240 volt wiring

I purchased an electric heater for my garage that requires 240V and about 25 amps. I'm looking for a little advice on how to wire up an outlet to go with it.
Right now I have a box with the wiring pretty much ready to be routed out. The main wiring from the house has black, white and red, with the black and white each going through a 40 amp fuse. The outlet I need says NEMA 6-30, it's rated for 30 amps and has two horizontal prongs plus ground. I believe the correct way to wire it is with the black and red to the horizontal prongs (the ground is just for safety). My question is about the ground. There is no ground currently wired into the garage, should I connect the white wire, leave it disconnected, or what? Is there some relatively easy way to make a good ground? I wouldn't mind switching over my 110 outlets to 3-prong as well.
Thanks.
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25
and
believe
to
This is Turtle.
In the modern world we have everything grounded and feel safe by doing it. I would not have a electric heat in my home , if it was not grounded. Run ground wires for everything. The putting on the ground prong of the receptical and plugs was the single best thing that stopped a lot of fires and people getting killed by the electricity.
TURTLE
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Please fill in some details. Is the garage detached? What wiring method is used to supply the garage? i.e. rigid metallic conduit, triplex, rigid nonmetallic (PVC). Is there a bare or green insulated wire run with the black red and white? Is the box you already have in the garage a junction box or a panel cabinet?
I will need this information to provide you with good answers to your questions. -- Tom
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Hi Tom,
I will try to answer the best I can, hopefully it'll be enough. The garage is detached and there are actually two metal boxes in the garage. The main fuse-box inside the house has two 40 amp fuses going to the garage. In the garage, in the big box, I see the wiring coming from the house. I'm not sure what guage, but it is a very large cable with three insulated, stranded wires inside: red, white and black. That's all, there is no green or bare. The wiring goes underground from the house, all I can see is a metal conduit coming up from the garage slab into a junction box and then wire to the big box described above.
Inside the big box the white is wired to a lug on the side of the box, and the black and red are wired to fuses. At present the output side of these fuses go noplace. This is where I intend to wire from. The white, red and black are also wired out (unfused) to a smaller box where four 15 amp circuits of 110 are made and the fuses are in this box. The larger box has a large on/off lever switch on the side which currently does nothing, but will be a nice emergency off for the heater.
Now that you made me look, I see that my solution is probably to derive ground from the metal condiuit between the house and the garage. Do you agree? I could just clamp maybe some 10 guage wire to the conduit and run it into the boxes as a ground source.
Thanks.

about 25

out.
and
6-30,
believe
ground.
easy
outlets to

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Is the wiring underground run in a continuos rigid metal conduit? If it is continuous and has not rusted away it can indeed be used as the Equipment Grounding Conductor.
What kind of cable is in the raceway? The presence of cable suggest that the rigid metal conduit is only risers to provide protection from the bottom of the trench to the first enclosure.
To test for continuity of the feeder raceway you need to pull the two forty ampere fuses at the house and isolate the white wire from the lug in the garage and from the neutral buss bar in the house panel cabinet. Use an ohm meter to check the white wire to make sure it is clear of faults to the raceway. Then reconnect it to the neutral buss in the house panel cabinet. Then check for continuity between the neutral that remains isolated at the garage and the cabinet of the garage Over Current Protective Devices (OCPDs). If continuity is found it will indicate a conductive loop via the white neutral wire through the neutral bar of the house panel, the main bonding jumper, the house panel's cabinet, to the raceway, and back to the garage. Then you can separate the grounded current carrying conductor of the feeder from the garage OCPD enclosure cabinet. Do that test and let us know what you find.
Is the large switch you spoke of in the cabinet or is it a separate enclosed switch? Are the two unused fuses you spoke of part of an enclosed switch assembly? Are the conductors from the house and the conductors to the separate fuse panel terminated in the same terminals? -- Tom Horne
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25
and
believe
to
Well, let me first state that I am providing suggestions based on the information you provided, and it is your discretion to take or discard the information I give you.
May I also say that I graduated from a technical vocational high school with Electrical being my major and I have over three thousand hours of residential and commercial electrical work under my belt... Anyway.. I think I should have been a lawyer. 8-)
I assume the box is in your garage with the wires from the main panel. I have to assume you have mistyped the " with the black and WHITE each going through a 40 amp fuse " If you are mistaken, the black and RED wires should be the ones going thru the "fuses". If you were correct, change the wires a.s.a.p I have to assume you have actual fuses and not circuit breakers.
First things first - You have to verify the wires are capable of carrying the amperage you require. Wire sizes are measured in AWG, or American Wire Gauge (Used in the United States and other countries as a standard method of denoting wire diameter. The HIGHER the number the THINNER the wire)
You have to verify the wires in your garage are #10 AWG or heavier. #14 AWG is rated for 15 amps, #12 AWG is rated for 20 amps and #10 AWG is rated for 30 amps. Very long runs of wire require you to increase the wire size because of the resistance applied over long runs. If it is not very far away from the panel, you have nothing to worry about. The wire size should be printed on the insulation, if not, use a tool that has a wire gauge to determine the size. You are looking for #10,8,6 and better or so on.. I assume the wire is at least #10 AWG.
The fuses in the panels should be reduced to 30 amp fuses. If you have breakers, they should be changed to a 30 amp double pole breaker, as this is the maximum amperage of the new three prong outlet you have for the heater and #10 AWG wire. NOTE - If you have fuses, the 30 amp fuses should be side by side in one removable carrier in your fuse panel. If the black and red wires go to mounting screws leading to separate "screw" in type fuses like other 110volt circuits in your house, you must change this by adding a separate sub-panel that contains a 30 amp double pole breaker. If you do not know how to do this, call an electrician. The purpose of a modern double pole breaker with the little metal bar connecting the individual breakers together is in case only one hot leg trips because of a short, the other intertwined leg is pulled to the off position rendering both hot wires of the circuit dead..with fuses, if only one hot leg trips, the other hot leg may very well be live and a danger to anyone working on the circuit. The fuses being in the same carrier allows someone to pull both fuses at the same time and work on the circuit safely.
The two spades of the outlet should be wired to the black and red wires.These are the discolored or brass screws on the outlet. The white wire should be wired to the ground of the outlet, which should be the green screw, AND you should put a few wraps of green electrical tape around the white wire. The green tape now designates that you are using the white wire as a ground wire. Back in the panel, the black and red wires should go the 30 amp fuses or 30 amp double pole breaker. Once again, wrap this end of the white wire with green tape. Now... Where to put your designated ground wire?
Older panels have both the white (neutral) and green or bare (ground) wires going to the same bar in the panel. Modern panels have the neutral and ground wires going to separate bars in the panel with, in essence, the neutrals going back to the street service and the green or bare wires going to a grounding rod. A grounding rod is a copper rod pounded into the ground with a wire clamped to it leading to the grounding bar in the panel. In some cases, the neutral bar and grounding bar in the panel are both connected to each other and then the ground rod, as this is the safest. The simple fact both bars are attached to the same metal with one of them connected to a rod offers protection with out a jumper also. There is an extremely rare chance of certain situations happening outside of your house where the neutral wire of the grid may become electrified and backfeed electricity into your home thru the neutral system. If you do not have a ground rod and your grounds and neutrals are on the same bar in the panel, there is no where for this electricity to go, backfeed your house, and may seriously injure or kill someone and/or damage electric devices... It's a slim chance to none, but as the government says, Anything that is a statistical probability at some point becomes a certainty. If you have both these bars connected to a ground rod, electricity will take the path of least resistance and discharge safely thru the ground rod. Your current panel configuration will dictate what you have to do.
If you have a grounding bar in your panel, put your newly designated white wire with green indicating tape to the ground bar. If all the grounds and neutrals go to the same bar and you do not see anything going to a bona fide grounding rod, you have two options - Option 1. 1. Find out what the local code requirements are for grounding rods in your neck of the woods, drill the concrete floor if applicable, and pound the required length and diameter grounding rod into the ground. Note - Put the clamp you are going to use to clamp the wire to the rod leading back to the panel on before you smash the end with a sledge hammer.. the copper rod will form a nice mushroom on the end and if you can't split the wire clamp in half, you will have to cut off the end of the rod to get it on. 2. Cross your fingers and hope you do not hit any rocks with the rod. Option 2. Many areas allow the use of the cold water pipe entering your house as a suitable ground. The catch - It must be copper, municipal water supplies are a go, personal wells may require approval to ensure the pipe is long and deep enough, and in the case of municipal water supplies the clamp must be on the street side of the meter, that is the clamp must be attached before your water meter.
As for your outlets in the rest of the house - For many years, a ground wire has been part of all wiring, it just has not been wired to the outlet plug. If you remove an outlet and look at the back of the box, you may see a ground wire attached to the box. If it is there, all you have to is pull out the extra ground and attach it to the green screw on a new 3 prong outlet. If the wire is too short, attach a pigtail to the wire with one ground wire going to the box and one going to your new outlet. The only problem you may encounter is aluminum wire in older houses. If the wiring is aluminum, you can never splice aluminum and copper together. The differences between the two metals will cause a "deleterious" effect and erode the aluminum causing a dangerous situation where electricity will arc across the joint creating a fire hazard. If the wiring is aluminum, you must use split connecters that never allow the two metals to touch, or simply drill a hole in the back of the box and drive in a self threading green grounding screw to secure your new copper grounding wire to a metal box leaving the aluminum ground wire in it's current attachment to the same metal box.
I hope I did not overwhelm you, as I aim to educate along with help. I hope many other people will learn from this post..Wishful thinking on my part? I hope not..8-)
Good Luck. Anymore questions you may have, just reply to this same thread and I will try to help you out.
Grim
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<Snip>
Based on the additional information you have provided, I would go in the direction Tom is taking you in. Having the garage detached is a much different scenario.
Grim
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Tom and Grim, thanks for the informative help.
This house was built in 1969 and for whatever reason, there is no ground going anywhere. There was one grounded outlet in the basement, grounded to the city water pipe. I have followed suit and grounded a few outlets upstairs by running separate ground wire to this same pipe. This is probably not strictly code, but I think it's safe.
As for the garage, I can see no definite ground out there at all. Only a very large three conductor cable has been routed out there. I did typo, the red and black go to the fuses and the white just goes to a lug from which other connections are made. The white is "grounded" to the box itself, but the box is completely isolated (mounted on wood, no conductive connections other than the three wires) so I think this is pointless.
My plan of attack then is to wire the black and red to the spades (horizontal looking connections) of the outlet and the white to the ground. Then at the box, ground the white wire somehow. I will check to see if the conduit from the floor of the garage is continuous to the ground in the house, but now that I think about it, I really doubt this is the case. The cable looks like a kind that would just be run through bare ground (looks like the kind I'd buy at Home Depot, only much bigger).
I'll try to answer Tom's questions about the two boxes in the garage. The larger box is where the 3-conductor cable enters from the conduit in the floor. Inside, the cable splits apart so that the white goes to a lug on the side of the box and the red and black go to two large fuses (cylindrical shaped fuses). The large lever switch is external to the box and disables the fuses when in the off position. The smaller box works from the white wire connection at the lug and from the "input" side of the two fuses, unaffected by the fuses or the switch (it's as if the larger box doesn't exist to the smaller box, except to reduce the wire guage to a manageable size). All you really see when you open the larger box is the dual fuse arrangement right in the center. It looks to me like it's made to make 220.
Back to work...

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Here is how I suggest you proceed at your garage providing that there are no metallic pathways such as water, sewer, fuel gas, or other piping; and no other wiring such as video, intercom, alarm, or telephone between the two buildings. Wiring that comes to each building separately from the utility owned lines does not count. This also assumes that the interior wiring in the garage is cable rather than conduit.
As long as the two cartridge fuses in the large box are larger than thirty amps I suggest you use the enclosed switch as the code required building disconnecting means. Replace the single terminal lug in the enclosed switch that the white wire form the house connects to with a multi terminal lug. The new lug should have four terminals and be connected directly to the enclosure of the switch by its mounting screws. Use the new lug to terminate all of the white and green/bare conductors that start or end in that switch. Install two driven ground rods at least six feet apart. The two rods are the required building grounding electrode system. Make sure you do not drive them through your feeder cable or any other underground utility. Call the local miss utility service at least one week in advance so they can mark the location of any utilities for you. In most cases they will not mark the location of the feeders or other utilities you own. From the farthest rod's acorn clamp run a bare solid number six copper conductor, that will serve as your Grounding Electrode Conductor (EGC), through the acorn clamp on the nearest rod to the enclosed switch and terminate it on the multi terminal lug in the switch enclosure. The EGC will be run in a trench that you dig between the two rods and the wall outside the enclosed switch. The trench should be deep enough to make later disturbance to the EGC unlikely.
Install a main lug only (MLO) panel of the 100 ampere or so variety and supply it from the load terminals of the enclosed switch. The panel you buy should have six to twelve slots in it for single pole breakers depending on what you anticipate your future electrical needs to be in the garage. Remove the wires that go from the line terminals of the switch to the other fuse panel. Demolish that panel and install your new MLO panel in it's place. Remove the green bonding screw or metal strap that came with the new panel. The white wire from the enclosed switch will terminate on the neutral buss of the new panel. Install an Equipment Grounding Conductor (EGC) buss bar in the new panel. Run a green insulated or bare EGC from the enclosed switch to the new panel and terminate it on the EGC buss bar. Since the supply feeder to the garage is fused at forty amperes you can use a number ten wire as the EGC. Rewire the existing circuits to your new panel. If the existing circuits have EGCs than terminate them on the EGC buss bar.
Install a thirty ampere double pole breaker in your new panel. Run a 10 gauge, two conductor plus ground cable to an outlet box near the location of the new heater. Terminate the cables two insulated conductors that are not green to the dark or brass colored terminals of the receptacle. Terminate the green or bare wire to the hexagonal and/or green screw of the receptacle.
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I don't know about the US, but it's illegal in Canada. I doubt it's allowed in the US too.
Mike
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Actually the US NEC does permit the connection of an Equipment Grounding Conductor (EGC) to a grounding electrode such as the first five feet within the structure of an underground water pipe that has ten or more feet in contact with the earth. The applicable section is quoted below. -- Tom Horne
VII. Methods of Equipment Grounding 250.130 Equipment Grounding Conductor Connections. Equipment grounding conductor connections at the source of separately derived systems shall be made in accordance with 250.30(A)(1). Equipment grounding conductor connections at service equipment shall be made as indicated in 250.130(A) or (B). For replacement of non-grounding-type receptacles with grounding-type receptacles and for branch-circuit extensions only in existing installations that do not have an equipment grounding conductor in the branch circuit, connections shall be permitted as indicated in 250.130(C). (C) Nongrounding Receptacle Replacement or Branch Circuit Extensions. The equipment grounding conductor of a grounding-type receptacle or a branch-circuit extension shall be permitted to be connected to any of the following: (1)    Any accessible point on the grounding electrode system as described in 250.50 (2)    Any accessible point on the grounding electrode conductor (3)    The equipment grounding terminal bar within the enclosure where the branch circuit for the receptacle or branch circuit originates (4)    For grounded systems, the grounded service conductor within the service equipment enclosure (5)    For ungrounded systems, the grounding terminal bar within the service equipment enclosure
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Grim wrote:

Well that was saved for later use. Thanks Grim for the lesson I know it will come in handy down the road.
Rich
--
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can't make them THINK"
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