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Old 12-15-2018, 07:19 PM   #16
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I live in NYC. And how would I know if the metal junction box is providing proper ground? Again, I have very little knowledge here.
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Old 12-15-2018, 08:02 PM   #17
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Re: Changing out receptacles, encountered a problem...


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I live in NYC. And how would I know if the metal junction box is providing proper ground? Again, I have very little knowledge here.
Just look in the back of the box for a bare (or green) wire connected to a screw - the screw is likely just a regular silver screw as opposed to a green screw like today.

If no ground, you should have that house re-wired by a professional union electrician or sell the house and move to a newer home that is code compliant.

You have a 16 month old kid for God's sake - if he/she touches one of those receptacles, and he/she will, and it isn't grounded and shorted, the kid will be electrocuted.

And yes, you have to install AFCI in accordance with the NEC.

The re-wiring will require a permit (if you live in a town).
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Old 12-15-2018, 08:10 PM   #18
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So if there is no green wire, I'm looking at 10-20 grand to rewire everything?
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Old 12-15-2018, 08:13 PM   #19
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Re: Changing out receptacles, encountered a problem...


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So if there is no green wire, I'm looking at 10-20 grand to rewire everything?
Maybe not if you have conduit. I see some stranded wires. Those are generally associated with conduit.
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Old 12-15-2018, 08:36 PM   #20
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Re: Changing out receptacles, encountered a problem...


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Maybe not if you have conduit. I see some stranded wires. Those are generally associated with conduit.
Agree - and metal boxes typically associated with EMT
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Old 12-15-2018, 10:23 PM   #21
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Re: Changing out receptacles, encountered a problem...


You really need to have an electrician come and see what you have going on there.
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Old 12-15-2018, 10:35 PM   #22
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Re: Changing out receptacles, encountered a problem...


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Agree - and metal boxes typically associated with EMT
Not really.
We a lot of metal boxes here with NMD cable.
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Old 12-16-2018, 03:13 AM   #23
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Re: Changing out receptacles, encountered a problem...


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Originally Posted by Texasdiyer View Post
Just look in the back of the box for a bare (or green) wire connected to a screw - the screw is likely just a regular silver screw as opposed to a green screw like today.

If no ground, you should have that house re-wired by a professional union electrician or sell the house and move to a newer home that is code compliant.

You have a 16 month old kid for God's sake - if he/she touches one of those receptacles, and he/she will, and it isn't grounded and shorted, the kid will be electrocuted.

And yes, you have to install AFCI in accordance with the NEC.

The re-wiring will require a permit (if you live in a town).
No, no no!! This is irresponsible. It is far safer to replace the breaker with an AFCI breaker and use standard outlets. For starters that protects ALL the outlets including the ones that you aren't changing out. Secondly there has been a lot of discussion in recent years about possibly requiring residential breakers to have an expiration date. They already changed the fire code to require this for fire alarms. The reality is that if the outlets in the house are so old that plugs are falling out of them, the breakers are past their useful service life.

As far as the lack of a ground wire goes, this is NOT the terrible thing you are making it out to be. More and more devices are not requiring ground prongs. Many tools for example drills no longer require them because the casing of the device is insulating. Lamps and such do not require them. More and more laptop power supplies do not require them. Vacuum cleaners, toasters, TVs, most stereo gear, and so on does not require them.

In the posters case if all of his outlets are ground prong type outlets then the house was very likely wired with grounds. It is really only very old homes such as stuff wired with knob & tube that lack grounds. And in those cases the OP should absolutely be using electrical outlets that lack ground prong holes so that people plugging things in recognize that there is no safety ground.
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Old 12-16-2018, 06:33 AM   #24
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Re: Changing out receptacles, encountered a problem...


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Originally Posted by tmittelstaedt View Post
No, no no!! This is irresponsible. It is far safer to replace the breaker with an AFCI breaker and use standard outlets. For starters that protects ALL the outlets including the ones that you aren't changing out. Secondly there has been a lot of discussion in recent years about possibly requiring residential breakers to have an expiration date. They already changed the fire code to require this for fire alarms. The reality is that if the outlets in the house are so old that plugs are falling out of them, the breakers are past their useful service life.

As far as the lack of a ground wire goes, this is NOT the terrible thing you are making it out to be. More and more devices are not requiring ground prongs. Many tools for example drills no longer require them because the casing of the device is insulating. Lamps and such do not require them. More and more laptop power supplies do not require them. Vacuum cleaners, toasters, TVs, most stereo gear, and so on does not require them.

In the posters case if all of his outlets are ground prong type outlets then the house was very likely wired with grounds. It is really only very old homes such as stuff wired with knob & tube that lack grounds. And in those cases the OP should absolutely be using electrical outlets that lack ground prong holes so that people plugging things in recognize that there is no safety ground.
Okay. I feel a little better. However, at this point, it probably makes the most sense to stop changing them out myself and have an electrician come in and do it, correct?

Or can I change them out doing what others have said and cap off the red wires?
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Old 12-16-2018, 06:45 AM   #25
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Re: Changing out receptacles, encountered a problem...


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requiring residential breakers to have an expiration date
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the breakers are past their useful service life
Just who would determine this? The same industry that pushed the NEC to require the dubious use of AFCI's in the first place. It is a money hog gone amok. Safety first, always, but to allow an industry that manufactures and sells high priced items to dictate the replacement of the same items like you would a battery is ridiculous.

Common sense should rule here. Check out the grounding. Check the wiring. Have it rewired if deficient. AFCI's will continue to trip minute by minute in a situation like this and would be worthless.

Quote:
union electrician
Why must the electrician be associated with a union?? Just curious.
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:04 AM   #26
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Re: Changing out receptacles, encountered a problem...


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Originally Posted by schreibdave View Post
You really need to have an electrician come and see what you have going on there.
Agree - this one looks kind of tricky
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:06 AM   #27
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Re: Changing out receptacles, encountered a problem...


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Originally Posted by tmittelstaedt View Post
No, no no!! This is irresponsible. It is far safer to replace the breaker with an AFCI breaker and use standard outlets. For starters that protects ALL the outlets including the ones that you aren't changing out. Secondly there has been a lot of discussion in recent years about possibly requiring residential breakers to have an expiration date. They already changed the fire code to require this for fire alarms. The reality is that if the outlets in the house are so old that plugs are falling out of them, the breakers are past their useful service life.

As far as the lack of a ground wire goes, this is NOT the terrible thing you are making it out to be. More and more devices are not requiring ground prongs. Many tools for example drills no longer require them because the casing of the device is insulating. Lamps and such do not require them. More and more laptop power supplies do not require them. Vacuum cleaners, toasters, TVs, most stereo gear, and so on does not require them.

In the posters case if all of his outlets are ground prong type outlets then the house was very likely wired with grounds. It is really only very old homes such as stuff wired with knob & tube that lack grounds. And in those cases the OP should absolutely be using electrical outlets that lack ground prong holes so that people plugging things in recognize that there is no safety ground.
Yes, I meant AFCI breakers

Last edited by 195795; 12-16-2018 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:14 AM   #28
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Re: Changing out receptacles, encountered a problem...


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Why must the electrician be associated with a union?? Just curious.
It's all about training right, the typical four years to complete the apprenticeship and ongoing journeyman training to keep license.

My old man was a union electrician for 38 years in Chicago
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:33 AM   #29
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Re: Changing out receptacles, encountered a problem...


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It's all about training right, the typical four years to complete the apprenticeship and ongoing journeyman training to keep license.

My old man was a union electrician for 38 years in Chicago
My father and grandfather were union electricians in NYC (IBEW Local 3). I dont think that you are going to find a contractor who uses Local 3 guys who will make a house call for a small job like that. Maybe a union guy doing work on the side.

I dont think this is all that complicated but it's more than just disconnecting 4 wires on one receptacle and reconnecting 4 wires on a new one. He may have split outlets, more than one power source in the box, issues with the ground, hot legs that aren't labeled, etc. Maybe have someone come over and show the OP how to do this and then he can follow the plan.

Just my $.02
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Old 12-16-2018, 10:54 AM   #30
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Re: Changing out receptacles, encountered a problem...


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Just who would determine this? The same industry that pushed the NEC to require the dubious use of AFCI's in the first place. It is a money hog gone amok. Safety first, always, but to allow an industry that manufactures and sells high priced items to dictate the replacement of the same items like you would a battery is ridiculous.

Common sense should rule here. Check out the grounding. Check the wiring. Have it rewired if deficient. AFCI's will continue to trip minute by minute in a situation like this and would be worthless.



Why must the electrician be associated with a union?? Just curious.
A number of years ago National Fire Protection Agency did a study on 400 some breakers pulled from demolished residential buildings to see if they wouldn't trip. All did trip except for ones that came from outside panels. So they decided not to make a recommendation on breaker life but instead refer people to the manufacturers recommendations on breaker life and just recommend periodic mechanical testing of residential breakers. (did it turn off or on) HVAC people nowadays don't seem to favor outside breakers anymore on outside panels they are instead using fused panels in those installations.

Here's a paper from Eaton that shows how one paper mill used thermography to look for bad breakers and replace those:

https://www.eaton.com/content/dam/ea...e-breakers.pdf

Of course this doesn't work unless the circuit the breaker is on it under significant load. that won't be the case in a residence.

CPSC is estimating 40 year lifespan of AFCI breakers due to statistics testing:

https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/ecafci.pdf

Home inspectors are also starting to discuss this issue with homebuyers. There are also some panels (FPE) that are known troublemakers.

Breakers In My Opinion should have an easily readable manufacture date on them.
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