What Size Are You Grounding That With!

What Size Are You Grounding That With!

Green Grounding Wire
Green Grounding Wire

When you are considering installing a new electrical device one of the most important factors of the project is your grounding conductor size.  For some projects you may be tempted to use that old ground wire that sits in the junction box to ground the new device.  The problem exist when you use a conductor that’s not sized correctly.  For older homes, you may need to replace the grounding conductor if you have an existing one you are considering using. For any electrical DIY project you are beginning it’s best to be in the know of what exactly you are getting into. Fortunately most new devices are equipped with their own grounding conductor which is sized accordingly.  Here are some tips on sizing that conductor correctly if you are stumped as to where to start!

1)  If the circuit you are working on does not terminate it the junction box, it is ok to allow the conductors to pass through the box without splicing.  This may occur if you are running a separate circuit through the box and terminating at a location “down the line.”  If in question, call your electrician!

2) For equipment grounding conductors it is necessary to use only green wire connectors however for splices, any color may be used.  This can be seen in the code requirements here. NEC. 110.14(B) and 250.148(A)

3) Equipment grounding conductors must only be secured in metal boxes with a grounding screw used solely for that purpose.  Any other fastening which secures other parts, ie plaster rings is not permitted.  A good source of information for this requirement can be found here. NEC 250.148(C)

4)Grounding conductors shall be fastened allowing no disruption in continuity of the circuit if a device or equipment is removed. See NEC code 250.148(B) for information.
The NEC electrical code section 250 covers all of your grounding requirements when installing devices.  Although many of the applications may cover commercial aspects it’s important to follow this code requirement carefully.  Grounding of conductors although one of the more important aspects of electrical installations, sometimes does not get followed according to NEC code.  The reason for this may be because the grounding wire is not viewed as a live wire or just plain careless installation.  Unfortunately there have been instances where the ground wire can become “hot”.  The cause of this may be improper wiring or failing to secure the ground.  Fastening the ground wire and sizing according to code is extremely important!  If you are in question as to whether or not you are sizing that ground wire correctly, always check with an electrician.  It may save your life! For an in depth look at the importance of electrical grounding applications, please see this link.   http://www.teamhumphrey.com/currentsafe/list_of_problems.htm

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This is an original article written by Dave Donahue for Swartz Electric. This article may not be copied whole or in part without the express permission of Swartz Electric, LLC.

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