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pearlbeer 09-03-2008 10:02 AM

GFIC / Grounds
Okay. Just bought a 'new' old house. Not surprisingly a lot of the outlets either don't have GFCIs or are not grounded. I fancy myself fairly handy, but I don't really get the electricity thing. :eek: How can I test and ground these outlets? What is my best bet?

jogr 09-03-2008 10:42 AM

I wouldn't add ground wires unless you have a specific need for it. Most houshold electrical appliances and devices don't need a ground. You only need the ground if the device you are using has a grounded plug (3 prongs). If you find you have a device that needs a ground you will generally only use it in one outlet. Since you don't get the electricity thing you should hire an electrician to install a ground in that outlet (or find a trusted friend who does get the electricity thing).

GFCIs are usually not required in an old house but if you feel the need for one in a specific location (like kitchen, bath or garage) they can be installed even without a ground wire. They must be labeled as such. Again, you would want someone who knows what they are doing to install it.

Termite 09-03-2008 11:20 AM


Originally Posted by pearlbeer (Post 154568)
How can I test and ground these outlets?

A receptacle tester can be used to see if the receptacles are wired correctly and help you determine if a ground is present. It will also help identify if there are other problems in the circuit. They simply plug in and light up a certain way to indicate correct wiring, and other ways to indicate incorrect wiring. They're $15 or less, and are a good thing to have around.
If you don't have any electrical experience or a good understanding of how it works, I'd strongly advise against trying to do your electrical work yourself. Improper grounding or wiring methods cause shocks and potentially fires. Electrical is one trade that you don't want to learn by your mistakes.

J. V. 09-03-2008 01:11 PM

You can do two things. Leave the receptacles like they are, or pull new NM throughout the house. All grounds (EGC's) must return to the service panel or sub panel.
They do make adapters for this purpose, but I do not like them. They will allow you to plug in a three prong plug, but no ground will exist.

DangerMouse 09-03-2008 01:22 PM

i too had ONE line in this house that had only two wires. (dunno why the guy did that.) the inspector told me there are only two things to do.
A: leave it installed with the two prong only outlet, (no ground hole) or
B: put in a GFIC outlet. either would pass code. (i just left the two prong, it's in a spot we never use anyways)


BigJimmy 09-03-2008 02:40 PM


Originally Posted by J. V. (Post 154631)
They do make adapters for this purpose, but I do not like them. They will allow you to plug in a three prong plug, but no ground will exist.

Two-to-three cheaters, we call them.

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