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A wire in my garage got damaged. Breaker is off now. The wire feeds the stove on the other side of a split level home. It is an old cloth covered wire, with no ground. Red, white, and black wires only.

I am going to get my brother (power company senior tech) to assist me in a solution, but want to get my head around it before breaking it to him.

The plan: The wire coming from the panel box is just too short to tie back into. I want to run a length of 6/3 cable (w/ ground) to an exposed 4-11/16 x 2-1/8 square junction box mounted in the ceiling (joist). Bring the new cable and old still running to the stove wire into the box. Use 3 appropriate Polaris connectors to complete the circuit.

My question....what do I do with the ground wire on the cable? The box should be grounded, yes? Can/should I ground the box? Would doing so be a code violation? What is the best solution other than the impossible task of running cable all the way to my kitchen?

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The junction box must remain accessible, but I've a hunch you know that, as a good sense of rules and practices seems evident.

Yes, just ground the metal box. I would use a #10 pigtail to the 10-32 ground screw hole on the box. They sell adorable green screws for that purpose.

The stove is grandfathered, so it continues to be legal without a ground. I didn't say "safe". As such, I strongly encourage you to ground the oven at this time. No need to fish a 6/3+gnd cable on that impossible route, you only need to route a bare #10 ground wire via any route. It does not even need to reach this box or the panel. It will suffice to reach anywhere with a #10 or larger ground wire back to the panel, or metal conduit to the panel, or anywhere on the grounding electrode system (the wires from the panel to your water pipe or ground rods).

An equally effective (but $90) alternative is to fit a 2-pole GFCI breaker on the oven circuit, and jumper the oven as if it was grounded, i.e. Its internal neutral-ground jumper pulled. However, this method brings with it the chance of nuisance trips.

  • Thank you Harper. So just to clarify....I can screw the ground wire in the Romex to the (accessible) metal box, even though there is no ground in the old cloth covered wiring? I realize that the metal box must be grounded. BUt if someone inspects the contents of the box and sees there is no ground from the box to the stove, would that be a code violation? – bwt8ct Mar 1 at 19:12
  • @bwt8ct Yup, the current status of the stove is grandfathered. – Harper Mar 1 at 21:05
  • What about the splice, ground situation, and altering a section of the circuit? – bwt8ct Mar 1 at 22:46
  • @bwt8ct I meant to imply the splice and alterations are so safe, routine and normal that I didn't really think about mentioning it. I don't see where that changes the grandfathering unless it was easy/practicable to run the cable the whole way. I gather it's not. – Harper Mar 1 at 23:11
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Unless there's an obscure rule I don't know about, you can do just as you describe. If the box is metal, connect the ground wire to the box using the dedicated screw and leave a pigtail available for future connection.

Be sure to use suitable strain relief clamps on both cables coming into the box and at the panel entrance.

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Update: I got to thinking more about this and realized that I don't know how to make that ground connection at the box, considering the large (and stranded) wire. I've asked a question about that.

  • Staple within 12" of the box and panel? What would be the purpose of the pigtail? I just want to make sure the box is grounded. Can the romex be grounded to the box absent a ground wire coming from the old 6/3 wire? – bwt8ct Mar 1 at 19:01
  • Romex is a brand name, not a thing. Normally you can wrap the ground around the screw and leave a tail. That won't work here, though. See Harper's answer. – isherwood Mar 1 at 19:05
  • Yes, there will be clamps in 3/4 knockouts at the box and panel. – bwt8ct Mar 1 at 19:05

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