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Old 02-08-2009, 02:51 PM   #1
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non grounded outlets in the basement?


So I just got done changing out all the outlets on the ground floor of my 1963 ranch home. I went downstairs and changed a switch, and noticed that there was a ground wire in the electrical box. This got my interest because when we bought the home I thought the realtor told us that the basement was ungrounded. I took out one of the outlets and there is a ground wire along with two whites and two blacks. Can I just put in a grounded outlet since there is a ground wire in the box?

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Old 02-08-2009, 02:53 PM   #2
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non grounded outlets in the basement?


What type of wiring method and where does this ground wire actually connect to?

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Old 02-08-2009, 02:58 PM   #3
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non grounded outlets in the basement?


I am not really electrically inclined so I am not sure. There are two white wires attached to the left side of the plugs and two black wires connected to the right side of the plugs. The ground wire comes into the box in a big sheath with all the other wires. It is currently connected to a screw in the metal box. Not sure if that helps at all.
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:00 PM   #4
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I think I would need a picture before I assumed anything...
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:20 PM   #5
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non grounded outlets in the basement?


There are two separate wires going into the electrical box. Each has a white a black and a ground. Not sure if this pic does any justice. The ground wires aren't screwed in. The are just shoved into a hole in the bottom of the box.


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Old 02-08-2009, 03:29 PM   #6
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non grounded outlets in the basement?


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There are two separate wires going into the electrical box. Each has a white a black and a ground. Not sure if this pic does any justice. The ground wires aren't screwed in. The are just shoved into a hole in the bottom of the box.



Yeah, I wanted to see the inside of the box.
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:29 PM   #7
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non grounded outlets in the basement?


Also I am getting shocked every time i touch any of the new switches i installed. I didn't attach the ground to the new switch as it was already attached to the metal box. We do have a lot a static electricity right now, but I am not sure if I did something wrong in installing the switches. They only had two wires and I just put them on the same way they were on the older switch. I am guessing it is just the low humidity in the air.
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:35 PM   #8
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:41 PM   #9
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Can I just put in a grounded outlet since there is a ground wire in the box?

Yes. The ground wire must be attached to the metal box and to the grounding screw on the recep. You may have to install a small pigtail to accomplish this.

It's not that uncommon to have ground wires but ungrounded receps in that era. The ground wire is probably smaller than the insulated wires, but it's a ground.


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Also I am getting shocked every time i touch any of the new switches i installed.
New capret? A static shock feels completely different than a 120V 60 cycle shock. Figure out if it's static before we waste a bunch of time discussing the possible causes of an AC shock.

Last edited by 220/221; 02-08-2009 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:46 PM   #10
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It is most certainly not an electrical shock. I have been shocked that way before and it is much more painful than what i am experiencing. This is just static shock. I just wasn't sure if the new switches are making it worse somehow.

Thanks for the replies btw.
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:50 PM   #11
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Nylon cover plate screws are available if it persists.
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:18 PM   #12
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non grounded outlets in the basement?


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Nylon cover plate screws are available if it persists.
Also screwless cover plates

http://www.ebuild.com/articles/509991.hwx

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Old 02-08-2009, 04:25 PM   #13
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Yes. The ground wire must be attached to the metal box and to the grounding screw on the recep. You may have to install a small pigtail to accomplish this.

It's not that uncommon to have ground wires but ungrounded receps in that era. The ground wire is probably smaller than the insulated wires, but it's a ground.
Is this something that I should be doing on all the switches and receptacles? When I redid the ground floor I just reattached everything on the new piece the way it was on the previous switch or receptacle. So if the ground was attached to the old piece i reattached it and if it wasn't and it was only connected to the metal box I just left it the way it was. Is this a problem? I think most of the switches had just the white and black attached and the ground was connected to the box by a screw. Some of the receptacles had grounds attached and some didn't.

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Old 02-08-2009, 04:33 PM   #14
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non grounded outlets in the basement?


Switches in a metal box can rely on the mounting screws for gronding.

Receps require a ground wire attached to them.
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:59 PM   #15
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Switches in a metal box can rely on the mounting screws for gronding.

Receps require a ground wire attached to them.
Unless of course your using self grounding receptacles...

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