Run a #6 wire along side 6-2 to make it a 6-3?

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  #1  
Old 08-31-15, 06:55 PM
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Question Run a #6 wire along side 6-2 to make it a 6-3?

My contractor ran a 6-2 electrical cable to a hot tub that needed a 3-wire. His solution is to run an extra #6 wire along side the 6-2 through the attic and down the wall to the jacuzzi disconnect.

Can anyone confirm if running an extra #6 insulated wire along side a 6-2 violates any code in California? Is it required to be in the same sheathing as the other wires?
 
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Old 08-31-15, 07:40 PM
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The electrical code requires all conductors of the circuit to be in the same sheath or raceway. Your contractor should know this.
 
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Old 08-31-15, 10:22 PM
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Yikes. What is he planning to put the lone #6 conductor in? Sounds like bad news I would insist on 6-3.
 
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Old 09-01-15, 08:10 AM
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You need a new contractor ASAP. That type of work is unacceptable. Do they have a licence and did they get a permit?
 
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Old 09-01-15, 09:02 AM
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Thanks pcboss! I've tried reading through the code already, but not being an electrician, I can't make heads or tails out of some of the sections. Could you point me to the appropriate section so I can point it out to him? Thanks!
 
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Old 09-01-15, 09:27 AM
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I think I found it!

https://law.resource.org/pub/us/code...sc.2013.03.pdf

Page 64 on the PDF - Section 110.54 Part (B)

"(B) Equipment Grounding Conductors. An equipment
grounding conductor shall be run with circuit conductors
inside the metal raceway or inside the multiconductor
cable jacket. The equipment grounding conductor shall be
permitted to be insulated or bare. "
 

Last edited by jorgechata; 09-01-15 at 09:28 AM. Reason: Corrected the Page#
  #7  
Old 09-01-15, 09:46 AM
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That one is the same idea, but for grounding wires. In this case we're talking about a neutral circuit conductor. The article should be right around 300.## in the "General" section of "Wiring Methods". This is like electrician 101 stuff. I seriously doubt the competence of this contractor. Both from the point of view that about 98% of spas would use #6-3 cable so why did he get the wrong material to start with, has he done a spa before, did he not check the requirements before buying materials? And second, the "fix" of adding a loose neutral is so obviously wrong he either doesn't know any of the code or is wilfully ignoring it and has no intention of getting this inspected.

Spas have some serious safety requirements, plus an entire article (680) in the code book of special safety requirements for pools and spas. If he's ignorant of or disregards basic codes do you think he's getting the complicated ones correct? Want to bet your life on it?
 
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Old 09-01-15, 06:50 PM
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Thanks ibpooks! I would not bet my life on anything this douchebag offers up, ever! The spa was just one in a list of many things we had issues with. It was a major remodel on our house that began last September (1 year ago) and the spa is one of the final steps to completing the project. We thought we were done a month ago until we ran into this issue. Last week I called a spa repair guy to diagnose a code after finally getting water filled in it and the power hooked up. He said he couldn't work on it because of all the safety violations! I'm glad he did. He was nice enough to explain to me all kinds of stuff and didn't even charge for his trip!

The worst part is this contractor is legitimately licensed and he happens to be a family friend who has lived next door to my parents house for the last 20 years... Still does. Who can you trust anymore? In the beginning everything was great. He is really good with framing and all the major stuff. Things went quickly and we passed all of our inspections with very minor issues. All was good... Then it came time for the finishing stuff like paint, drywall, stucco, terminating wall plugs and ethernet, coax, etc... That's when everything fell apart... he cheaped out on every little fix he could - like running a single #6 wire instead of just paying for a new 6-3 cable.

This morning I even texted him a picture of that code I pasted below and he replies:
"The ground is already in there with the other wire sheathed. We are running an extra wire for power not ground."

Correct me if I'm mistaken, and I'm 99.999999% sure I'm not... but aren't ALL wires in the sheathing the same??? The only thing that differentiates a ground from a neutral or power is all where it connects!

Needless to say that was his last text to me as a client. I fired him today and I have someone else coming to wire it the correct way. I hope this thread helps someone else who may have a similar issue.

Thank you all for your comments! The resources you shared were incredibly helpful and saved my a** from frying like Ted Bundy! Literally!

THANKS!
 
  #9  
Old 09-01-15, 07:28 PM
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The ground conductor is bare in that wire.

For a spa I personally would use a GFCI breaker.
 
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Old 09-01-15, 08:09 PM
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The ground conductor is bare in that wire.
And therefore cable can only be used inside. Outside you must have an insulated ground. It can go into the back of a box mounted on an outside wall but that is as far as it can go.
 
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Old 09-02-15, 07:10 AM
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Glad you're getting another contractor in. It can't hurt to report this guy to the California State Licensing Board and to the local inspection department. After all, he's probably got other jobs going on in the area that need some additional oversight.

Correct me if I'm mistaken, and I'm 99.999999% sure I'm not... but aren't ALL wires in the sheathing the same??? The only thing that differentiates a ground from a neutral or power is all where it connects!
It's actually worse than that. The neutral normally carries current as it is part of the power circuit. The ground should only ever carry current when there is a malfunction in the circuit -- which ideally is never. The ground is sort of a backup. There is a reasonable case (and the code sometimes allows) a ground which is separate from the rest of the circuit conductors; however a neutral is never allowed to be separated. Not only is it less physical protection for the neutral wire itself, but the further distance the hots and neutral are apart, the greater inductive heating is generated by the magnetic fields. When the wires are bundled close together inside the cable jacket, the opposite magnetic fields generated by the current carrying wires cancel out and the wire remains much cooler.
 
  #12  
Old 09-02-15, 09:15 AM
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That's why I can't understand why the contractor would propose to run a lone #6 conductor.

Let's put aside the fact that you can't run a lone conductor like he is suggesting, the effort to run a new #6 is actually greater than to run a new 6-3. A new 6-3 you just pull from point A to point B and secure it along the way. To run a single #6 conductor you would need to put it inside something...EMT conduit, PVC conduit or even smurf tube...that's more work! There is really no time or cost saving.

Unless he was planning on just "free willy" the #6 conductor by itself. If so, that's really scary.
 
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Old 09-02-15, 08:17 PM
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The guy is looking for a cheap way to cover his mistake. He should have run the 6-3 cable in the first place.
 
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