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Old 01-23-2011, 12:28 PM   #1
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Fixing ungrounded 3-prongs


Hi everyone, i have some questions for you, first of all I will give you some background info, im mexican and my house is in Mexico, and here no one seems to care about codes, the wiring was done like 10 years ago (when they changed from fuses to circuit breakers) however noone seemed to care about running a ground wire, and all our outlets are ungrounded 3 prongs , i already checked, and to make matters worse the boxes are ungrounded, so I cant get the grounding from there. My intention was the following, to swap all outlets for GFI protected ones (Which I know are ok for refrigerators, microwaves, the washer machine, window air conditioners, etc., correct me if im wrong).
However there are two oulets in which i'd prefer a physical ground, one of them in the kitchen, where i usually plug my laptop, using a surge protector, and one in the entertainment room, where there is one surge protector into where the tv is plugged in, my intention was to add a grounding rod for each of these outlets, and connect the grounds there, is this ok, or is it a bad idea, and if so why?, if its ok, which kind of wiring should i use for it?, remember i don't really have to follow any codes, no one would care, i just want my house to be safe! Thanks

PS: I would hire an electrician, but im really untrusty of them

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Old 01-23-2011, 12:41 PM   #2
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Fixing ungrounded 3-prongs


Usually outlets (receptacles) are daisy chained one to the next. For each daisy chain, you need just one GFCI receptacle, at the outlet location wired first from the panel.

GFCI units work correctly and provide the needed safety with or without ground wires.

You can run a ground wire from your panel to any or all receptacles, more or less following the route of the existing wiring back to the panel. If you are unwilling to cut open the walls, the ground wire can run exposed along the baseboards and up and around doorways.

Simply twisting ground wires together is not good enough. You need wire nuts at the joints (there are other joining methods too but more complicated or requiring special tools)

Flexible metal sheaths on cables are generally not considered a good enough ground; there needs to be a wire or thin metal strip inside or, as mentioned just above, a ground wire run separately.

You can install a ground rod anywhere you wish to, although with ground wires run up from the panel to your receptacles you won't need a ground rod except near your panel.

A surge protector does need a ground.

Some homeowners and electricians prefer the refrigerator receptacle to not have GFCI protection, so the 'fridge is not without power with nobody noticing that the GFCI has tripped.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 01-23-2011 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:57 PM   #3
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Fixing ungrounded 3-prongs


thanks for the answer, so basically i only need like 4 GFI outlets to protect my whole house, and the three outlets that actually need physical ground (the two i mentioned, and the refrigerator) are on outside walls, so it would be really much easier to just add a grounding rod outside each of them and add a cable to be the ground (btw, would AWG 12 would be fine?), than to run wires all the way to the panel. Besides i must confess that i feel confident while doing electrical jobs in the house, i wouldn't really dare to open the panel, but basically it would be the same to just add the grounding rod right, or is there some advantage im not noticing of running wires all the way to the panel? Thanks again.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:08 PM   #4
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Fixing ungrounded 3-prongs


No, running a wire to a ground rod will do absolutely NOTHING. You MUST run back to the panel for a valid and safe equipment ground.

Read the last sentence in this article: http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_basic...ted_grounding/
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:35 PM   #5
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Fixing ungrounded 3-prongs


That changes everything, then i think that i'll just run the wires all the way, and then call an electrician to do the paqnel wiring, however i would like to supervise his work (sounds stupid, but believe me, here it is necessary), where exactly should he connect the wire i ran there? to the same place that the neutral wire connects? Thanks (once) again
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Old 01-23-2011, 02:26 PM   #6
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Fixing ungrounded 3-prongs


Tell you what, since I am such a nice guy. You fly me down to Mexico and I will come do this for free, I will even bring the material you need for free as well.
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:53 PM   #7
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Fixing ungrounded 3-prongs


Dang Darren you beat me to it. Carlos, yo habla espanol (a little) so you need to pick me.

Yes. He should put them where the neutral connects.

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Old 01-23-2011, 09:56 PM   #8
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Fixing ungrounded 3-prongs


thanks for the answers, by the way, i swear if money permitted i'd fly one of you (or both) just to avoid dealing with the mexican way of doing electric work, I could make a bet that when i tell the electrician what I need, he will be surprised (and maybe even tell me how i dont need that).

PS: You passed some of your electrical knowdledge, so ill pass on some spanish it would be "yo hablo espaņol" habla is the infinitive.

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Old 01-23-2011, 10:01 PM   #9
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Fixing ungrounded 3-prongs


Ahhhh well. I've never taken a single Spanish class but....I've worked with Hispanics in the Atlanta area for almost twenty years and have become somewhat fluent in "Mexican construction spanish". I have a huge respect for the guys I've worked with and have heard the horror stories of some of the building practices down there.

No one, and I mean NO ONE packs a better lunch than an Amigo. Plus they always have three times to much and never fail to share.

Good luck Carlos and keep us posted.
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:11 PM   #10
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Fixing ungrounded 3-prongs


Yes, people sometimes just don't care, or want everything done in the cheapest way, so there are corners cut everywhere, sometimes because the owner insisted to make it cheap, sometimes because the worker just was lazy, or has grown so accustomed to cut corners that he thinks it's ok, and since there are no inspections if you want things done right, you have to check for yourself. There ARE good workers down here, but they are often hired by construction firms, and won't do outside work unless you know them.

And, on the other topic, yes we usually pack extra lunch, whether to school or work, precisely to share

Thanks and i'll let you know how everything works out

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