Orphaned outlet

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Old 05-15-19, 09:41 PM
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Orphaned outlet

There is an outdoor outlet that is ungrounded and wired with romex that doesn't have a ground wire. The outdoor outlet is in a wood wall with the metal box nailed to a stud. It's on a circuit with six other outlets that are being replaced with grounded mc wire and outlets.....they are all in drywall so it wasn't too hard to swap everything out. The outdoor outlet is in wood paneling and I think it's too risky to try to get the old box out and it's likely I'd damage the wood siding, which would be hard or impossible to fix. Can I splice the old ungrounded romex into the newly installed mc cable using a junction box, and just leave that outlet ungrounded? Or, could I splice the orphaned outlet into a different circuit that uses the old ungrounded romex? The ungrounded outlet doesn't have enough wire length to reach another circuit, could I splice some new romex or mc wire to the the old (without a ground wire) romex so that I would reach another circuit?
 
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Old 05-15-19, 11:31 PM
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Splicing into a different circuit that has no ground wire provides no advantage over the existing circuit.
You are allowed to keep the existing 2-wire cable connection to the outdoor outlet box if you do one of the following options:
1. Provide ground fault protection with a GFCI receptacle: a. ) at your outside location, b.) from the "load" output terminals of a GFCI receptacle placed in one of the outlet boxes on the same circuit (for example, the outlet with the most direct connection to the outside one), or c.) with a GFCI circuit breaker in the panel. In any of these cases the outside outlet would have to be marked that there is no equipment ground, and in cases b.) and c.) that it is GFCI protected.
2. Replace the outside receptacle with a grounding receptacle and route a separate ground wire to it from the equipment ground of any circuit, or from what is known as the grounding electrode system (ground rod, cold water pipe, etc.). The ground wire can be routed wherever is practical, even on the outside of the wood if you want.
Of course you can do both 1. and 2. if you wish, and this would be the best option if possible.
 
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Old 05-16-19, 06:17 AM
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Per code you cannot extend or modify an ungrounded circuit. Once changed, it loses grandfather status and must be brought up to code which includes grounding. The GFCI remediation option is allowed only for existing circuits left as-is.

Can you get to the back side of this receptacle? Can you get above or below it via attic, crawlspace or basement? If you'd like to post a picture of the layout we might have some ideas of how to wire it (relatively) non destructively.

cold water pipe
Water pipes are not a good choice for equipment grounds, and they may not be legal depending on your region and code version. Since the advent of plastic splice couplings, PEX and PVC piping there is no way to know that your water system will be or even currently is continuous metal. A simple plumbing repair might interrupt a critical ground path, so it's best not to rely on plumbing as the ground path.
 
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Old 05-16-19, 08:35 AM
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I think I can get to it from an inside wall which is sheetrock, will check that out....
 
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Old 05-16-19, 09:40 AM
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Was able to get to it from behind and remove the box. The new box fits fine, so problem solved.
The wood wasn't damaged, thanks for the suggestion.
 
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Old 05-16-19, 11:14 AM
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Just for reference purposes below are some relevant portions of the 2014 NEC in this situation.
The very valid concern about the continuity of metal water pipes that "ibpooks" mentioned is a reason for the limitation on using only the first 5 feet of of cold water pipe as stated in 250.68(C) below.

406.4(D)(2) Non–Grounding-Type Receptacles. Where attachment to an equipment grounding conductor does not exist in the receptacle enclosure, the installation shall comply with (D)(2)(a), (D)(2)(b), or (D)(2)(c).
(a) A non–grounding-type receptacle(s) shall be permitted to be replaced with another non–grounding-type receptacle(s).
(b) A non–grounding-type receptacle(s) shall be permitted to be replaced with a ground-fault circuit interrupter-type of receptacle(s). These receptacles or their cover plates shall be marked “No Equipment Ground.” An equipment grounding conductor shall not be connected from the ground-fault circuit-interrupter-type receptacle to any outlet supplied from the ground-fault circuit-interrupter receptacle.
(c) A non–grounding-type receptacle(s) shall be permitted to be replaced with a grounding-type receptacle(s) where supplied through a ground-fault circuit interrupter. Where grounding-type receptacles are supplied through the ground-fault circuit interrupter, grounding-type receptacles or their cover plates shall be marked “GFCI Protected” and “No Equipment Ground,” visible after installation. An equipment grounding conductor shall not be connected between the grounding-type receptacles.

250.130(C) Nongrounding Receptacle Replacement or Branch Circuit Extensions. The equipment grounding conductor of a grounding-type receptacle or a branch-circuit extension shall be permitted to be connected to any of the following:
(1) Any accessible point on the grounding electrode system as described in 250.50
(2) Any accessible point on the grounding electrode conductor
(3) The equipment grounding terminal bar within the enclosure where the branch circuit for the receptacle or branch circuit originates
(4) An equipment grounding conductor that is part of another branch circuit that originates from the enclosure where the branch circuit for the receptacle or branch circuit originates
(5) For grounded systems, the grounded service conductor within the service equipment enclosure
(6) For ungrounded systems, the grounding terminal bar within the service equipment enclosure.

250.68(C) Grounding Electrode Connections.
(1) Interior metal water piping located not more than 1.52 m (5 ft) from the point of entrance to the building shall be permitted to be used as a conductor to interconnect electrodes that are part of the grounding electrode system.

.....So only the initial 5 feet of the water pipe can be used to make a connection for adding another equipment grounding conductor.


 
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