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I'm renovating my basement. Part of the renovation requires rerouting some wires.

I have en electrical box that is going to act as:

  • a duplex outlet for circuit 1
  • a junction box for circuit 2

Circuit 2 feeds a kitchen countertop outlet, so I don't want to add another outlet on this circuit. Previously, circuit 2 was also used to feed a light fixture in the unfinished laundry room. This light fixture was previously acting as the junction box.

Both circuits are 15A.

As usual, I'm going to connect the ground of circuit 1 to the electrical box.

My question is: should the ground of circuit 2 be connected to the electrical box?

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  • IINM, kitchen counter top outlets need to be on a 20a circuit to safely support toasters and microwaves. This may have met code when installing, but you're now modifying the circuit, so it'll need to meet current code.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 21 at 14:48
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    To expand on @FreeMan comment, a 20 amp circuit must only have 12 gauge(or larger) wires/cables on it. Can't just add a 20 amp breaker to it and call it a day.
    – crip659
    Feb 21 at 14:55
  • Countertop outlets indeed have to be 20 amp for new constructions, but this is a renovation, and we're not renovating the kitchen. The kitchen outlets are indeed wired with 14 gauge wires.
    – bgood
    Feb 21 at 15:15
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    But, you're updating electrical work. I'm not sure where the line is between "repair" which allows you to stay grandfathered, and "update" which requires you to meet current code. I'm sure one of the electricians will be along shortly (pun intended) to draw that line for us. Also, excellent reminder, @crip659.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 21 at 15:34
  • In my state and the ones I have worked. replacing receptacles doesn't require rewiring, most work that is DIY is redecorating. code doesn’t require the wiring to be replaced. If a feeder is being updated that should be 12 awg as required but the inwall work in the kitchens could actually be code legal if knob an tube! I have done permitted jobs where the K&T was left in place but the feeder was replaced. A prime example of this is 210.12 look at the exception the previously required AFCI not required if less than 6’ extension. It is a common DIY error to think everything requires updates.
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 21 at 17:28

1 Answer 1

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All grounds are connected together, pretty much always.

Neutrals are kept separate on a per-circuit basis (but actually it's even more than that; it's per cable so you don't inadvertently create a loop or an imbalanced cable. If the hot wires don't interact e.g. through a splice or device, the neutrals shouldn't either.)

When you have different circuits in a box, marking the neutrals is a wise idea. In THHN we use gray wire for that, being the alternate neutral color. But you can also buy grey electrical tape and just wrap the neutrals (similar to how you'd mark a switch loop).

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