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Old 09-28-2011, 09:36 PM   #1
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How to add ground wire through attic.


So I have search high and low for an answer to this, but just get general electrical tips.

I have an older home built in the 60's. The home was a rental property for a few years so it wasn't exactly in top shape. I've decided to ground the house since it currently is not. I have general knowledge home improvement knowledge but wanted to some ideas.

My attic is pretty open and spans the entire house. This allows me to access wiring pretty easily. My thought was to run a ground wire from the breaker box to the attic, then drop down the necessary wiring to each receptacle.

I guess my questions were:

-Do I need to replace the existing breaker box first?
-Can I just connect all the ground wires to one main one in the attic and run it down stairs?
-Do I need to replace the existing wires before adding the ground?
-Is this something I shouldn't even attempt or leave it for the pros?

If the last one is my best bet, any ballpark idea how much it would cost. I have a smaller home, 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath. living room, kitchen basement.

Any help at all would be much appreciated.


Last edited by lebnan60; 09-28-2011 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:18 PM   #2
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How to add ground wire through attic.


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Originally Posted by lebnan60 View Post
-Do I need to replace the existing breaker box first? No.
-Can I just connect all the ground wires to one main one in the attic and run it down stairs? Technically each branch circuit needs its own ground wire going down to the panel. This ground wire can daisy chain from one receptacle to the next on the same circuit. If the added/retrofitted ground wire (equipment grounding conductor; EGC) should first reach the fat ground wire (grounding electrode conductor; GEC) going between the panel and the incoming cold water pipe or a ground rod, the ground wire (EGC) can stop there.
-Do I need to replace the existing wires before adding the ground? No. But the recommended long range solution is to string new cable that contains a ground wire
-Is this something I shouldn't even attempt or leave it for the pros? You may do it yourself.

.
Sorry I cannot help you with costs.

The retrofitted ground wire does not have to follow the exact route of the existing wires for the branch circuit.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 10-01-2011 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:52 PM   #3
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How to add ground wire through attic.


That definitely makes sense. It is a relief I don't have to replace the breaker box. As you can imagine, i have been doing a ton of research and pricing on this. It has come up multiple times during my search. Would using gfci outlets be a good, more cost effect option? Basically putting those throughout the house to replace my current 3 prong non grounded outlets. I know price, time and difficulty level it is better. Just want to make sure it would be a good long term option as well. Plan on blowing in insulation in the attic, and it would be much easier to do wiring now then after.

really appreciate any help in this. Thank you
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Old 10-01-2011, 07:34 AM   #4
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How to add ground wire through attic.


One GFCI receptacle in a daisy chain can protect other receptacles further on downstream.

Three prong receptacles within the scope of a GFCI's protection must be labeled "No equipment ground; GFCI protected."

Three prong receptacles are not permitted to be installed with no ground and not in the scope of GFCI protection.

Significant restrictions apply regarding protecting additional receptacles downstream when two hot wires, say red and black, share one neutral.
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:11 AM   #5
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How to add ground wire through attic.


Have you actually verified there is no ground wire in the outlet boxes? The cabin I tore down last summer was wired in 1961 and had ground wires one size smaller than the conductors but the grounds were only connected to the metal boxes. All the receptacles were 2 prong.
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:20 AM   #6
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How to add ground wire through attic.


You should really have an electrician come over and asess the wiring.
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:50 AM   #7
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How to add ground wire through attic.


So potentially one gfci in each room would do the trick? And label the rest "No equipment ground; GFCI protected." I have not verified it for myself that it is not ground. I know I only saw 2 wires in the box, the previous owner said it wasn't and I have a power strip that lights up when "ground" and it has never lit up. So yes, i should definitely take a second look at that!

And I had spoken with an electrician couple months ago, didn't feel like waiting on him...and looking at the time it took him to come over, prob wouldn't be my best option either!

I may still have someone come out to at least take a look, but it sounds like this something i could tackle. Thank you very much for the advice

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