National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Question:

I have just bought an old house (ca 1965) to serve as my primary domicile. I bought it with the knowledge that the existing electrical installation isn't up to snuff. The specific issues I'd like to address are that there are no grounded outlets anywhere in the house, many fewer outlets and lights than needed, no GFI circuits, an aluminum input wire to the 100 amp breaker box (the rest of the house is 12 gauge, or better, copper) and no ground stake. The major work will be done by professionals but putting in the missing ground wires, locating and installing the extra outlets and switches along with the attendant new wiring is something I can do. And now, finally, the question I need to have answered is, "When upgrading the existing, ungrounded outlets, will single, naked copper ground wire, ran alongside the existing copper supply and correctly connected to each new, three prong outlet meet code?

William Key
A

Answer:

Hey William thanks for your question. Yes, what you are suggesting can be done if it meets the rules in 250.130(C) and 406.4(D). A "separate" equipment grounding conductor can be run from the new grounding type receptacles (replacing the existing non-grounding type receptacles) but it must be connected to any of the items in 250.130(C). Most of those items are probably near or within the paneboard (breaker box) that supplies the outlets. The separate equipment grounding conductors must be protected from physical damage by being in an identified raceway or cable armor if smaller that 6 AWG.

If you can run a separate equipment grounding conductor to that location why not have new cables installed from the panelboard resulting in a better installation? You don't mention what the "major work" includes but possibly you can help the qualified electrician by doing some of the work under their supervision without it costing much more.

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