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Splice in a bare copper ground wire

Posted by cattledoggie (My Page) on
Sat, Jan 17, 09 at 23:34

I know that it is not OK to join hot or neutral wires with a wire nut outside of a juction or switch box. But how about a bare copper ground wire using a crimp connector?

I've got a wire in my wall that a previous owner did just that. He had moved a switch box in the wall and had enough of the black and white wire to make it into the relocated box, but for some reason the ground came up short. So he just added some bare copper wire to the end of the short ground lead and this has caused a splice in the wall outside the switch box.

Any opinions would be welcome.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Splice in a bare copper ground wire

all splices must be in an accessible junction box.

sounds like a pretty clear statement to me. not as dangerous as a spliced hot or neutral, but AFAIK just as against teh code.

RE: Splice in a bare copper ground wire

what are you going to do cut a buch of hole and re run it from box to box its a ground wire. its only used in the case of a short. i think it will be fine.

RE: Splice in a bare copper ground wire

"all splices must be in an accessible junction box.

sounds like a pretty clear statement to me. not as dangerous as a spliced hot or neutral, but AFAIK just as against teh code. "

that statement is not a 100% catch all... You can make splices that don't have to be accessible in a junction box. I have yet to ever see a junction box for a ufer ground that's in a wall. The splice kits they sell for underground splicing are legal as well.
The use of a crimp sleeve is in essence an irreversible means, just like the acron clamps you can get where the head break off (approved to be buried in walls) or butt splices that you can't reverse (again approved to be buried in a wall). I would say that's ok.

however if they had to splice the ground in the wall does that mean the romex sheeting (I'm assuming this is romex?) is cut back to that point and doesn't enter the box? You are supposed to have at least 1/4 inch of sheeting in the box.

RE: Splice in a bare copper ground wire

Not sure if I am able to understand either southhouse or hexus. Try using sentences. Understand davidandkasie just fine. Working in Dallas, very simply, we only make splices in approved and accessable junction boxes.

RE: Splice in a bare copper ground wire

2008 NEC
300.15 Boxes, Conduit Bodies, or Fittings Where Required.

Where the wiring method is conduit, tubing, Type AC cable, Type MC cable, Type MI cable, nonmetallic-sheathed cable, or other cables, a box or conduit body shall be installed at each conductor splice point, outlet point, switch point, junction point, termination point, or pull point, unless otherwise permitted in 300.15(A) through (M).

The exceptions DO NOT allow for NM-B, AKA Romex, to be spliced outside an enclosure of some kind in any circumstances.

Quite simply, any splice in NM-B outside an enclosure is a hack job - period.

RE: Splice in a bare copper ground wire

If we are talking a couple of inches, you may be able to "bring the splice back into the legal fold" by using a double gang remodel box if it allows you to get closer to the splice. Otherwise you may need to relocate the box (using a remodel box you can fit from outside the drywall) further back down the line so you can eliminate or least enclose the splice, and repair/fill the old outlet hole.

I was confused by what Hexus was saying but I think they were referring to the romex (or NM) "SHEATHING" ie the outer insulation needing to extend into the box, so the box clamps are clamped to the outer insulation, with that little bit extending into the box as well.

Whilst in reality PROBABLY no harm is going to come from the ground spliced (if done well) in such a fashion, it's not code and suggests previous owner was a hack so you will probably want to examine every bit of work they've done.

After discovering pretty much everything the previous owners did in my place was a disaster (shelves falling off walls because they NEVER drilled into a stud, although they did manage to drill into a drain/sewer line) I decided new switches and outlets would be nice, wherein I saw all originals were backstabbed. So I am progressively redoing them all.

RE: Splice in a bare copper ground wire

Yes I did mean the outer sheathing of the romex. Also to clarify what I was getting at...
The use of an irreversible clamp/crimp is legal to be buried inside walls for ufer grounds. Personally I see no real difference between that and this. This is not a current carrying conductor, and it is spliced via an irreversible means just like the butt splice connectors and acorn clamp connectors I mentioned used for ufers.

Yes it's true it is not proper, nor does it look clean. Would I do it on one of my professional jobs? No, that's what apprentices are for, to go up in the attic and fish in a new wire :). However I personally don't feel doing something like this would cause any danger or safety concern.

PS - if you're an electrician, not to mention you've proclaimed yourself to be a master electrician on this forum in other posts, and you don't know what a ufer ground is I strongly suggest you find out.

RE: Splice in a bare copper ground wire

While this situation is neither proper or professional, I would not tear out the walls to get a new wire into place. If the walls are already opened, or if it is a quick fix then go ahead and take care of it. However, if it is only for the one switch that you mention I would not worry too much about this particular situation.

RE: Splice in a bare copper ground wire

Not to add fuel to the fire and I wouldn't recommend it under any circumstances, but I do seem to recall the BC electrical code (I can't find my copy right now) allowing soldered splices, but I don't know if that method permitted them to be permanently covered.

RE: Splice in a bare copper ground wire

I've been thinking about this thread. To begin, how did/does the OP know about this alledged splice of the ground wire of a 120V receptacle in the wall? Further, if the wall is closed up, again, how does the OP know that the extension of the ground is not wire nutted instead of a crimp connector or for that matter, extended at all. The OP sucked us into this debate which included a pointless debate about ufer grounds and acron clamps which had nothing to do with the extension of a 12 or 14ga. receptacle ground.

Suggest the OP find something serious to get concerned about.

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