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Mwatford 04-15-2010 01:11 PM

Grounding my outlets
Let me start by saying I am not familiar with all the lingo and technical terms I have been seeing on here.

I just bought a home and am slowly figuring out the basics.

Right now, my primary focus is on the wiring. It's a mid 50's home, and I dont know the complete history of what has been done with the wiring. What I do know is there is no ground wire in my outlets, and because I am a musician, i need to get the outlets grounded in my music room to eliminate hum.

I replaced one of the two pronged outlets with a three prong, hoping I would find a ground wire in there, but I did not. There were two wires, one black (which is the hot one) and one white. All I can tell you about the wire other than the color is that it was very stiff, and a lot of it was packed pretty tightly in the box.

I had a guy tell me if my "cable" had a metal casing I could use a self grounding outlet. He also said i could use a green jumper if I didnt have that kind of cable.


1.) what is the "Cable" and where do i find it?

2.) What is the basic philosophy for installing the Self grounding outlets?

3.) What is a green jumper and how is it installed?

Assume I know nothing! Help!

AllanJ 04-15-2010 01:22 PM

The various outlets and also light switches are daisy chained together with hot and neutral wires almost always bundled into cables. The most modern cables have 3 wires, hot, neutral, and ground, and are plastic sheathed. Only a small amount of the cable sheath can be seen inside the outlet box at the back.

A metal cable casing, if any, particularly if it is a flexible spiral, might not be that great a ground.

Installing the ground wire is not urgent. You can install GFCI protection either with GFCI breakers or a GFCI receptacle at the first outlet box on the branch circuit. Any 3 prong receptacles further downstream are then labeled "no equipment ground, GFCI protected"

If you are not ready to tear open the walls and replace the wiring/cables proper, you can run a ground wire out to the surface, down to the baseboard, and (still on the surface) up around doorways and down to the basement and into the breaker panel or subpanel where the corresponding branch circuit comes in.

Self grounding receptacle units assume that the box is grounded. A clip near where the mounting tab (yoke) of the receptacle or switch is attached to the (metal) box makes a good contact with the box for grounding.

Standard receptacles (without the special clip) have a green screw. The green jumper (aka pigtail) connects the receptacle yoke to the ground wires of a modern cable system or to the (metal) box of an older properly grounded system. Green insulation is reserved for ground wires which can also be left bare.

If the insulation is brittle and flaking off of the wires, you can temporarily wrap the wires with electrical tape but you should put on your agenda a cable replacement complete with fishing new cables through the wall, possibly cutting some holes here and there to help.

bobelectric 04-15-2010 01:26 PM

What did the home inspector report say?

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