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Old 08-23-2009, 11:27 AM   #1
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Need Advice on Grounding


I recently bought a house that was built in the 1940's and all of the wall outlets are not grounded and just have the two prong receptacles. The wire they used only has a hot black and a neutral white wire.

Any advice on the best way to change some of the house plug in outlets over to a three wire grounded type without tearing all the walls open.

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Old 08-23-2009, 12:11 PM   #2
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Without tearing the walls open your best option is to install a GFI receptacle or breaker. The breaker is more expense but the older boxes were smaller and GFI receptacles do not fit to well in the small boxes.

You will need to label the 3 prong receptacles "No Equipment Ground". These stickers come in the package with the GFI receptacles.

There will still be items like refrigerators and computers that are not to be used in non-grounded receptacles.

Surge protection will also not work in the non-grounded receptacles.

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Old 08-23-2009, 01:20 PM   #3
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Without tearing the walls open your best option is to install a GFI receptacle or breaker. The breaker is more expense but the older boxes were smaller and GFI receptacles do not fit to well in the small boxes.

You will need to label the 3 prong receptacles "No Equipment Ground". These stickers come in the package with the GFI receptacles.

There will still be items like refrigerators and computers that are not to be used in non-grounded receptacles.

Surge protection will also not work in the non-grounded receptacles.

Thanks for the reply Jim. The computer and the refrigerator are the two main things that I want grounded. The outlets for both of these items are only 6 inches from the floor. I was thinking I could use a long drill and go down through the box and then through the floor to the crawl space, then run a single wire from the ground terminal on the receptacle to a ground rod. Does that sound feasable?
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Old 08-23-2009, 03:45 PM   #4
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How is your house wired? My house was built in the early 1950's and didn't have grounded receptacles. But all the wiring was in EMT conduit connected to metal boxes and the metal breaker box which was grounded to the copper water supply pipe. So just swapping out the old receptacles with the newer grounded receptacles was all that I needed to do to provide contact to ground.
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Old 08-23-2009, 04:12 PM   #5
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How is your house wired? My house was built in the early 1950's and didn't have grounded receptacles. But all the wiring was in EMT conduit connected to metal boxes and the metal breaker box which was grounded to the copper water supply pipe. So just swapping out the old receptacles with the newer grounded receptacles was all that I needed to do to provide contact to ground.
The boxes are small metal. The wire is just 1 hot black wire and 1 white neutral with no ground wire. The metal receptacle boxes are not connected to anything.
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Old 08-23-2009, 04:13 PM   #6
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Even armor clad cable can serve as a ground path: http://www.inspectorsjournal.com/for...topic_id=10144
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Old 08-23-2009, 04:22 PM   #7
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I looked up NM cable and found that it was invented back in the 1920's. I didn't know that it has been around for so long. So that's probably what you have. OK. What you propose doing sounds logical to me but I know that the code doesn't allow it. I'm not an electrician so keep that in mind.
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Old 08-23-2009, 06:10 PM   #8
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from
http://www.google.com/search?client=...UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

I'm renovating an older home that was not built with a "green wire" safety ground system. I will be retrofitting at least a few of the receptacles and fixtures with a safety ground by fishing a ground wire to the boxes, and then connecting them to earth ground. I have a few questions:

1) If I need to connect two (or more) separate ground wires together in the attic or crawl space (using a wire nut, of course), do I need to enclose this connection inside of a box?

2) Can I use bare, uninsulated wire, or do I have to use insulated (with a green jacket) wire?

3) Does the ground wire have to be clamped at the box entrance, or can I just fish it through an empty nail hole or an open knockout hole?

4) Is it OK to ground to a metal cold water pipe, or does the latest code require a direct connection to a ground rod? If so, I assume it's OK to connect to the pipe at multiple locations, or should I ground it at just one spot?

1)Yes, all connections need to be made inside of a junction box, which will need to remain accessible (cannot be hidden inside of a wall, etc.)

2)You can use bare or green insulated wire.

3)All wires entering a box must come thru the intended wire knockouts and proper clamps.

4)You must bring your circuit grounds back to the panel. It is often dangerous to connect these to water pipes.

If you are going to the trouble of running new ground wires to the various outlets, you'd be much better off to just run some new 12/2 romex to each location. Then you would have new wiring and all the ground wires would be contained within the cable sheath. Just something you might want to consider.



But first check the boxes as to being grounded or not by running a lamp from either the long slot or the short slot to the box. The short slot should light the bulb if you somehow do have a ground.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 08-23-2009 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 08-23-2009, 06:35 PM   #9
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If you are going to the trouble of running new ground wires to the various outlets, you'd be much better off to just run some new 12/2 romex to each location. Then you would have new wiring and all the ground wires would be contained within the cable sheath. Just something you might want to consider.
I agree.

It really makes no sense to go through the trouble of adding just a ground, when adding a new cable takes very little additional effort.
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:18 PM   #10
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Another benefit to the new cables is that you can run more things on the new lightly loaded circuit.
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:23 PM   #11
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Anyone have links to YouTube videos that show how to replace cables
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without tearing all the walls open.
?
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:24 PM   #12
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If you have a basement, you can do like I did, and use muscle power to pull out the old Greenfield and then pull back Romex. You do end up with a junction box to tie the branch circuits together that you want on each circuit breaker, but at least you are able to bring up to more modern codes. It will take a little muscle power to pull the armor through the staples that hold it below the box, but once you pull, the staple should release out of the wood.
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:25 PM   #13
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Don't the new cables have to be stapled?
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Old 08-23-2009, 09:15 PM   #14
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Need Advice on Grounding


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The boxes are small metal. The wire is just 1 hot black wire and 1 white neutral with no ground wire. The metal receptacle boxes are not connected to anything.
Just like poster #4 advised. (in addition to all the other professional advice offered.) This is another option. There's a good chance that you'll have ground continuity in all (or most) the boxes. Either through rigid pipe or Armored Cable (AC or BX). In NYC, for example, even very old work, even in Multiple Dwellings, the boxes have ground continuity, due to the fact that the Old NYC Electrical Code (pre 2001, when the NEC was adopted as the NYC Code) did not permit the use of NM cable. But you'll need an electrical tester (of any kind). If most of the boxes are found not to have ground, you can go the GFCI route!(Now more than ever)Don't Drink and Drive!!!
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Old 08-23-2009, 10:15 PM   #15
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Don't the new cables have to be stapled?
I was wondering about that very same thing myself. The receptacles that are 6 inches from the floor don't really pose a problem as the 2 wire with ground could be fitted into a new box with a clamp and feed directly through the 2x4 and sub floor into the crawl space and could be routed and stapled from there to the main circuit box. I can't remember if the NEC calls for the wires to be stapled within 6 or 8 inches from the box. Where this becomes a problem for me are the outlets above the kitchen sink counter. I have two that are not grounded there and while new wires could possibly be pulled into the crawl space from there, there is no way to staple them without breaking walls open. I want to replace those two outlets with grounded GFCI receptacles. I'm thinking maybe I could do this by going into the back of the cupboards and cutting a large round hole with a hole saw close enough to the studs that I can get the wire stapled but it will surely be more than 8" from the receptacles.

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