I'm swapping out a light socket for some outlets in the garage, and the ground wire is running through a little clip in the box, with some extra coming out from there, not enough to hit my green screw on the outlet though. Wondering what to do with it, figured the options are:

  • Disconnect ground from the box and connect it to the green pole on my outlet.
  • Leave ground attached to box and splice extra length to reach green pole.
  • Ignore ground on outlet (assume this is a bad idea).

Here's what I'm working with:

Receptacle front Receptacle back Ground Wire on box Tighter shot of ground wire connection

Which of the first two options is proper, or something else altogether?

  • Is the receptacle/faceplate combo a single assembly, or two separate parts? – ThreePhaseEel Aug 6 '17 at 18:47
  • @ThreePhaseEel They're a single unit, a Leviton 5042 specifically. – Hart CO Aug 6 '17 at 18:54
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    The Leviton 5042 is a duplex outlet mounted upon a 4" cover plate. The center to center of the mounting screw points is 3.5" as seen from the Dimensional Data sheet here: leviton.com/en/docs/LC_DOC_DDG_PNG_5042.png. The pictures may be misleading but I have to ask - Is the electrical box one with 3.5" C-to-C mounting holes for the cover? – Michael Karas Aug 6 '17 at 19:06
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    You will unlikely be able to find a duplex outlet assembly that will directly fit inside a round electrical box with 2.75" mounting holes. If the surface of the existing box is even with the wall/ceiling surface you may be able to use a box extender that is similar to this but with the 2.75" size in the back. I've seen them around. homedepot.com/p/…-PIPHorizontal1_rr--202067064--202783876--N – Michael Karas Aug 6 '17 at 19:30
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    All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles in the garage of a dwelling also need GFCI protection, which the lighting outlet might not already have. NEC (2014): 210.8. – Upnorth Aug 8 '17 at 20:56

The proper thing to do here would be to free the wire from that clip and then wire nut that bare copper wire with two additional bare copper wire pigtails. Green wire nut would be ideal. One of the pigtails will go to the green screw on the outlet assembly. The other bare wire pigtail needs to be connected to the box. It is unknown if the clip can be used again so barring any judgement I would look to see if the electrical box has a pre-threaded hole in the back. The threaded hole is intended to accommodate a green box grounding screw. Get one and use it to attach the second bare pigtail to the back of the box. The picture below shows what appears to be the pre-threaded grounding hole in your box.

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  • Thanks! Since there is excess wire coming from the clip, would connecting a pigtail to the end be functionally the same as your suggestion? Or do you suspect the clip is not an adequate ground? – Hart CO Aug 6 '17 at 19:04
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    Connecting to the short end coming out of the clip is problematic because of several reasons. One it looks too short to actually get it to engage fully in a wire nut. Then even if it was just long enough the wire nut connection right there by the rim of the box will certainly interfere with trying to attach the cover plate. With the answer I wrote you can push all that back into the box out of the way. Remember to also screw in the unused screws on the side of the outlet. – Michael Karas Aug 6 '17 at 19:10

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