Prelude: All ground conductors must be of sufficient size to trip the circuit breaker or fuse of the circuit that it protects, without overheating 15 amp circuit 15 amp wire, 20 amp circuit 20 amp wire. Refer to tables 250-94 and table 250-95, 1987 NEC (National Electrical Code).
Question: I often combine two 14/2 cables from different circuits (15A fuses) in the same pigtail when wiring a three way switches. What are the implications of combining a 14/2 and 12/2 ground in the same pigtail?
Thanks very much for your response with regards to combining 14/2 and 12/2 ground in the same box. As for the reason I posted the code (granted it may be old: The ground conductor helps If there's an insulation or short to conduct the electricity away and possibly trip the breaker. In this case, a 14/2 is rated at 15A while a 12/2 is rated at 20A. In case of a short, the 14/2 doesn't seem to have the ca safely for a 20A circuit. May be I am reading too much into this, I need some coffee.
#96550 - 12/07/0501:01 PMRe: Grounding 12/2 and 14/2 cable in the same gang box
Within a reasonable length, #14 will safely trip a 20a breaker with a bolted fault. The theoretical resistance necessary is <6 ohms. That is about 500 feet. Since breakers vary in their trip curves and other things come into play you could probably say 100' is a safer number. Certainly any short jumper would not be a problem. You are still going to bump up against the code tho.
#96551 - 12/07/0506:17 PMRe: Grounding 12/2 and 14/2 cable in the same gang box
as george little said above, 250-148 requires that where the circuit conductors are spliced, terminated on equipment within or supported by the box, the grounding conductor with the circuit must be spliced together.