Insulated vs bare ground wire.

Old 06-06-16, 05:30 PM
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Insulated vs bare ground wire.

I'm not in the US so we can ignore code questions on this.

When my house was wired it was done with bare stranded copper through the EMT as a ground which is connected to the ground socket at outlets.

Like so:

This is not just regular wire with out insulation it seems to be fewer but much thicker strands than normal wires.

I guess this was more common at the time it was done because now the electrical supply stores near me don't have any bare cable available in small sizes and instead offer appropriately colored (lime green with yellow stripe) conductors for grounds.

I'm asking because I'm adding a new circuit (also in emt) and was wondering if its worth ordering the same stuff, or just using the pvc jacketed cables.

The bare copper seems quite a bit more expensive by the foot but considering the scale of the project not much more expensive in absolute price. From experience I know its harder to pull but this run is going to be almost completely straight so again not a big deal. But those are two downsides, which has me wondering, what are the upsides, why was it done in the first place and is it worth doing the same way for the new circuit?
Old 06-06-16, 05:41 PM
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It is much easier to pull individual wires than it is cable. If you already have conduit in place, pulling the wires would work just fine.
Old 06-06-16, 05:59 PM
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The only advantage I can think of that bare has over insulated is you save a little time not having to strip the wire. If the insulated is more readily available and cheaper, I don't see any reason to order the bare wire.
Old 06-06-16, 08:27 PM
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I was figuring that if there was any functional difference it either be because of the different type, fewer and thicker strands.

Or because the bare copper would constantly touch the conduit and cause it to be even more grounded. Although now that I actually typed that out, i realize that it sound kind of silly.
Old 06-06-16, 08:31 PM
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It's actually easier to pull insulated wire over twisted copper. I never liked the idea of the twisted copper mixed in as it was abrasive and could cut the insulation of the current carrying conductors when installing.

As far as functionality.... as long as they are the same gauge they serve the same identical function.
Old 06-07-16, 12:46 PM
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By US code, bare grounds and green insulated are almost always considered interchangeable (swimming pools being a notable exception). From that point of view, I'd say either is acceptable, but as PJ mentioned the insulated will probably be easier to pull as the plastic insulation is smoother.

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