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Old 10-29-2011, 11:46 AM   #1
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Adding Ground to old plug

Hello Forum,

My house is old and I have a lot of 3 prong plugs that have an open ground. The old wiring of the house has only a positive and negative wire.

Question: How do I add a ground wire to these plugs? Can I run some single strand wire to the plug and use it for the ground? Or do I need to completely rewire the plug?

This question is more about general code requirements, than what will work.

Thanks in advance for advise.



thomlep is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2011, 11:58 AM   #2
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There is no such thing as positive and negative in home wiring. As for your problem, if the house is older with a 2-wire electrical system, the very first thing would be to asses how hard it will be to pull all new wiring to bring up to code, for outlets.


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Old 10-29-2011, 12:04 PM   #3
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Positive and negative does not apply in this situation. For clarification and ease of all to understand lets call them the hot and the neutral. Or the current carrying conductor and the grounded conductor.

First thing you must address is the receptacles themselves. A three wire receptacle cannot be connected to a two wire system. And secondly you can make this safe. You can indeed run a separate ground from the receptacle to the system ground. However, replacing the complete cable is by far the best way to go. You can also use GFCI receptacle or breaker to protect the ungrounded receptacles. The breakers are very expensive though.
Either way is compliant. I recommend you replace the cables to a 2 wire with ground of the correct size.

Note: If you do decide to just run a separate ground wire, you must connect it to the "system ground". You cannot install your own ground. You must use the grounding system. If you decide to protect the two wire circuits you can protect several receptacles from one GFCI receptacle. There are instructions on the GFCI device. Good Luck.
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Old 10-29-2011, 02:36 PM   #4
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Thanks everybody!

OK, hot and neutral. Thanks for the education. So, I can't pull a new romex cable, but I can connect a single ground wire and snake it down to the basement, where it can travel to the main panel and connect to the system ground.

I really appreciate the advise. I can't hire an electrician or I'd go broke very quickly.
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Old 10-29-2011, 02:58 PM   #5
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If you can snake a single wire then you should be able to snake a single cable. Just needs a slightly bigger hole.
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