Wiring Out of Code or still acceptable

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Old 12-11-18, 10:49 AM
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Wiring Out of Code or still acceptable

I am in the midst of a kitchen remodel and dealing with an old house that has some quirky wiring from the '70s. Specifically, a 12-3 wire runs from the main panel to the clothes washing machine, where the red wire terminates. The black wire is then connected to a 12-2 than goes upstairs above the washer and terminates to the dishwasher. Each appliance has its own circuit breaker and shares the neutral from the washing machine to the main panel. This is BX cable so there is no separate ground wire.

As I see it, there are two different hot wires in the washing machine electrical box, i.e. turning off the washing machine breaker still leaves a hot wire in the box. This may have been legit in the '70s but I got to think it is against code today. Furthermore, I know that for kitchen, each appliance (fridge, microwave, range hood) now requires its own dedicated line.

I need to run a new dishwasher line, and space around the main panel is tight so eliminating another wire into the panel is attractive. At a minimum, I want to replace the current wire with NM and a ground wire. My gut says run two lines from the main panel and suck it up, rather than tapping off the washing machine as existing.

What do the experts say?

Oh, and thanks for the input!
 
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Old 12-11-18, 12:04 PM
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What you have is a multiwire branch circuit which shares the neutral and ground wires with both circuits. If the two single pole breakers are adjacent, it was code compliant in the '70s and frequently done. Today's code requires the two adjacent breakers be connected with an approved handle tie OR the two single pole breakers be replaced with a 2-pole breaker. The NEC requires common disconnect, but not common trip on a multiwire branch circuit.

Why do you need a new dishwasher line? What you have is acceptable.

Does your municipality allow NM cable? Why was armored cable used when the house was built in the '70s?
 
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Old 12-11-18, 01:33 PM
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Thanks Joe.

The dishwasher is being relocated in the new kitchen. I also feel more comfortable with a ground wire. I assumed the electrical inspector would require it. I'll check with him.

The house was originally done all in BX. but NM is fine for this area. The current cable is long enough to reach the new location, so if the inspector doesn't have any issues, I could stay with it.

The breakeres are adjacent in the panel but I would need to get a 2 pole 20 amp breaker to replace the two single pole breakers.
 
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Old 12-11-18, 03:22 PM
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The breakeres are adjacent in the panel but I would need to get a 2 pole 20 amp breaker to replace the two single pole breakers.

You don't have to as it wasn't required when it was installed but it would be a good idea from a safety standpoint.
 
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Old 12-11-18, 04:33 PM
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Keep in mind any new circuit usually means has to meet current codes. In this case AFCI and GFCI for dishwasher. Some old panels can't take AFCI breakers.
 
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Old 12-11-18, 05:37 PM
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The electrical code does not require dedicated circuits for those appliances. A microwave hood would require it based on the instructions. A countertop microwave does not.
 
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Old 12-12-18, 12:14 PM
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The breakeres are adjacent in the panel but I would need to get a 2 pole 20 amp breaker to replace the two single pole breakers.

I wouldn't. I would just get an approved handle tie for the breakers. The handle tie is generally the preferred option anyway because if you have a fault on one of the circuits only that breaker will trip. If you use a 2-pole breaker you must do additional troubleshooting just to determine which circuit the problem is on. The code requires common disconnect and the tie provides that. Common trip is not required.


I suspect that what you have is Type AC cable with a bonding conductor within the metal sheath. I don't believe I have ever seen the old time BX (armored cable) used in houses built after the '50s. This bonding conductor qualifies as an equipment grounding conductor so the circuit can be extended if necessary with either AC cable or NM-B cable. I doubt the inspector will have any issues with it as long as the bonding conductor is there.
 
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Old 12-12-18, 12:37 PM
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Yeah, I didn't think that through about the breaker. I would go the handle tie route. I understand that the outer metal cable shealth serves as a ground, I just like the idea of a ground running all the way to the terminus (outlet, light, appliance).

At this point, I think it will be up to the electrical inspector if I can leave the old wiring in place. As it is a complete kitchen remodel (complete gut) and not just replacing the appliances, my gut says that the all the relevant wiring must meet current code.

For the record, I put in a new 42 space main panel in last year in anticipation for the kitchen remodel (and because the old panel was ridiculously small with only 20 circuits and no gutters being only 11 inches wide and the new panel would provide a generator interlock compatibilty). I should be able to handle all the arc fault whachamacallit breakers for the kitchen.

Thanks for the feedback everyone.
 
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Old 12-14-18, 11:10 AM
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I just like the idea of a ground running all the way to the terminus (outlet, light, appliance).

No problem. The boxes are grounded continuously from the main panel so just install a green grounding screw in the last box where you begin running NM cable and attach the equipment grounding conductor from the NM cable to that screw.
 
 

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