need advice for fixing a bad wiring job

njitgradJune 5, 2013

I made a short video explaining a problem with some underground wiring (for my irrigation system and an outdoor outlet) that I want to correct. The previous owner did an amateur job and its time I fixed it. Let me know if my plan sounds like a good one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bad wiring job

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Ron Natalie

The irrigation system zone valve while sloppy isn't really a code issue. The UF coming through the wall and exposed into the dirt is patently illegal and unsafe as you realized.

As for what you do, it on it's face looks OK. Are you going to run conduit all the way to that outside box? Is there some reason why you just don't mount the receptacle box directly to the house? Is there some reason it's standing up on it's own?

Once you're outside likely outside you are likely in a wet area (I can guarantee it since you have a sprinkler head spraying on it) and underground is ALWAYS in a wet area. You must use some wet rated conductors. If you're going to continue direct bury of the outside cable, you can use UF claiming the conduit is only for protection from damage. If you're going to use conduit all the way, it would be better to use THWN of an appropriate gauge.

What I don't see (doesn't mean it's not there) is GFCI. Both that receptacle in the garage and the outside one need to be protected by GFCI.

Make sure whatever conduit you are rated for sunlight exposure.

Your idea to keep the sprinkler zone valves in a seperate set of boxes is good. The insulation on the low voltage zone valve wiring is probably not good enough to pass through where 110V terminations are made.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 11:42AM
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Thanks for the advice.

Per your suggestion, I will be moving the electrical box out of the ground and onto the vinyl siding. It will be mounted at the same height as my garden hose bib which means I'll be able to drill through the sill plate instead of drilling through cinderblock.

A couple of other things...the electrical box (which I've already removed from the ground) is still in very good shape. It has a like-new GFCI outlet in it and I plan to reuse it. Since the outlet in my garage is on the same breaker (but not in series with the light switch that controls the outdoor outlet) should it be changed to a GFCI outlet as well? I was always under the impression that you could only have on GFCI outlet per breaker.

When mounting the outlet box I will be drilling a hole through my sill plate to the exterior of the home. I assume you just keep drilling (eventually through the vinyl siding) until you see daylight. The question I have is how to mount the box in such a way to make the hole I just drilled protected from moisture? First I have to install a romex connector in the knockout and snake the wire through the wall. Then what? Is there a compound that fills the hole?

Next question....specifically what type of wet-rated wire should I use from the box inside the basement to the outlet on the outside of the house. I will only need about 18 inches or so of this wire so I'm hoping it can be purchased in very short lengths. Maybe at HD I can buy it by the foot off a spool.

After I run the wire through the hole should I seal it from the inside in my basement with any type of cement before mounting the metal box?

Below is another video I posted showing the new plan, some work already in progress, and more questions that I have moving forward.

Additional help would be greatly appreciated...

Here is a link that might be useful: revised re-wiring plan

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 10:13AM
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Ron Natalie

You are wrong about the GFCI per breaker. It's advisable not to connect one GFCI to the protected side of another, you can have any number of GFCI's on the same circuit.

If you're just going to run through the wall to the box without conduit, you can just use UF or NM (Romex) you don't need the individual conductors.

HD will sell you the wire by the foot. Note that you must use the right colors (white for the neutral, green for the ground, and some OTHER color for the hot).

Since fireblocking isn't likely a requirement here, your favorite household (Silicone or whatever) caulk will be fine.
If you need something that meets fireblocking rules, they sell a sealant for that purpose (it comes a couple of ways, one is sort of in a caulk tube like thing, the other appears to be like a block of modelling clay.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:03AM
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Confused about the GFCI. Your saying I SHOULD put a GFCI in the garage, right? My hot wire coming into the box is wire-nutted to two black conductors (one goes to my switch, and the other to my currently non-GFCI outlet). The other end of the switch is connected to the hot leaving the box (to outdoors). The white neutral wire returning to the box (from outdoors) is wire-nutted with the white wire from my non-GFCI outlet and the white wire coming into the box from my panel.

When I had my panel upgraded to 200A two years ago prior to moving in, the electrician installed a quad outlet near my panel. In that box, only one of the two outlets is GFCI. Are you implying that both should have been GFCI? The town inspector approved the job.

Moving on...from the metal junction box on the wall in my basement, through the cinder block, and into the outlet box, your saying I can use NM Romex? I have plenty of 14-2 Romex lying around.

If using silicone to fill the hole, what's the best way to do this? Run the wire through then fill the hole from the outside and inside with silicone, let it dry, then attach the boxes and make my connections? Never did this before so I'm just trying to visualize.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:48AM
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For the quad at the panel, most likely the non-GFCI outlet is protected by the GFCI outlet right next to it. I have the same setup at my workbench.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:44PM
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That was my assumption as well, however ronnatalie is suggesting otherwise for my configuration unless I completely misunderstood which is certainly possible.

The question re-phrased would be, under what conditons would you use more than one GFCI outlet on a single breaker?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:51PM
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After moving the overhead electric underground and off the house, we are planning to put three outlets on a wrap around deck/porch. This will be one circuit with three GFCI. The wires from one to another GFCI will be taken from the line rather than the load side of the GFCI. If I trip one the other two will still be on rather than the whole circuit being out.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 8:04PM
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I do that also. In my case, the circuit first goes to a GFCI on my front porch which shares a wall with a bathroom. The original circuit went from the load of that GFCI into the bathroom for the lights, fan, and outlet. However, that outdoor GFCI would trip from time to time. I didn't like going outside to reset it. So I redid the circuit to go from the line side and installed a 2nd GFCI in the bathroom. No more going outside.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 8:04AM
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