Grounding 2-prong Outlets

Past client emailed today with a question. Would like a few other thoughts.

His Question is Below …

He can, he obviously just doesn’t know how. This would be a piece of cake for someone that has a clue. Tell him to hire an electrician.

Well… a GFCI to protect others and label GFCI protected and No Equipment Ground as required, there’s also exceptions in the codes to allow for a EGC to be ran without cable or raceway for such. What I’ve seen a few people do is to install a GFCI and route a EGC from recept to recept, originating from the now installed GFCI, which of course is wrong.

While unorthodox as it may seem…not really a problem and is an enhancement I would permit but you do have some hurdles to overcome.

Provided you meet the provision of 250.130©…you then can look at the exception below under 250.134(B) below.

Exception No. 1: As provided in 250.130©, the equipment grounding
conductor shall be permitted to be run separately from the circuit

Now the real hurdle is with 250.119 as stated below:

250.119 Identification of Equipment Grounding Conductors.
Unless required elsewhere in this Code, equipment grounding
conductors shall be permitted to be bare, covered, or insulated.
Individually covered or insulated equipment grounding
conductors shall have a continuous outer finish that is either
green or green with one or more yellow stripes except as
permitted in this section. Conductors with insulation or individual
covering that is green, green with one or more yellow
stripes, or otherwise identified as permitted by this section shall
not be used for ungrounded or grounded circuit conductors.

So you will have do deal with this issue…but in many cases you can reach a compromise with the building official. Maybe offer to strip the insulation at both ends, maybe re-identify it with green tape (if they permit it, codes doesn’t in these sizes) and quite possibly the enhancement may impress the AHJ.

Either way…you know the other options in 406.4(D) with regards to GFCI Devices and such.

Another simple solution is to “FISH” up a separate “GREEN” (properly sized) conductor/wire with the new cable you are taking to the box and just ignore the old cable.

Good Luck.

As Paul has stated (nice answer BTW) to the strict wording of the NEC you legally cannot do this as outlined in the OP. I’m sure that an experienced electrician can get a new cable to the existing location and do the job correctly.

Functional ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection provides more safety than an equipment grounding conductor does. I would go the easier and safer route…

I agree … Roy GFCI plug first plug in the string .

Thanks All …

“Thank you for the inquiry, unfortunately I have been advised to not give electrical advice other than recommend a licensed electrician perform all electrical work.”

At least that how that plays out in this state.

I can give advice…lol…

I agree that the GFCI is the “easier” route and I have no feelings against it. However, the OP asked about using the existing cable and installing a separate EGC via the existing cable so that was the reason for the explanation. The question was not about what’s “easier” I don’t believe.

I agree the GFCI reaction time lends itself to being a “safer” solution to a situation of potential exposure than a EGC. However, let’s not discount the importance of an EGC in regards to the reliable function of OCPD’s and building wiring safety. The two are symbiotic in nature and should be respected. Remember that GFCI Devices are not infallible.

The NEC affords the flexibility to a GFCI option because of reality but should never be considered a substitute for lack of EGC’s in new construction. Now I know you HI’s know that but as always I like to establish that for the less educated visitors to the forum who may be new to the subject.

“I can give advice…lol…”

Of course you can! I’ll be referring my past clients that have minimal electrical experience that want to perform repairs on a relative’s home and then screw it up and blame me to you from now on. :mrgreen::mrgreen::mrgreen:

Seriously though, thank you for your contributions on the board.

Send em away…LOL…I can’t fix stupid. However, since most laws permit home owners to do their own electrical work they have every right. So if I can get them at least in the right direction they have a better than 50% chance of surviving the ordeal…:mrgreen:

People go leaps and bounds to avoid a little drywall or plaster work, its absolutely silly.
If somebody wants to upgrade old wiring, there is really only 1 way it should be done, and that’s the correct way.
Laziness and avoidance of a little extra elbow grease on the home’s most dangerous system is inexcusable. If they want to be lazy, GFCI protect them, if they want to redo it then redo it right.

More safety for the person, but not for the 72 inch plasma TV that needs grounded.

I’d ground the outlets. A few access holes in the drywall would be fairly easy to repair.