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View Full Version : GFCI Downstream from Gnd~Neut Short in AFCI protected circuit



Cap'n Preshoot
04-14-2013, 03:26 PM
A neighbor in a single story home recently had a new roof put on. After the job was finished she discovered that turning on (wall switch) her bedroom lights that the AFCI would trip.

The roofing company claimed to not understand how their work could have caused this, but agreed to pay for 1 service call from an independent electrician to investigate before deciding if they would accept responsibility.

The electrician discovered a ground-to-neutral short along an exterior wall of the bedroom between the final two outlets in the run. By unplugging a table lamp from the farthest downstream outlet (downstream of the fault) the AFCI would no longer trip. The electrician checked along the wall (both inside & outside) for the possibility of a stray nail, but found nothing.

Faced with the prospect & expense of having to tear out a portion of the bedroom wall, the roofing co. foreman asked the electrician if there was another option. The electrician said he could either disconnect the two outlets along that wall or he could put a GFCI duplex outlet ahead of the fault and leave the grounds open and taped-off then put a label on the GFCI outlet cover and the 1 outlet cover downstream to indicate "no ground". He said since it was a bedroom that it was unlikely anything other than a 2-wire cord (lamp, clock radio, etc.) would ever be used in either outlet location. He went on to say that the workaround "wasn't code" but would still be safe. His work ticket shows that he charged only for the service call, but did not charge time or material for the illegal fix.

I would be interested in hearing others' thoughts on this.
Thanks!!

timebuilder
04-14-2013, 04:48 PM
A "no ground" GFCI installation is acceptable under the code.

DDC_Dan
04-14-2013, 06:43 PM
A "no ground" GFCI installation is acceptable under the code.

True, but the code also prohibits grounding connections on the load side of the service disconnect. Wouldn't there still be a neutral-ground short, even if the ground wasn't connected to the downstream recepts?

Cap'n Preshoot
04-14-2013, 08:09 PM
After the ground leads were disconnected & isolated & taped back, there would no longer be any ground reference at either the GFCI outlet nor the downstream receptacle. All that remained would only be a conductor fault between the neutral lead and a now unused lead. We had a fairly spirited discussion about it over beers afterwards, but in the end all could agree that the two outlets were both working and safe. The only unanswered question was whether or not an arc fault occurring at the GFCI outlet or downstream from it would still trip the AFCI breaker at the panel. I said it would and was ready to put a C Note on it but AFCI being such a black art we had no way to prove it.

What will be interesting is to see if the residence passes inspection the next time the property changes hands. If the inspector eyeballs the very unusual location of the GFCI outlet in the bedroom and/or spots the "no ground" labels then he/she may red tag it.

timebuilder
04-14-2013, 08:27 PM
Maybe I haven't visualized this accurately. Are you saying the ground to neutral short remains in place? I thought it was between the receptacles....

Cap'n Preshoot
04-14-2013, 09:05 PM
The fault has been isolated and rendered non-affecting by the disconnection of the ground leads on opposing sides of the fault. The location of the fault is inside the wall somewhere within a 10-ft span between two duplex receptacles on that same wall. The homeowner did not want her bedroom wall torn apart, nor was the roofing contractor willing to accept financial responsibility for what could become a several hundred dollar project to fix something he could not possibly have caused.

Electrical service was restored by replacing the upstream outlet with a GFCI receptacle, with upstream (unfaulted) ground connected but with downstream (faulted) ground lead removed and taped back. then removing the ground lead and taping it back at the downstream outlet as well (last outlet on the circuit). Thus the circuit now consists of only the hot and neutral downstream of the GFCI. The faulted conductors are still in use, but the ground wire having been isolated at both sides of the fault eliminates the problem with the AFCI tripping. The GFCI protects the homeowner/occupants from injury and the "no ground" label would seem to be in compliance with NEC.

Unarguably the right way to fix it would be to open the wall and replace the (Romex?) between the two outlets or else disconnect them both, rendering them unusable. The GFCI receptacle was the 3rd option, and while certainly not kosher, restored service to both outlets safely, albeit sans ground.

lytning
04-14-2013, 09:19 PM
Except that arc fault is required in the bedroom. Not GFCI.


The fault has been isolated and rendered non-affecting by the disconnection of the ground leads on opposing sides of the fault. The location of the fault is inside the wall somewhere within a 10-ft span between two duplex receptacles on that same wall. The homeowner did not want her bedroom wall torn apart, nor was the roofing contractor willing to accept financial responsibility for what could become a several hundred dollar project to fix something he could not possibly have caused.

Electrical service was restored by replacing the upstream outlet with a GFCI receptacle, with upstream (unfaulted) ground connected but with downstream (faulted) ground lead removed and taped back. then removing the ground lead and taping it back at the downstream outlet as well (last outlet on the circuit). Thus the circuit now consists of only the hot and neutral downstream of the GFCI. The faulted conductors are still in use, but the ground wire having been isolated at both sides of the fault eliminates the problem with the AFCI tripping. The GFCI protects the homeowner/occupants from injury and the "no ground" label would seem to be in compliance with NEC.

Cap'n Preshoot
04-14-2013, 09:29 PM
Except that arc fault is required in the bedroom. Not GFCI.

My point exactly, which is why I started this thread. The AFCI is still upstream of the entire circuit in the panel and it was my contention (OK, beer-stained thought) that the AFCI would still trip in the event of an ARC Fault event occurring on either side of the GFCI except there was no way to prove it. (Bearing in mind that most all "bedroom appliances" would likely be of a two-wire variety, even if it was a heating pad or electric blanket, the presence of or absence of a ground thereby a non-issue)

lytning
04-14-2013, 09:39 PM
Ok so all the Arc Faults would work as designed because they are 1st in the bedroom circuit. The last on the circuit is the GFCI and that is still on the Arc Fault circuit, due to the Arc Fault breaker. Therefore the GFCI is protected by the Arc Fault breaker. That would cover the NEC as I see it. Still I am not the AHJ.


My point exactly, which is why I started this thread. The AFCI is still upstream of the entire circuit in the panel and it was my contention (OK, beer-stained thought) that the AFCI would still trip in the event of an ARC Fault event occurring on either side of the GFCI except there was no way to prove it. (Bearing in mind that most all "bedroom appliances" would likely be of a two-wire variety, even if it was a heating pad or electric blanket, the presence of or absence of a ground thereby a non-issue)

Cap'n Preshoot
04-14-2013, 09:54 PM
Indeed - - and thanks. As I said earlier, the proof of the pudding will be seen when the property next changes hands and the potential buyer hires an inspector. Most mechanical home inspectors rarely check for electrical issues beyond testing the GFCI in the baths and kitchen. I've never heard of one walking around to verify every single outlet unless they were instructed to spare no effort in finding a way to fail a home to allow the buyer to back out without penalty. As example, my son just sold his 1970-vintage home with aluminum wire throughout and no pigtails. The dime store variety home inspector never looked.

lytning
04-14-2013, 10:06 PM
I think a lot of them do use the 3 prong plug testers.

Indeed - - and thanks. As I said earlier, the proof of the pudding will be seen when the property next changes hands and the potential buyer hires an inspector. Most mechanical home inspectors rarely check for electrical issues beyond testing the GFCI in the baths and kitchen. I've never heard of one walking around to verify every single outlet unless they were instructed to spare no effort in finding a way to fail a home to allow the buyer to back out without penalty. As example, my son just sold his 1970-vintage home with aluminum wire throughout and no pigtails. The dime store variety home inspector never looked.

timebuilder
04-15-2013, 07:29 AM
I think a lot of them do use the 3 prong plug testers.

That's what they use here. It's a lot cheaper than the handheld Amprobe INSP-3.

second opinion
04-15-2013, 12:28 PM
A "no ground" GFCI installation is acceptable under the code.

While your statement in itself is correct, its application to the OP's situation is not applicable.

(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. Grounding-type receptacles supplied through the ground-fault circuit interrupter shall be marked “GFCI Protected” and “No Equipment Ground.” An equipment grounding conductor shall not be connected between the grounding-type receptacles.

(1) Grounding-Type Receptacles. Where a grounding means exists in the receptacle enclosure or an equipment grounding conductor is installed in accordance with 250.130(C), grounding-type receptacles shall be used and shall be connected to the equipment grounding conductor in accordance with 406.4(C) or 250.130(C).

The bedroom is required to be AFCI. The only solution would be to correct the wiring to be safe and legal.

catalina_mike
04-15-2013, 01:04 PM
We had one tripping when a lamp was plugged in. It ended up being a loose wire on one of the plugs! Crazy stuff drove me crazy but it was under warranty... I thought it was the wiring but it works fine and plugging in a lamp does not trip the AFCI breaker.

timebuilder
04-15-2013, 04:59 PM
While your statement in itself is correct, its application to the OP's situation is not applicable.

(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. Grounding-type receptacles supplied through the ground-fault circuit interrupter shall be marked “GFCI Protected” and “No Equipment Ground.” An equipment grounding conductor shall not be connected between the grounding-type receptacles.

(1) Grounding-Type Receptacles. Where a grounding means exists in the receptacle enclosure or an equipment grounding conductor is installed in accordance with 250.130(C), grounding-type receptacles shall be used and shall be connected to the equipment grounding conductor in accordance with 406.4(C) or 250.130(C).

The bedroom is required to be AFCI. The only solution would be to correct the wiring to be safe and legal.

Actually, I am correct.

Since there is no longer a viable grounding conductor installed in either box under the paragraph cited, it is perfectly legal to do what has been done.

second opinion
04-15-2013, 05:59 PM
Actually, I am correct.

Since there is no longer a viable grounding conductor installed in either box under the paragraph cited, it is perfectly legal to do what has been done.

No you are not correct. You cant just arbitrarily change something to make it convenient. 406.3 (D) (3)(c) "NON GROUNDING TYPE RECEPTACLES" was added to allow an option for homes that where wired without an equipment grounding conductor. This home as stated was wired with AFCI so I am positive it was wired with an EGC.

You really should not post information about electrical that can cause damage to someones home or life.

lytning
04-15-2013, 07:35 PM
While I agree with you the gfci recept is protected by the arc fault breaker. I wonder if a piece of wiremold and a new wire would fix the whole situation?


While your statement in itself is correct, its application to the OP's situation is not applicable.

(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. Grounding-type receptacles supplied through the ground-fault circuit interrupter shall be marked “GFCI Protected” and “No Equipment Ground.” An equipment grounding conductor shall not be connected between the grounding-type receptacles.

(1) Grounding-Type Receptacles. Where a grounding means exists in the receptacle enclosure or an equipment grounding conductor is installed in accordance with 250.130(C), grounding-type receptacles shall be used and shall be connected to the equipment grounding conductor in accordance with 406.4(C) or 250.130(C).

The bedroom is required to be AFCI. The only solution would be to correct the wiring to be safe and legal.

second opinion
04-15-2013, 08:02 PM
While I agree with you the gfci recept is protected by the arc fault breaker. I wonder if a piece of wiremold and a new wire would fix the whole situation?

Both outlets on the same wall and the end of the circuit, would be an easy fix.

timebuilder
04-15-2013, 08:55 PM
No you are not correct. You cant just arbitrarily change something to make it convenient. 406.3 (D) (3)(c) "NON GROUNDING TYPE RECEPTACLES" was added to allow an option for homes that where wired without an equipment grounding conductor. This home as stated was wired with AFCI so I am positive it was wired with an EGC.

You really should not post information about electrical that can cause damage to someones home or life.

Let's see if you are right, shall we?

(Okay, I already know the answer :angel:)

There is nothing in the code that says that a grounding conductor must exist between those two outlets. Not in ANY article OR paragraph. If it did, the Code would require the immediate rewiring (repair) of millions of homes and other covered structures.

The Code does not intend, nor has it ever anticipated, suggesting that this should happen, even though its self-mandate is "... the practical safeguarding of persons or property arising from the use of electricity."

The fact that a grounding conductor exists in the AFCI circuit is fine. No code violation, and by extension, no requirement regarding how far the EGC must extend. Nope.

People like to read into the code, and suppose a meaning. That is what is happening in your case.

As soon as the defective EGC was disconnected, it is no longer in play. There is no suitable EGC installed in those boxes, because it now is exposed to objectionable current from the neutral.

The code does not require that the wall be opened, or that the defective cable be repaired. It is a standard of installation requirements, and it is not intended as a standard for repair. In fact, the intent of the Code is limited to 90.1.

Let's sum it up.

In the 2011 Code, Article 406.4 (D) (1) states: "...where a grounding means exists in the receptacle enclosure..."

I am pointing out that since the defective EGC was disconnected and capped off due to its unintended neutral potential, a grounding means no longer exists in the enclosure of the second receptacle, and the conductor in the FIRST outlet box has only ONE grounding means, and that is the existing GOOD EGC coming from the upstream portion of the circuit, and it is the ONLY good EGC. So, now we have settled the question of whether such a repair is covered under the code. The answer is "YES." That is the question for which I provided an answer.

Now, there is a new question: is this an ideal, or "best that can be had" installation? The answer to that is "NO."

In fact, I am one of those curious cats who would have said to the HO that "I have to cut into that section of drywall to make sure there is no damage to the conductors that could case a hazard." That statement is NOT Code, it's just a workmanlike approach to safety.

While I had the wall open, I'd run a new length of cable, clean it up as best I can, and suggest that they let a local handyman replace the drywall I had removed.

The bottom line is this: the Code is not the be-all or end-all of electrical installations. That is the primary reason that 90.2 (B) exists.

So:

Code violation? No.

Best practice? No.

Better to convince the HO to open the wall and replace the cable? YES.

timebuilder
04-15-2013, 09:00 PM
While I agree with you the gfci recept is protected by the arc fault breaker. I wonder if a piece of wiremold and a new wire would fix the whole situation?

It could.

I'd feel better opening up the wall for a non-code look-see, and fix it the way it should be fixed, and in that way, discover the basis for the fault, which could be animal-related, leading to a visit from the pest professional.

Cap'n Preshoot
04-15-2013, 10:09 PM
Thanks for the additional reply and relevant references...

Actually the bedroom *is* AFCI. The line fault was temporarily worked-around with a downstream GFCI that does not appear to adversely affect the circuit protection afforded by the AFCI in the panel (or the added GFCI in the bedroom). I think everyone is in agreement that it is not "code" but for the time being no one has been able to state definitively that the circuit is any less safe than it was previous to the fault appearing and the addition of the GFCI as a temporary getaround. Unarguably a proper repair (rewiring) needs to be done, but until it gets done no one has (so far) been able to prove that the occupant is at any risk of fire or shock. We can all sit around the campfire over friendly beers while quoting NEC scripture, but until the AHJ rules, it is what it is.

I've a hunch the electrician who put in the GFCI purposely omitted listing his addt'l time & materials, only charging for the svc call on purpose because he likely knew it wouldn't survive an electrical inspection. The yellow copy of the ticket I saw only said " svc call minimum chg, reset tripped breaker" - which he in fact did. (among other non-itemized work). The amt. charged was $69. Ergo no documented proof of what work was actually done.

Cap'n Preshoot
04-15-2013, 10:40 PM
It could.

I'd feel better opening up the wall for a non-code look-see, and fix it the way it should be fixed, and in that way, discover the basis for the fault, which could be animal-related, leading to a visit from the pest professional.

These homes are in the county (Fort Bend), outside city jurisdiction, and no county inspector. As such a group of Hispanic workers w/minimal English skills do the rough-ins then a day or two after the drywall crew leaves the same gang shows up to install the receptacles & covers. Later that same day a guy in a truck with a TECL lic # posted on the side shows up to make the tie-in from the meter base to the panel then calls for the meter to be set. Usually by the following noon a a Centerpoint truck shows up with the meter and a megger. As long as it's clear at the meter base & properly grounded, he sets the meter and moves on. It's not like working in town at all. Out in the county it's the wild West.

In non-jurisdictional construction you're apt to see all sorts of horror stories unfold with some wiring faults created by pulling through the stud at an angle thereby severely abrading the jacket or crushing the insulation under wire staples. It is plausible this is what you'd likely find inside that wall. I doubt it's a nail as the wall studs are required to have steel anti-nail barriers on the interior-facing side of the stud, preventing the drywall crew from putting a nail into the wire. The exterior wall (Hardi-Plank or brick) is already attached when the rough-in crew comes through. Lovely homes, but if you could see one going up you'd make the sign of the cross with your foot.

second opinion
04-15-2013, 11:23 PM
Let's see if you are right, shall we?

(Okay, I already know the answer :angel:)

There is nothing in the code that says that a grounding conductor must exist between those two outlets. Not in ANY article OR paragraph. If it did, the Code would require the immediate rewiring (repair) of millions of homes and other covered structures.

The Code does not intend, nor has it ever anticipated, suggesting that this should happen, even though its self-mandate is "... the practical safeguarding of persons or property arising from the use of electricity."

The fact that a grounding conductor exists in the AFCI circuit is fine. No code violation, and by extension, no requirement regarding how far the EGC must extend. Nope.

People like to read into the code, and suppose a meaning. That is what is happening in your case.

As soon as the defective EGC was disconnected, it is no longer in play. There is no suitable EGC installed in those boxes, because it now is exposed to objectionable current from the neutral.

The code does not require that the wall be opened, or that the defective cable be repaired. It is a standard of installation requirements, and it is not intended as a standard for repair. In fact, the intent of the Code is limited to 90.1.

Let's sum it up.

In the 2011 Code, Article 406.4 (D) (1) states: "...where a grounding means exists in the receptacle enclosure..."

I am pointing out that since the defective EGC was disconnected and capped off due to its unintended neutral potential, a grounding means no longer exists in the enclosure of the second receptacle, and the conductor in the FIRST outlet box has only ONE grounding means, and that is the existing GOOD EGC coming from the upstream portion of the circuit, and it is the ONLY good EGC. So, now we have settled the question of whether such a repair is covered under the code. The answer is "YES." That is the question for which I provided an answer.

Now, there is a new question: is this an ideal, or "best that can be had" installation? The answer to that is "NO."

In fact, I am one of those curious cats who would have said to the HO that "I have to cut into that section of drywall to make sure there is no damage to the conductors that could case a hazard." That statement is NOT Code, it's just a workmanlike approach to safety.

While I had the wall open, I'd run a new length of cable, clean it up as best I can, and suggest that they let a local handyman replace the drywall I had removed.

The bottom line is this: the Code is not the be-all or end-all of electrical installations. That is the primary reason that 90.2 (B) exists.

So:

Code violation? No.

Best practice? No.

Better to convince the HO to open the wall and replace the cable? YES.
406.4 General Installation Requirements. Receptacle outlets shall be located in branch circuits in accordance with Part III of Article 210. General installation requirements shall be in accordance with 406.4(A) through (F).

(A) Grounding Type. Receptacles installed on 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits shall be of the grounding type. Grounding-type receptacles shall be installed only on circuits of the voltage class and current for which they are rated, except as provided in Table 210.21(B)(2) and Table 210.21(B)(3).

Exception: Nongrounding-type receptacles installed in accordance with 406.4(D).

(B) To Be Grounded. Receptacles and cord connectors that have equipment grounding conductor contacts shall have those contacts connected to an equipment grounding conductor.

Exception No. 1: Receptacles mounted on portable and vehicle-mounted generators in accordance with 250.34.

Exception No. 2: Replacement receptacles as permitted by 406.4(D).

(C) Methods of Grounding. The equipment grounding conductor contacts of receptacles and cord connectors shall be grounded by connection to the equipment grounding conductor of the circuit supplying the receptacle or cord connector.

Perhaps you can elaborate on the highlighted items.

timebuilder
04-16-2013, 06:35 AM
406.4 General Installation Requirements. Receptacle outlets shall be located in branch circuits in accordance with Part III of Article 210. General installation requirements shall be in accordance with 406.4(A) through (F).

(A) Grounding Type. Receptacles installed on 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits shall be of the grounding type. Grounding-type receptacles shall be installed only on circuits of the voltage class and current for which they are rated, except as provided in Table 210.21(B)(2) and Table 210.21(B)(3).

Exception: Nongrounding-type receptacles installed in accordance with 406.4(D).

(B) To Be Grounded. Receptacles and cord connectors that have equipment grounding conductor contacts shall have those contacts connected to an equipment grounding conductor.

Exception No. 1: Receptacles mounted on portable and vehicle-mounted generators in accordance with 250.34.

Exception No. 2: Replacement receptacles as permitted by 406.4(D).

(C) Methods of Grounding. The equipment grounding conductor contacts of receptacles and cord connectors shall be grounded by connection to the equipment grounding conductor of the circuit supplying the receptacle or cord connector.

Perhaps you can elaborate on the highlighted items.

There is only one Code pertinent item that needs to be noticed.

"General INSTALLATION requirements."

This is not an installation.

Installations require a plan and a complete set of materials in order to provide electric services to a given structure or area of a structure.

In order for this to be an installation, the service to the area in question must be removed or abandoned in place as would be appropriate. Then, a new set of materials, using a Chapter 3 wiring method would be employed. AT THAT POINT, all of the citations you listed would come into play. The suggestion of wiremold as a response to this situation is appropriate under the Code, and it would indeed be the least invasive choice of a Chapter 3 wiring method, and it WOULD be an installation.

406.4 (D) (2) (b) and (c) cover the use of the GFCI in this case.

Cap'n Preshoot
04-16-2013, 06:40 AM
This I believe is one of, if not the operative statement:




People like to read into the code, and suppose a meaning.


What the code specified during the construction phase was met. Beyond the point of the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy, everything else is vague and ambiguous (at least IMO.)

We can agree that repairs are "needed" but to say that they are "required" is a whole other matter. No one (to me at least) has made a satisfactory argument.

AFCI in itself is something of a black art. You can ask 100 licensed electricians to explain how it works and expect 100 different answers. Even one EE I discussed AFCI with said the technology is "FM" (....... magic). Most here likely have a complete understanding of GFCI. By contrast AFCI functions on the basis of a specific waveform - and that's about all anyone can say.

timebuilder
04-16-2013, 06:50 AM
This I believe is one of, if not the operative statement:



What the code specified during the construction phase was met. Beyond the point of the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy, everything else is vague and ambiguous (at least IMO.)

We can agree that repairs are "needed" but to say that they are "required" is a whole other matter. No one (to me at least) has made a satisfactory argument.

AFCI in itself is something of a black art. You can ask 100 licensed electricians to explain how it works and expect 100 different answers. Even one EE I discussed AFCI with said the technology is "FM" (....... magic). Most here likely have a complete understanding of GFCI. By contrast AFCI functions on the basis of a specific waveform - and that's about all anyone can say.

The AFCI uses an algorithm that looks at the waveform's rise time, harmonic structure, and short duration transients that were identified in lab tests to correspond to arc faults.

catalina_mike
04-16-2013, 10:26 AM
What I have done in a freshen up of a rental we bought was to replace the electrical outlets in plugs without grounds where none were in the original wiring. People change the outlets out with incorrect devices all the time. This way there is no expiation of a grounded circuit! I think all these points are valid and discussion is information, however at the point of a certificate of occupancy the space was in compliance with local codes, assuming the inspector was paying attention. The key is to explain to the customer the issue and give them options. If he wants you to do something you believe is not prudent (from your side of perception or beliefs) then don't do it and like what you see in the mirror. I definitely would have changed the plug outlets as well so no grounding expectation occurs in the future.

second opinion
04-16-2013, 10:40 AM
There is only one Code pertinent item that needs to be noticed.

"General INSTALLATION requirements."

This is not an installation.

Installations require a plan and a complete set of materials in order to provide electric services to a given structure or area of a structure.

In order for this to be an installation, the service to the area in question must be removed or abandoned in place as would be appropriate. Then, a new set of materials, using a Chapter 3 wiring method would be employed. AT THAT POINT, all of the citations you listed would come into play. The suggestion of wiremold as a response to this situation is appropriate under the Code, and it would indeed be the least invasive choice of a Chapter 3 wiring method, and it WOULD be an installation.

406.4 (D) (2) (b) and (c) cover the use of the GFCI in this case.

You where actually allowed to fly a plane?

406.3 are general installation requirements for installing a receptacle under different circumstances, not new construction only. (A) requires a grounding type, (B) requires it to be grounded to an equipment grounding conductor, (C) requires it to be connected to the equipment grounding conductor of the circuit supplying the receptacle that you state is not required anywhere in the code, (D) is the requirements for REPLACEMENT not an original installation as you purport the code only pertains too, (2) is the requirements for GFCI,(3) is for "again" REPLACEMENTof receptacles of the non grounding type (a),(b),(c) are the requirements for the subsection.

timebuilder
04-16-2013, 03:05 PM
You where actually allowed to fly a plane?

406.3 are general installation requirements for installing a receptacle under different circumstances, not new construction only. (A) requires a grounding type, (B) requires it to be grounded to an equipment grounding conductor, (C) requires it to be connected to the equipment grounding conductor of the circuit supplying the receptacle that you state is not required anywhere in the code, (D) is the requirements for REPLACEMENT not an original installation as you purport the code only pertains too, (2) is the requirements for GFCI,(3) is for "again" REPLACEMENTof receptacles of the non grounding type (a),(b),(c) are the requirements for the subsection.

I think you mean "were" actually allowed to fly a plane.

And work as an instructor of aviation science, holding CFI, CFII, and Multiengine instructor certificates. I flew members of three white house administrations, including Andy Card.

Since you asked.

Now, back to this merry go round. We have a lot of similar discussions in aviation, due to the disagreements pilots have over the intent of Title 14 CFR.

Let me spell this out for you.

I have explained that this is not an installation but a repair that is permitted under the code.

I did not mention new construction, and I explained that the use of wire mold which is an approved chapter 3 wiring method would be an installation.

There is no usable grounding conductor available at this time. It was removed from service, and nothing, repeat nothing, in the code mandates that the grounding conductor must be replaced.

If it was the intent of the code to force people to open walls and replace wiring so that it would be exactly as printed it all the articles, there would be an uproar.

The code has no such intention. It covers the installation of wiring according to chapter 3 wiring methods, and it spells out the requirements for those INSTALLATIONS.

I recommend you go back over my posts above and read them a couple times, and maybe it will sink in.

wolfdog
04-16-2013, 05:12 PM
250.130 would seem to indicate that a GFCI can be used for a non grounded existing installation.
Otherwise the requirements for equipment grounding are spelled out.
That would preclude modifying a damaged installation as described above.

timebuilder
04-16-2013, 06:09 PM
250.130 would seem to indicate that a GFCI can be used for a non grounded existing installation.
Otherwise the requirements for equipment grounding are spelled out.
That would preclude modifying a damaged installation as described above.

I've been though several code cycles, and I can't say that I remember seeing a reference to "modifying existing installations."

The code is about standards for installation. That is its purpose: installations essentially free from hazard.

The code does not address repairs, or institute a mandate for repairs.

IF, and that's a big "IF," the authority having jurisdiction wants to mandate a code level inspection for a repair, then that is THEIR mandate. It is not a mandate of the code itself.

If an AHJ wants to have a laundry list of electrical standards from the code made a requirement for a certificate of occupancy, then once again, that is a THEIR mandate.

The code CAN, and often, IS, used for these purposes. However, the code itself covers installations. If you have an outlet string, and you want to extend it, you get a permit from your AHJ, and the standards created in the code which are the basis of the IRC will be used to determine if the installation meets the required standards set forth in the underlying Code sections. Notice that this is not "new construction."

It's worth pointing out that the equipment grounding conductor is intended to provide an Effective Ground Fault Current Path, as described in 250.2. Similarly, it cannot be connected to the neutral at any point in the circuit other than the cabinet where the main bonding jumper connects the neutral bar to the cabinet.

In this case, we have a known connection of some type between the EGC and the neutral in an inaccessible space, and this raises the possibility that we no longer have the effective ground fault current path that is needed to meet the standard surrounding the EGC. That is why it was removed from service. At that point, it is as if it no longer exists, because it cannot be relied upon to perform its intended function.

Once again, the best scenario is to fully eliminate the hazard by exposing and repairing the wiring, or eliminating it from the energy source entirely, and proceed with the installation of a chapter 3 wiring method to take its place.

In some places, there may be a standard that all existing electrical systems MUST be up to the most recent code cycle, and once again, that is up to the AHJ. If THEY choose, they CAN use the code for that purpose. As we know, even more restrictive AHJ environments exist, going beyond the code into their own world of regulatory requirements, such as Chicago and New York.

That is up to them, and the people that are willing to vote them into office.

timebuilder
04-16-2013, 08:00 PM
You where actually allowed to fly a plane?

406.3 are general installation requirements for installing a receptacle under different circumstances, not new construction only.

Installations, not new construction.


(A) requires a grounding type, (B) requires it to be grounded to an equipment grounding conductor,

If you have a usable EGC....


(C) requires it to be connected to the equipment grounding conductor of the circuit supplying the receptacle that you state is not required anywhere in the code,

I state that it is not required to be replaced anywhere in the code. Context is important.

If you are INSTALLING these devices and the appropriate wiring system, chapters 1 through 4 require the use of an EGC, along with all of the other requirements.


(D) is the requirements for REPLACEMENT not an original installation as you purport the code only pertains too, (2) is the requirements for GFCI,(3) is for "again" REPLACEMENTof receptacles of the non grounding type (a),(b),(c) are the requirements for the subsection.

..when there is a EGC that can be used. Apparently, this one can't be used.

I did not use the term "original." In fact, I made clear my meaning when I described the installation of wiremold, which is an approved wiring method, as being an "installation."

These posts are too difficult to parse out on the cell phone. Thanks for your patience.

Cap'n Preshoot
04-16-2013, 08:59 PM
The AFCI uses an algorithm that looks at the waveform's rise time, harmonic structure, and short duration transients that were identified in lab tests to correspond to arc faults.

Thanks. So far that's the best explanation I've heard. Next question: Does an AFCI circuit breaker provide ground fault protection? I'm assuming it would since the circuit ground makes a home run back to the AFCI, rather than to the ground bus.

Finally - the original question (post #1 in this thread) was intended to get others' opinions on this particular situation, which admittedly is somewhat unique. I certainly did not intend to get a fight started. I feel like I have probably met several of your "personalities" here in my lifetime and realize that the articles in the handbook are interpreted by some and taken as gospel by others. In my (now retired) career in commercial broadcast our work was governed by both the NEC and a litany of federal rules & regs, many of which were part & parcel of US Code. Did we break some rules along the way? Sure. Every station does, though not intentionally. Ever receive a "Notice of Apparent Violation"? Yes, though not for violating technical practices governing signal and power (100 kw), rather for the words of a foul-mouthed late-night DJ who frequently liked to push the envelope and went too far once too often. We were also cited a few times by the FAA for the tower beacon & side markers being off. (sometimes it's hard to keep these lit in the two weeks prior to the start of deer season) :)

wolfdog
04-16-2013, 09:13 PM
To try to limit the NEC to only "new, planned and permitted" installations is weak and short sighted.
Try getting a" Certificate of Occupancy" and you will be judged on all the work performed since the building was built until now with the NEC as the standard.

About the 3rd page under "History and Developement of the National Electrical Code" -last paragraph in part says tht among other uses it is for building construction amd management.

Article 110.1 says for examination and approval,installation and use.....etc.

While the NEC does not lay out penalties or sanctions for failure to maintain standards in the installation, it also does not lay out sanctions or penalties for the failure to install it correctly to start with. The introduction states the the NEC is purely advisory and that no attempt is made to compel compliance.,that is up to each AHJ to emplement and enforce.

The original post has a problem and the right way is to find out where the short is.
Any of the proposed solutions falls short of fulfilling NEC requirements.

Cap'n Preshoot
04-16-2013, 09:38 PM
To try to limit the NEC to only "new, planned and permitted" installations is weak and short sighted.
Try getting a" Certificate of Occupancy" and you will be judged on all the work performed since the building was built until now with the NEC as the standard.


In town, absolutely. In newly built subdivisions or remodeled homes out in the county, many have never heard of a CO. Talk to builders they will tell you their construction costs are substantially higher where they have to deal with a building inspector. Pulling permits is only a small piece of the equation. Meeting the inspector's requirements to keep the job from getting red-tagged is the majority of those addt'l costs. In the city of Bellaire, TX (surrounded by the city of Houston) you cannot use #14 AWG except maybe as a pull string. Plumbers can't use PEX and roofers can't use staples. Out in the county you see it all, even framers using #2 lumber.

timebuilder
04-17-2013, 06:42 AM
Thanks. So far that's the best explanation I've heard. Next question: Does an AFCI circuit breaker provide ground fault protection? I'm assuming it would since the circuit ground makes a home run back to the AFCI, rather than to the ground bus.

Finally - the original question (post #1 in this thread) was intended to get others' opinions on this particular situation, which admittedly is somewhat unique. I certainly did not intend to get a fight started. I feel like I have probably met several of your "personalities" here in my lifetime and realize that the articles in the handbook are interpreted by some and taken as gospel by others. In my (now retired) career in commercial broadcast our work was governed by both the NEC and a litany of federal rules & regs, many of which were part & parcel of US Code. Did we break some rules along the way? Sure. Every station does, though not intentionally. Ever receive a "Notice of Apparent Violation"? Yes, though not for violating technical practices governing signal and power (100 kw), rather for the words of a foul-mouthed late-night DJ who frequently liked to push the envelope and went too far once too often. We were also cited a few times by the FAA for the tower beacon & side markers being off. (sometimes it's hard to keep these lit in the two weeks prior to the start of deer season) :)


I think that's a "no." It would be nice, though.

In my radio days, I pushed the envelope VERY gently, unlike our morning guy out of NY who is now on satellite radio. I helped build our "new" studio, where we retired the old Gates Executive board and went to a "modern" unit with slide faders. Fancy stuff for 1985.....

timebuilder
04-17-2013, 07:12 AM
To try to limit the NEC to only "new, planned and permitted" installations is weak and short sighted.
Try getting a" Certificate of Occupancy" and you will be judged on all the work performed since the building was built until now with the NEC as the standard.

About the 3rd page under "History and Developement of the National Electrical Code" -last paragraph in part says tht among other uses it is for building construction amd management.

Article 110.1 says for examination and approval,installation and use.....etc.

While the NEC does not lay out penalties or sanctions for failure to maintain standards in the installation, it also does not lay out sanctions or penalties for the failure to install it correctly to start with. The introduction states the the NEC is purely advisory and that no attempt is made to compel compliance.,that is up to each AHJ to emplement and enforce.

The original post has a problem and the right way is to find out where the short is.
Any of the proposed solutions falls short of fulfilling NEC requirements.

Yes. The Code has no, repeat, NO "stand alone" authority.

It is only authoritative WHEN and WHERE it is adopted for use, in whole or in part, by the "authority having jurisdiction."

The intent is made clear in article 90. Repair work is not an intent of the code. It is great for guidance in these matters, and it is a good idea for electricians to look to the code, in addition to their own experience and professional work ethic, for guidance. In this way, AHJ inspectors and other regulatory personnel can be somewhere close to being on the same page as the people in the field doing the installations.

The last part of the post above, with boldface for emphasis, is not entirely correct. Wiremold IS an accepted chapter 3 wiring method, and its use WOULD be acceptable under the NEC as an installation. A cable with no ground would NOT be acceptable as an installation, but this is not an installation. This is an excellent example of intent and meaning.

Let me say it again. Regardless of applicability of the code, I would want to open the wall and find the defect, replace the damaged conductors and make a new installation, according to code as a minimum requirement, and direct the HO to a handyman or drywall contractor to close it back in. That is indeed the best approach, although it is certainly the most expensive in dollars.

A GFCI installation without a usable EGC is better than one withgout a GFCI. We have shown that such a GFCI installation is permitted by code. Would any of us find this to be good enough, regarless of the code? Probably not, but that is a decision of a well-informed HO, and I'd want to make clear my desire to not have a damaged cable remaining energized in a wall.

Are we all on the same page now?

wolfdog
04-17-2013, 08:32 AM
No we are not.

I think I will withdraw from the electrical area and then it will not matter.

timebuilder
04-17-2013, 11:12 AM
No we are not.

I think I will withdraw from the electrical area and then it will not matter.

I think thats a little bit like saying that when a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound.

I also think that it matters that people understand the code, how and when it applies, and who gets to apply it, in the sense of official regulatory authority.

Would you say that the best idea involves opening the wall, finding the fault, and correcting it?

lytning
04-17-2013, 12:02 PM
Not knowing what caused the problem is not a good idea. Were it me I would open the wall or disconnect the questionable wire from the supply. If this was caused by an animal in the wall we could well have a potential for a fire. If it isn't right than it is not safe. I hope the smoke detectors are all working.


I think thats a little bit like saying that when a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound.

I also think that it matters that people understand the code, how and when it applies, and who gets to apply it, in the sense of official regulatory authority.

Would you say that the best idea involves opening the wall, finding the fault, and correcting it?

timebuilder
04-17-2013, 12:12 PM
Not knowing what caused the problem is not a good idea. Were it me I would open the wall or disconnect the questionable wire from the supply. If this was caused by an animal in the wall we could well have a potential for a fire. If it isn't right than it is not safe. I hope the smoke detectors are all working.

That's exactly what I was thinking when I mentioned the pest professional above.

Cap'n Preshoot
04-17-2013, 10:11 PM
I think that's a "no." It would be nice, though.

In my radio days, I pushed the envelope VERY gently, unlike our morning guy out of NY who is now on satellite radio. I helped build our "new" studio, where we retired the old Gates Executive board and went to a "modern" unit with slide faders. Fancy stuff for 1985.....

In its heyday the main engine room housed an RF-Harris FM-20H5, my first experience with ceramic tubes. I recall the exciter deck had a pair of 4CX250B's driving a 4cx20000 making 19.5 kw at the flange with a phased array of "garbage cans" topside (1,055 ft) making about 99.6 kw ERP in an omni pattern. We'd blow transmitter cooling air back into the studio in the winter for heat. I vaguely recall a Gates System 70 automation that we put in when we automated everything but AM & PM drive time. Sure a lot of sad faces over that decision, but ad revenue was in the crapper and advertisers translate into salaries. Big signal but a small market. Station owners played Russian Roulette with various formats, initially country, then talk, then religious, finally Hip-Hop (geeze). Think 'Clear Channel' finally bought it at a fire sale price. Tower was strobed around Y2K, lots harder to hit with 30:06 :) A lot of sacred cows slaughtered over the years, today there's no longer even a full time CE on staff. One guy now supports a half dozen stations and most of that is via remote over VPN. I don't think the guy even has his ticket. Both 1st & 2nd Phone licenses were downgraded to general in the early 80s. FCC hasn't required it in broadcast in years, now just wallpaper. Onus for technical compliance is now on the owners. Good to be retired.

Alas we've drifted OT, so I shall bid you farewell. Thanks to all for input.

timebuilder
04-18-2013, 10:02 AM
I remember when they downgraded to the general license. I was just getting ready to sit for my first class. I was kinda PO'd about that.