Outlet Wiring; Hidden Ground Wires - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-26-2012, 11:00 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2
Rewards Points: 10

Outlet wiring; hidden ground wires

Noobie question -- my apologies in advance.

I am trying to replace an outlet, which I have learned: 1) is part of a series wiring (i.e., connected to 3 other outlets, ugh!); 2) lives within a metal outlet box; 3) has ground wires that are hidden behind said metal outlet box. That is, I can see the ground wires, but they are tucked behind the outlet box, which keeps me from connecting the ground wires directly to the outlet.

I assume the person who wired this outlet intended to use the outlet box to ground the outlet. My question -- do I just ensure a connection or contact between the green ground screw on the outlet and the metal box? Is there a proper (or, maybe more importantly, improper) way to do this?

I understand that a parallel configuration would be superior, but I'm in an unfortunate situation of working with what I have. I have one outlet that appears to have failed, which has knocked out the 3 other outlets in the series. I tried replacing the outlet once before, and thought I had grounded the outlet by ensuring contact between the ground screw/terminal and the box, but after two weeks of working fine it failed again after plugging in a new appliance. I don't know if I ruined the outlet, or if it's just not properly wired/grounded. Any advice about ensuring a safe configuration is greatly appreciated.


Cahill_Main is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2012, 11:33 AM   #2
Electrical Contractor
jbfan's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newnan GA
Posts: 7,027
Rewards Points: 650

Not connecting the ground will not cause a receptacle to fail.
You have other issues.

All of your receptacles are wired in parallel anyway.


"The problem isn't that Hillary Clinton lies. We all know she lies. The problem is that her supporters don't seem to care"
jbfan is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2012, 04:33 PM   #3
A "Handy Husband"
rjniles's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: South Carolina Low Country
Posts: 7,599
Rewards Points: 4,274

A picture would help. You say the ground wires are tucked behind the box, are they wrapped around the cable sheathe and secured by the box clamp? This is called a "Boston back wrap" and was common in the NE in the 50's and into the 70's. I did tons of them working as a helper back in the late 50's.

As long as the cable clamp is secure it will adequately ground the box. You need a pigtail from a ground screw in the back of the box to the receptacle ground. It will not meet code today but it is a grandfathered method.

But as jbfan states, a bad ground is not your issue. Show us a picture.
Coastal South Carolina
rjniles is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2012, 06:21 PM   #4
Rochsolid's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Posts: 97
Rewards Points: 75

your plugs are wired in parallel, that being said, i think that your issue is in the plug, sounds like you have lost power at that plug, thus losing power to the other receptacles down stream.
Rochsolid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2012, 06:32 PM   #5
TTW's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Maine
Posts: 350
Rewards Points: 250

What appliance did you plug in and did you buy a really cheap outlet?
#1 - If you don't know what you're doing - get a licensed electrician!
#2 - If you follow my advice and something bad happens see # 1
Electricity bites hard, and it could be the last thing you feel... Good Luck!
TTW is offline   Reply With Quote

;electrical outlet box , ground contact , outlets , series circuit

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Wiring Generator to Backfeed Breakers - Neutral and Ground Wires? tjnoff Electrical 84 12-09-2014 08:59 PM
Outlet wires in 1940's home are not color coded help. vash1012 Electrical 1 07-16-2012 10:14 PM
Open Ground in Non Daisy Chained Outlet Circuit RileyRR Electrical 2 05-18-2011 02:00 PM
Connecting ground to neutral in old 120v 2-prong outlet flow Electrical 15 11-08-2010 12:15 PM
3 Wire Set Up . . . Neutral Wire Tied to Ground Wires irishMonster Electrical 14 10-21-2010 08:20 AM

Top of Page | View New Posts


Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1