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Old 03-13-2010, 05:17 PM   #1
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Old house / No Ground issue


Okay, I recently moved into a new house. House is 70(ish) years old. I had a new refridgerator delivered yesterday. When I went to hook up the fridge, I noticed that it had a two-prong outlet. When I tried swapping out the two-prong for a grounded type outlet, I realized that the house has the old two-wire wiring. No ground wire present. So I'm stuck with an open ground situation on my tester. Also, I don't see an easy remedy for running a ground to that outlet.

Through searching, I found someone recommended a GFCI outlet for this situation. Is that the way to go? Will that be legal and safe?

What to do?

Thanks,
Tim

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Old 03-13-2010, 05:25 PM   #2
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Old house / No Ground issue


my understanding is you can use that but i would worry about it being out of site and tripping. is the panel grounded and what type of wire runs from it to the house?

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Old 03-13-2010, 05:26 PM   #3
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Old house / No Ground issue


Yes you can do this legally and safely. Make sure you use the stickers that identify the outlet as without an equipment ground.

Also, you should think about re-wiring the whole place - an absent ground is a long term safety problem and now AFCIs are helping make things safer too. It is a DIY project - but check you local laws - I can get electrical permits for my house one county over you cannot.
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:29 PM   #4
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Old house / No Ground issue


you may have a ground if they ran metal sheathed wire
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:29 PM   #5
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Old house / No Ground issue


Yes, you can install a GFCI per code
You must then label it "No ground present"

Now here is the problem
If that GFCI kicks off will you need to move the fridge to reset it ?
Is there anything else that will be on the same circuit (LOAD of GFCI) so you will notice the GFCI has kicked off before the food spoils ?

Myself if room in the panel I'd run a new circuit/outlet w/ground

Any chance the wire is run in metal conduit ?

Also you can run a ground per NEC 250.50 & 250.130
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:24 PM   #6
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Old house / No Ground issue


Thanks guys. I'll have to take a closer look at things to see just what my wiring situation is. I know the breaker has been updated to a 200amp. Also, with the basement being unfinished I can see that there is new/modern wiring in certain areas.

I definitely don't see any metal in the box with the outlet, but I don't know what's behind the wall.

The fridge is small enough I can reach the outlet should it need resetting.

I'm very new to electrical so I may just go with a GFCI until I can get more time to do something better.

Last edited by Gish; 03-13-2010 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:21 PM   #7
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Old house / No Ground issue


Good luck. I am in the process of re-wiring my house room by room and I have gotten TONS of invaluable advice here.

Electrical Forum ROCKS!
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:21 AM   #8
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Old house / No Ground issue


Yes, the GFCI thing is totally code-legal. You can use a GFCI breaker or install a GFCI receptacle. Some will say that the motor of the fridge could cause nuisance trips on the GFCI. That's something to keep an eye on but I doubt you'll have trouble with it.

To clarify, code requires two stickers on the faceplate of the replaced receptacle. They should say "GFCI protected" and "no equipment ground". Gotta have 'em both.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:28 PM   #9
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Old house / No Ground issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
Good luck. I am in the process of re-wiring my house room by room and I have gotten TONS of invaluable advice here.

Electrical Forum ROCKS!

I'm doing what Leah is and the info here has been invaluable. 3 of 5 upstairs rooms done so far. Thanks to all who contribute their knowledge.
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:58 PM   #10
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Old house / No Ground issue


You will need to install a grounded circuit.

Here is the appropriate text.

250.114 Equipment Connected by Cord and Plug.
Under
any of the conditions described in (1) through (4), exposed
non
current-carrying metal parts of cord-and-plugconnected
equipment likely to become energized shall be
grounded.

Exception: Listed tools, listed appliances, and listed
equipment covered in (2) through (4) shall not be required
to be grounded where protected by a system of double insulation
or its equivalent. Double insulated equipment shall
be distinctively marked.
(1) In hazardous (classi
fied) locations (see Articles 500
through 517)
(2) Where operated at over 150 volts to ground

Exception No. 1: Motors, where guarded, shall not be
required to be grounded.
Exception No. 2: Metal frames of electrically heated appliances,
exempted by special permission, shall not be required
to be grounded, in which case the frames shall be
permanently and effectively insulated from ground.
(3) In residential occupancies:
a. Refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:36 AM   #11
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Old house / No Ground issue


Another solution would be run a separate ground wire from the receptacle to the panel. It does not need to follow the same wiring path as the original circuit. Depending where everything is located this might be an easier option than pulling a new wire from the panel to the receptacle.

Robert

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