Tips for pigtailing / wirenutting outlets with 12AWG wire

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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]
wrote:

Of course, use of proper materials and workmanship is up to local inspectors. In the three northeast states I have had work inspected in, all required grounding to be bonded via crimp or approved grounding devices at rough in inspection. The green nut is formally approved for such use. Grounding is inspected at rough in prior to adding fixtures. Maybe they are over strict or maybe they are just wise.
Let's consider the context of this thread. The original poster said he already had a pigtail wired to his outlets. I felt it worth pointing out he can not take off the device bonding grounds to attach the pigtail. All too often one ground does not get connected properly again with that approach. Everything works till someone is affected by ground fault with no effective safety ground.
I do not doubt some locals take a more relaxed view. Is it not wise to alert the original poster that special handling of grounds are required?
It really takes little effort to make it fairly fool proof. Why do less?
gerry

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I'm a little confused here.....
If you have three ground wire segments into a recepticle box (one pigtail attached to the outlet, one coming into the box and one exiting the box) and remove the pigtail from the outlet (where it's screwed to the outlet) to service it, how is the continuity of grounding for the rest of the circuit interrupted at all? Removing the pigtail from the outlet still allows the wires coming into and going out of the box to remain connected and thus maintain the continuity of grounding for the rest of the circuit.
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]
wrote:

The original poster pre-wired the pigtail to the outlet. The major issue is the grounds can not be disconnected to connect the pigtail.
There may be different interpretations in different areas. In the three states I am certain of, the ground continuity must be secured at rough in inspection with listed devices in a manner unlikely to be disconnected when a fixture is installed. In those areas, that usually means crimping or using an approved grounding wire nut, either way having a fixture.
Check out
http://www.ecmag.com/editorial_detail.aspx?id 33
as an example.
It is explicit that a listed means must be used. An ordinary wire nut is not mentioned (since it is not listed for such use). Crimp sleeves, listed clamps and green wire nuts are among those referenced for such use. "These connection devices are specifically listed for grounding terminations."
An image of such is on
http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/elect/wkbench/outlets.html
No, if someone can find ordinary wire nuts listed for grounding, please post the reference.
One must keep in mind that the NEC always requires only listed materials be used.
gerry
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Sorry if I seem a little thick here. After all, I AM the original poster. :-)
Anyway, this is a new install of outlets on a circuit that currently is not powered.
If I have my outlets wired with three grounds going into a standard wire nut (one going to the outlet) I don't understand how replacing a bad outlet will interrupt the grounding of the rest of the circuit. If the ground wire is separated from the 'bad' outlet by loosening the screw on the outlet where the pigtail is attached. In this scenario, the wire nut with the three wires is never taken apart so continuity is maintained.
Am I correct on this? Maybe I just don't understand the issue fully. Also, I don't really understand how the green grounding wire nut improves the situation.
The one exception to this I can see is if I replace a standard outlet with a new one that has a pre-wired ground which can't be disconnected on the outlet side (like maybe a GFCI or something). In this case, you must go into the existing standard wire nut connection being used for grounding. I can see the potential for grounding interruption in this case.
Sorry for being a pain but I'd really appreciate some clairification.
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]
wrote:

Ok ;) What confused me is you already stated you have the jumpers on the outlets. Do you now intent to remove them first and properly bond the grounds at rough in?

You are correct, such will not interrupt the ground. But do check how the code is interpreted in your location. As you could see by the two articles I posted links to, special treatment of grounds is required in many locations by their interpretation of the NEC.
I could not find a single current reference to using conventional wire nuts in a search today. I am aware many inspectors differ, why blow a few cents and go a route listed as approved?

An approved green nut or crimp sleeve makes removing the ground bonding device pointless. Also, if so done and never touched, the original circuit's safety test of proper ground is pretty difficult to disturb. No temptation to take off the bonding device. It is a precaution enforced in many locals.
Why would a vendor even manufacture and pay to get a green nut listed if there was an "easy way out"?

Old work does not need to be retrofitted. However, with crimp or green nut, any fixture grounds can be connected to the permanent pigtail. Such only affects fixtures, not the rest of the circuit.
gerry
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gerry wrote:

Greenies are a labor saving device rather than an answer to any real code requirement. By leaving the source circuits EGC longer than the others and splicing the longer one to the other EGCs with a greenie the labor used in making up jumpers is saved. The reason those wire nuts are listed for EGCs is that they are not suitable for splices in current carrying conductors and the separate listing makes that clear.
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth] On Fri, 02 Jun 2006 13:49:20 GMT, "Thomas D. Horne, FF EMT"

I never found them labor saving and certainly not cost savings. If you strip one cable long enough for a pigtail, it is as easy to cut it and tuck it under a regular wire nut than carry yet another wire nut type around.
You will never find a green colored connector listed for current carrying use ;) Green has a very special meaning.
Since a safety ground must be rated to carry a branch circuits full current and as reliable as any current carrying device, it certainly is not an inherent limitation of the device.
In jurisdictions I am familiar with that require them or crimped grounds, the grounds must be bonded and pushed to the back of the box with a freely accessible pigtail(s) at rough in inspection. This is an attempt to insure the circuit's ground safety is not compromised at a later time.
gerry
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gerry wrote:

In the absence of a local amendment to the NEC it is an abuse of the AHJ's authority to require something that the code does not require. The purpose of a rough in inspection is to allow the AHJ to inspect what would not later be visible. That does not include anything inside the box. That is not to say that I think that pig tailing is a bad idea. I believe it is best practice. That being said the code is not best practice. The codes own language says it is what is necessary to achieve a reasonable level of safety from the hazards arising out of the use of electricity.
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth] On Fri, 02 Jun 2006 16:21:14 GMT, "Member, Takoma Park Volunteer Fire

NEC is not law anyplace! Many local codes derive theirs (often verbatim) from NEC and many formally leave determination of workmanship to the appointed inspector. Even verbatim, NEC requires listed devices be used everywhere. That get's UL in the picture.
Bonding of grounds can not be examined once fixtures are in place. We have rough in and finish inspections. The only chance to view the ground bonding is at rough in.
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gerry wrote:

Gerry I'm sure your aware that many jurisdictions adopt the NEC by reference. Once the legislative body passes that adoption and the executive signs the bill the NEC is in fact law in that jurisdiction. Inspectors who make up rules as they go along are just acting like petty tin pot gods by abusing their authority. Some states are adopting the NEC state wide and some of those, Virginia for instance, are adopting it as a minimum maximum code. Min Max codes are a reaction of the body politic to regulatory excesses such as requiring techniques that are not in the code. I'm informed that in Virginia a LOCAL AHJ that is repeatedly overturned on appeal to the state board can be uncertified as the AHJ for their respective county. Lets review what the code itself says about it's purpose vis.
90.1 Purpose. (A) Practical Safeguarding. The purpose of this Code is the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity. (B) Adequacy. This Code contains provisions that are considered necessary for safety. Compliance therewith and proper maintenance results in an installation that is essentially free from hazard but not necessarily efficient, convenient, or adequate for good service or future expansion of electrical use. (C) Intention. This Code is not intended as a design specification or an instruction manual for untrained persons. (Copyright 2002 National Fire Protection Association)
I can agree that requiring the EGCs to be made up using listed connectors before rough in is a reasonable step to assure that the installation of the EGCs is complete as built even though many jurisdictions I have worked in did not. What I cannot accept is forbidding the use of wire nuts, which are in fact listed for that application, or requiring the use of specific connectors when other connectors are listed for that use. It has been my experience, over thirty five years in the craft, that a crimp sleeve, even when installed with the proper crimper, is not as good a connection as a properly applied wire nut.
When I'm building circuits in new construction I try to get them energized as soon as possible. Were it is available I energize the rough in wiring with 277; sans plugs and fixtures of course; and leave it that way for a couple of days. If there is any iffy place in the insulation of that system the 277 will find it. That also has the salutary effect of making the dry wall gang use shorter router bits and carefully avoid cutting up my wires. The dry wall gangs complain and moan when they see the warning signs but so far the General Contractors have agreed I have a right to stress test my installations.
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth] On Fri, 02 Jun 2006 18:19:03 GMT, "Member, Takoma Park Volunteer Fire

If by reference, correct. Many states also add additional requirements as a addenda or prefix. My point was simply that the law is state or local, not NEC itself. Often such law refers to a specific dated version of the NEC. It must where exception or additional requirements reference NEC.

There is a major difference between individual inspectors acting like god and statewide adoption of convention. In my state, the ground bonding issue discussed here is indeed statewide.

Look at 90.4. It gives ALL interpretation to the AHJ. Of course it doesn't define AHJ, that is often state or local, not an individual. I believe rural Maine actually still delegates it to the power company! My state adopts a specific dated NEC with stricter addenda as basis. Local governments are free to add their addenda if they so choose as long as stricter than the state's.

I think we agree crimps are overrated! Of course, I wonder how many were done without the correct tool. But a few tugs will loosen many crimps.
I had a simple reason for my suggestion:
Repeated (in context of residential NM wiring)
Bond all grounds with a green grounding rated wire nut with a pigtail for fixtures. Dress these neatly to the back of the box with the pigtail available for fixture grounding. Do this prior to rough in inspection.
This has the following advantages:
- is ONE example of good workmanship
- is low cost
- requires no special crimping tools (NEC prohibits using pliers...)
- will pass code just about everyplace. This is important on the internet since one does not need specific knowledge of the location.
I am well aware many localities not so restrictive, but the above method works well without knowing the local regulations applying to a poster. If a simple cheap method is fairly universal, why not pick it as a recommendation on the internet?
gerry
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth] On Fri, 02 Jun 2006 16:21:14 GMT, "Member, Takoma Park Volunteer Fire

Read NEC 90.4
gerry
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gerry wrote:

I have read it. The phrase "the responsibility for making interpretations of the rules" is often used as a refuge for untrained and incompetent inspectors to claim that they can enforce whatever they please rather than what is written in the code. I have also heard it read to appeals boards during appeals. The administrative law advisers; usually the county solicitor; often speaks up to say that interpretation does not include the application of unwritten provisions. Such unwritten rules are the very definition of arbitrary and capricious acts according to the US supreme court. It is also worth noting that the individual inspectors are not the AHJ! In almost all cases they are agents of the AHJ in carrying out their responsibility under the adoption act.
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth] On Fri, 02 Jun 2006 13:49:20 GMT, "Thomas D. Horne, FF EMT"

This may clarify the issue somewhat. Three things are important, NEC, UL and local jurisdiction. Regular wire nuts may or may not be UL listed for grounding. A listed device must be used. ANY jurisdiction is allowed to determine their code.
The link and quote below is from UL. About the only two things that are clear are the connector must be listed for grounding and a greenie will pass almost everywhere since it is explicitly listed for such use.
Good read at
http://www.mikeholt.com/code_forum/showthread.php?ti751
( This is from the above mentioned Mike Holt newsletter - this is the UL response regarding 'green' wire nuts being required.
Answer 2: UL Response Mike Id like to respond to your inquiry to UL regarding the use of twist-on type wire connectors for connecting equipment grounding conductors. I believe that to properly answer this inquiry we need to reference requirements in both the NEC and the guide information which UL provides for listed products. Sec. 250-8 of the NEC indicates that grounding conductors shall be connected by exothermic welding, listed pressure connectors, listed clamps, or other listed means. Pressure wire connectors are listed under the category of Wire Connectors and Soldering Lugs (UL Guide ZMVV). A twist-on connector is a type of pressure cable connector that is tested to the UL Standard for Splicing Wire Connectors, UL486C. The requirements for these connectors include mechanical securement tests, as well as their ability to carry continuous current within acceptable temperature limits. Listed products in this category are identified by the words Wire Connector (or abbreviation there of) near the UL Listing Mark which may be on the product or smallest unit container. Based on this information, a listed Wire Connector, including the twist-on type, should be suitable for connecting equipment grounding conductors. There was also some question regarding the color of the connector insulation. Listed insulated twist-on type wire connectors are typically provided in a variety of insulation colors, however, to the best of our knowledge we have not listed a wire connector with green color insulation. NEC Sec. 250-119 requires covered or insulated equipment grounding conductors to have a green or green with yellow stripes outer finish, but there is no NEC requirement for the color of the insulation of a wire connector used to connect equipment grounding conductors. NEC Sec. 250-8 also permits other listed means for connecting grounding conductors. UL has a category for Grounding and Bonding Equipment (UL Guide KDER). Grounding Connectors are a special type of connector that is tested to the UL467 Standard for Grounding and Bonding Equipment. The requirements for grounding connectors include mechanical securement tests, but unlike wire connectors, these connectors are not subjected to a continuous current test. In lieu of this test, there is a special short time current test in UL467 to show the ability of a grounding connector to safely conduct fault current. There are some listed twist-on type connectors with green color insulation that are listed as grounding connectors. Listed products in this category are identified by the words Grounding Connector (or abbreviation there of) near the UL Listing Mark which may be on the product or smallest unit container. It should be noted that grounding connectors are only used for connecting grounding conductors, and unlike listed wire connectors, cannot be used to connect current carrying conductors (including grounded and ungrounded conductors). There are some listed Wire Connectors of the twist-on type that are also tested and complementary listed as Grounding Connectors, and the listing mark information for these products will identify them as both. The insulation on these connectors (with both listings) can be various colors, except green. We understand that some jurisdictional authorities may require listed grounding connectors for connecting equipment grounding conductors, and some may require only those with green insulation, and this is certainly permitted by Sec. 90-4 of the NEC. To satisfy this need, the listing categories of Grounding Connectors, and Wire Connectors complementary listed as Grounding Connectors were established for the manufacturers of these products. }
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snipped-for-privacy@blah.com wrote:

You are not being a pain. You are in fact correct that if the outlet, and were used the metal box, are connected to jumpers which are then spliced to the Equipment Grounding Conductors (EGCs); i.e. pigtailed; then no such hazard exist. The insistence on green wire nuts and crimp leaves on the part of some Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) is the result of a misapplication of language of section 250.4(C). That language requires that Grounding Electrode Conductors be installed without reversible splices. vis. 250.64 Grounding Electrode Conductor Installation. Grounding electrode conductors shall be installed as specified in 250.64(A) through (F). (C) Continuous. The grounding electrode conductor shall be installed in one continuous length without a splice or joint, unless spliced only by irreversible compression-type connectors listed for the purpose or by the exothermic welding process. What is missing from this position is a complete appreciation of the definition of a Grounding Conductor, Equipment verses that of a Grounding Electrode Conductor. Vis. Grounding Conductor, Equipment. The conductor used to connect the noncurrent-carrying metal parts of equipment, raceways, and other enclosures to the system grounded conductor, the grounding electrode conductor, or both, at the service equipment or at the source of a separately derived system. Grounding Electrode Conductor. The conductor used to connect the grounding electrode(s) to the equipment grounding conductor, to the grounded conductor, or to both, at the service, at each building or structure where supplied from a common service, or at the source of a separately derived system. This is one of the reasons that I support the proposal to change the term "Grounding Conductor, Equipment" to "Bonding Conductor, Equipment." The actual purpose of what we call the Equipment Grounding Conductor (EGC) is to bond all of the non current carrying metallic parts of the electric system to each other and, most importantly, to the grounded current carrying conductor so as to provide a low impedance pathway back to the source of the current in order to facilitate the operation of the faulted circuits Over Current Protective Device (OCPD); i.e. the fuse or circuit breaker. These conductors are installed on airplanes and on manufactured and stick built structures that are on ice. Neither of those can be effectively grounded but the careful installation of EGCs still provides the needed low impedance fault clearing path. What we are actually trying to accomplish is to bond everything that does not carry current together.
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth] On Fri, 02 Jun 2006 13:40:20 GMT, "Tom Horne, Electrician"

Your explanation of confusion with 250.64 can't be the case with green nuts, since they are reversible as are a number of other connection devices less commonly used but acceptable in such jurisdictions. The reason expressed in my local is strict interpretation that servicing a fixture should not _risk_ disrupting a circuit's safety ground continuity.
Certainly there is often a temptation to just take a wire nut off the grounds when working in a box. Often fixtures are replaced by untrained persons. Indeed, it sounded as if the poster that started this thread intended to disconnect the grounds to attach his pre wired ground already attached to an outlet. We need not go further than this thread to understand that such occurs.
It really doesn't matter if I agree or not with the inspector ;) In this case I do see a rational, some persons might take the easy way out and disconnect the grounds when servicing a fixture. Since they are not tested after rough in, often changed by untrained persons and failure to properly reconnect grounds could leave a serious safety hazard unseen.
What you cite below does not apply. It has a specific context of grounding equipment to service entrance. In the service entrance that earthing conductor is usually bonded via screws as are all branch safety grounds. Screws are very "reversible" None of the methods acceptable in 250.64 are commonly used in common home branch wiring even where strict interpretation of 250.148 as discussed before in this thread is applied.
I have not experienced ANY AHJ confusing 250.64 with stick use of 250.148 which is not to claim some have not. A branch circuit's safety ground almost always connects to the earthing conductor via a reversible set screw.
Whatever is "right" or "wrong", the original poster should consult his local authority for their interpretations.
gerry

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gerry wrote:

(Neither do I.)

In that case you can remove the ground wire from the old outlet and wire nut it to the ground wire from the new outlet.

Tom: 250.4(C) doesn't exist? Different section?
The linked EC&M article (which is also on the UL site) refers to 250.8: "Grounding conductors and bonding jumpers shall be connected by exothermic welding, listed pressure connectors, listed clamps, or other listed means. ...." The article, which is under the umbrella of 250.8, talks about green wire nuts as listed for grounding. It appears that 250.8 is being intrepreted as requiring wire nuts to be listed for grounding (rather than just listed as a connector). Seems more likely to me than 250.148(B). (Which is not intended to criticize your cite of 250.148, damned hard to find the basis for some code calls.)

My understanding of Tom's argument was that a 250.4(C) (which doesn't exist?) repeated requirements of 250.64 including irreversible (your crimps), and that 250.4(C) was missapplied to bond/ground wires.

The bottom line. It is annoying that code language permits this kind of disagreement.

I saw a video from Mike Holt where he used "bonding" and "earthing" instead of "grounding". I like the split, and getting rid of "ground". IMHO one reasons article 250 is confusing is the lack of clarity of whether a section is about bonding or earthing.
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]
wrote:

You will get no argument from me on that.

Grounding and earthing are important different concepts worth understanding. Engineering has used different symbols for the two for a LONG time.
Grounding in engineering means bonding to a common reference. That ensures a fault doesn't create a situation where two surfaces have a different potential where an object (such as a human) would be damaged (injured) from contact with both.
Earthing bonds (or attempts to) that protective circuit with the environment (earth). It is really handy when you grab an outside water faucet in bare feet with a faulty neutral from the service drop.
gerry
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This ">[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]" , by its wording ("is likely"),
implies some automatic process taking place.
Please, for all of us, WHAT IS that process, via what software, etc?
How do you make it happen?
What kind of control do you have, eg clip . some . a lot . not at all, for *this* email etc?
Do you clip it different amounts for different emails?
(Sounds like not, again via that "is likely", above).
Thanks!
David
PS: wouldn't it be nice (here!) if *everyoned* had such a feature (and used it!).
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wrote:

Any why can't you turn off the breaker when replacing an outlet?

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