We currently live in a 1953-built house in VA. Both our hall and our living room have inadequate lighting due to the size of the rooms and the positions of the light. We are considering adding lights to the existing circuits, so that, for example, the 2-way hall light switch operates both the current light and a new fixture, and the 1-way living room switch does similar. All the related existing wire is cloth covered copper cable without ground. What would be required to do this according to code? As best I can tell from a Google search, VA is on NEC 2017. We'd probably get an electrician to actually perform the work, but would like to have an idea of the likely scope going in.
Extending an ungrounded circuit is not legal, and that's that.
However, grounding can be retrofit according to rules greatly liberalized in NEC 2014. Under those rules, a ground wire of appropriate size (#14 for 15A circuits; #12 for 20A circuits; #10 for 25-60A circuits) can be run either
- back to the panel the circuit comes from
- to any junction box with a large enough ground back to that panel, even if it's on a different circuit
- to a junction box with non-flex metal conduit back to that panel (though some flex qualifies too)
- to the Grounding Electrode System (bare copper WIRES between main panel and grounding rods or water pipe clamp).
Using water or gas pipe as a substitute for any of the above is forbidden.
However, most likely a pro electrician is going to prescribe replacing all old cable with new Romex. Retrofitting grounds is somewhat easier, but then it leaves the uncertainty of the condition of the old wire, and they don't want liability for that.