correct me if I'm wrong in any of this).

If the above is true, my grounds can be run through the crawlspace. However, what is the code-compliant way to run ground wires? In particular:

-Must they be run in conduit in the crawlspace?
-What type of wire must be used? (Would one use THHN?)
-Must these grounds terminate at the main panel, or can they be clamped directly to the cold water pipe?

Or, should I just bite the bullet and have them rewire everything with new wires with ground?

Thanks!
 
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Old 11-30-12, 10:20 PM
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No conduit needed. THHN can be used. It is best to run to the main panel but if the main ground runs to the water pipe it may be attached within five feet of the main ground.
 
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Old 11-30-12, 10:26 PM
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Thank you, Ray! I've been googling for months and you answered all my questions in three sentences =)
 
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Old 11-30-12, 10:53 PM
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Source: How to Ground a Nongrounding-type Receptacle ...in 250-50(a)and(b) Exception it states, "For replacement of nongrounding-type receptacles with grounding-type receptacles and for branch-circuit extensions only in existing installations that do not have an equipment grounding conductor in the branch-circuit, the grounding conductor of a grounding-type receptacle outlet shall be permitted to be grounded to any accessible point on the grounding electrode system as described in 250-81." And.... the 1996 Code will allow this connection at any accessible point on the grounding electrode conductor.

So we can add a grounding-type receptacle to an existing system that does not have an equipment grounding conductor and ground the grounding terminal to the first 5 feet of water pipe that enters the building if this pipe is metal and part of the grounding electrode, or connect it to any accessible point on the grounding electrode conductor (after the 1996 NEC is adopted).

Now anyone knows, you just don't run a wire anymore without finding out all the rules that apply. Installing this grounding wire is no exception. There are rules on the color, the size, the correct wiring method, physical protection, and even workmanship.
 
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Old 12-01-12, 04:49 AM
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For all the work that is involved in pulling a ground for an old circuit, IMO it is better just to run a new grounded one. This gives you a ground and takes a load off of the existing circuits.
 
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Old 12-01-12, 12:46 PM
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in some places, I do want an actual ground (for surge protectors, for example).
OK, why? What does that give you that the GFCI protection doesn't? Have you considered adding a whole-house surge protector to your panel?

It appears that replacing receptacles with GFCI's are acceptable,
You replace only one receptacle in each circuit - the first one downstream from the panel. The two conductors feeding out to the other loads are connected to the LOAD terminals on the GFCI.

I would either do that or replace the cabling entirely. As noted earlier,
Originally Posted by pcboss
For all the work that is involved in pulling a ground for an old circuit, IMO it is better just to run a new grounded one.
So long as you don't add the GFCI protection in the panel, you can then add AFCI protection there.
 
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Old 12-01-12, 12:58 PM
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OK, why? What does that give you that the GFCI protection doesn't?
Surge protectors dump the excess voltage to ground.
 
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Old 12-01-12, 01:09 PM
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Surge protectors dump the excess voltage to ground.
Hm, I see. Even given that my house has an EGC everywhere, I sure do love that surge protector sitting in the panel.
 
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Old 12-01-12, 02:21 PM
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It's good to have both. The whole house gets stuff coming in from the grid, but surges can also be created in the home. That is why it's good to have them at the point of use as well.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 06:43 AM
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A ground wire (equipment grounding conductor) may be run separately from an outlet box to the panel holding that branch circuit's breaker, exactly, approximately, or vaguely following the route of that branch circuit's conductors.

Exception: Should the separately run EGC first reach a fat ground wire (grounding electrode conductor) from a ground rod or main water pipe to a panel, the EGC may be clamped on there instead.

I would have one separately run EGC serve more than one outlet box on the same branch circuit using daisy chaining or pigtails as needed, but use a separate EGC for a different branch circuit even though two or more EGCs are juxtaposed for much of their runs.

EGCs provide additional protection for equipment. Ground fault circuit interrupters provide additional, almost absolute, protection for people. Either can be used with or without the other. Surge protectors require an EGC but not a GFCI.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 07:28 AM
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Some high end point of use surge protectors don't require an EGC to function. This company talks about only protecting the hot lead.

Zero Surge products do not rely on the ground circuit for effective surge protection, but proper grounding at the service entrance must exist. The grounding inside a home or building is important mainly from a safety aspect.
Most important for surge protection is the grounding at the building’s service entrance.
Importance of Proper Grounding | Zero Surge
How Surge Suppression Works | Zero Surge
 
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