08:00PM | 01/18/05
Member Since: 08/17/04
16 lifetime posts
I bought a house and rewired 3/4 of it. The reason I rewired it was because some outlets had intermittent hots, no or loose grounds, busted outlets and disconnected neutrals. Also, large chunks of insulation were falling off the existing wiring.

I pulled a permit for the rewire, and was testing all outlets and noticed two outlet boxes have an open ground. The grounds are there with new outlets, and the contacts have been cleaned to ensure good conductivity. I had to hop in the attic and connect the grounds for both outlets to the junction box(Why did the installed who installed this not do this?)

Both boxes(14/2 sheathed electrical cable) go to the attic into a fused junction box(1 20 amp fuse per load.) Current code says this is wrong(14ga for 20 amp circuit) but it is grandfathered in. This junction box connects to the old panel (now another junction box) though 10/3 BX(I believe) wiring. The metallic shield is connected at both junction boxes to provide a ground. From the old panel connects to the new panel through 5 seperate metal conduits, providing a complete ground path to the main panel.

When I plug in the outlet tester to these two outlets, the two orange lights are on, but the ground path is very very dim and flickers quite a bit. I want to say that the metal shield over the BX wire is corroded in the attic causing this (there was a leaky roof when the prev. owner lived here).

I am very aware that I could violate code and jumper the common to ground at the outlet as a temporary solution, but that is not what I want to do (I do want to pass final inspection!).

I do not want to rewire this circuit since I plan on remodeling the front/kitchen (no, these outlets are not in the kitchen, nor are they near water sources) in a few months and do not want to do major modifications now just to tear them back out in a few months. The junction box in the attic is not in a very accessible area either.

Are there any code compliant ways of resolving this issue without a major rewire of this? Granted there is a ground there, it is just the path of ground has a lot of resistance, and probably will fail if 20 amps needs to pass through it in the event something fails and shorts to it. I do want to keep this circuit working, and want safe protection from electric shock.

Is there a way of getting around having an intermittent ground by using the common line per code? All the connections are tight and clean. I also replaced the old wire nuts in the event this was causing the issue. Would a GFI solve my problem?

I am very careful as to not overload this circuit, since it can only safely hold 15 amps by todays code..

Any ideas,



05:01PM | 01/19/05
Member Since: 12/19/04
62 lifetime posts
Sounds to me like a diy'r is responsible for that wiring. First of all #14 wire has never been allowed to be connected to a 20 amp circuit breaker unless it was a 2 pole breaker to a central air conditioner per nameplate rating. There is no grandfather clause related to this. Secondly, did I understand you to say that there is a panel in the attic with two circuit breakers in it and it is in a very inaccessible area? Code violation #2.

If the 10/3 BX is terminated at a 2 pole breaker in the new panel my suggestion would be to remove the fused panel in the attic, locate that junction box in an accessible area where it can be seen, splice the whites from the receptacles to the #10 white, #10 black to one receptacle and #10 red to the other receptacle black. Splice all the grounds together. Then remove the 2 pole breaker protecting the #10's and install 2 15 amp breakers for the receptacles. Still have a problem with the ground? Check that BX cable and your tester. But get the circuit breakers out of the attic. Hope this helps.



05:06PM | 01/19/05
Member Since: 12/19/04
62 lifetime posts
Forgot to mention. Do not under any circumstance connect your neutral from the receptacles to the ground. Under certain circumstances this will create a very severe safety and shock hazard. And most of us when we say "temporary" it turns into years and years. Then we sell the place and the next owner inherits the problem and they are the ones that get hurt due to the failure of the temporary hookup. Find the problem on the grounds and repair it. Should be simple the way it sounds like it is wired. Good luck



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