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Old 10-05-2016, 09:40 AM   #1
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No grounds in recepticle boxes?


MY house has some slightly older wiring, but not so old that it needs to be replaced. The cable they used carries a ground wire and much of the electrical makes use of the ground wire.

Except in two bedrooms where the outlets have no ground wires in the box.
My guess is that they were cut off where they enter the box.

My insurance company doesn't like open grounds.

Is there anyway to legally ground the outlets without having to pull new wire to them and/or opening up walls?
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:11 AM   #2
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Re: No grounds in recepticle boxes?


-Use two prong receptacles
or
-Use GFCI receptacles marked with 'No Equipment Ground' stickers.

If you use GFCI protection, you can use the load side terminals and protect 3 prong receptacles downstream, as long as they are also marked "No Equipment Ground'.
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:33 AM   #3
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Re: No grounds in recepticle boxes?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mm11 View Post
-Use two prong receptacles
or
-Use GFCI receptacles marked with 'No Equipment Ground' stickers.

If you use GFCI protection, you can use the load side terminals and protect 3 prong receptacles downstream, as long as they are also marked "No Equipment Ground'.

I didn't know I could do that.... Maybe I'll try the two prong and see what they say.

The room is weird though, there are two outlets that are about 1' apart from each other on two walls...so 4 total outlets.
1 outlet on one wall, and 1 outlet on the other wall are on the same circuit together and get power from the basement.

The other 2 outlets are on a separate circuit and seem to be fed from the attic. I might be able to liven up the basement fed outlets and remove the attic fed outlets.
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:49 AM   #4
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Re: No grounds in recepticle boxes?


The grounds may be there. Sometimes they just took them and wrapped them around the cable and put them under the cable clamp. If they did that you should be able to pull them into the boxes.

GFCI is a legal option.
I see you are in Ontario. Here is FAQ direct from ESA.

Quote:
Question
I have purchased an older home that has older receptacles with no U ground slot. Can I replace them with modern grounding type receptacles?
Answer

It depends. Where grounding type receptacles (3 pin) are used to replace existing ungrounded type receptacles (2 pin), special caution must be exercised. The existing wiring supplying the receptacles may not incorporate a bonding conductor and the installation of a grounding type outlet may create a hazard if the outlet is not properly bonded to ground. Consult the service of a qualified electrical contractor.

The Code states "Where grounding type receptacles are used in existing installations to replace the ungrounded type, the grounding terminal shall be effectively bonded to ground." The Code permits bonding the receptacle by connection to a metal raceway or cable sheath that is bonded to ground; or by connection to the system ground by means of a separate bonding conductor; or by bonding to an adjacent grounded metal cold water pipe.

As an alternative to bonding the Code also states "grounding type receptacles without a bonding conductor shall be permitted to be installed provided each receptacle is protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter of the Class A type that is an integral part of this receptacle; or supplied from a receptacle containing a ground fault circuit interrupter of the Class A type; or supplied from a circuit protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter of the Class A type. Where this option is used, no bonding conductor is permitted between outlets unless that bond conductor is in turn connected to ground.

GFCI protection of the receptacles protects against possible shock hazards but does not provide a ground reference to the U-ground slot of the receptacles. Some appliances require a bond be connected to the U-ground slot in order to function properly. For example, surge protective devices for computer or entertainment equipment will not function without a ground reference.

Rule 26-700.

Ontario Electrical Safety Code 25th Edition/2012
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Old 10-06-2016, 06:59 AM   #5
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If it's a metal box with metal conduit, they may be using that as a ground. Check to see if there is continuity between the box and neutral.
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Old 10-06-2016, 07:15 AM   #6
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Re: No grounds in recepticle boxes?


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If it's a metal box with metal conduit, they may be using that as a ground. Check to see if there is continuity between the box and neutral.
There's no conduit, it's just cable running in the wall like you would with romex.
Except it's black and from about 1960 or so. Still in really good shape though and is probably 12awg by todays standards.
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Old 10-09-2016, 07:39 PM   #7
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Re: No grounds in recepticle boxes?


joed is correct in saying: "...The grounds may be there. Sometimes they just took them and wrapped them around the cable and put them under the cable clamp...."

You will know this by checking the voltage between the brass screw of your receptacle and the metallic wall box. If you get 120vac, the box must be grounded somehow.

While wrapping the bonding (ground) conductor around cable was more commonly done with MC (or AC90), it could also have been done NMD90.

Last edited by Power-; 10-09-2016 at 07:40 PM. Reason: Missing text
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Old 10-17-2016, 01:15 PM   #8
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Re: No grounds in recepticle boxes?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
The grounds may be there. Sometimes they just took them and wrapped them around the cable and put them under the cable clamp. If they did that you should be able to pull them into the boxes.

GFCI is a legal option.
I see you are in Ontario. Here is FAQ direct from ESA.

so how would I install a GFCI without a ground? or could I use a GFCI breaker right at the box instead?

How would the GFCI still work without a ground wire being connected to it.


I did check the box, and it seems that the grounds are cut as there is no ground connection to the box, so to avoid a bunch of work I'll just install GFCIs since that's an option.
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Old 10-17-2016, 01:23 PM   #9
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Re: No grounds in recepticle boxes?


GFCI receptacles don't need a ground to operate. They measure current flow between the hot and the neutral and trip when the difference gets above around 5 milliamps.
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Old 10-17-2016, 02:01 PM   #10
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Re: No grounds in recepticle boxes?


You just install the GFCI with the white and black wires and put the little 'no ground' stickers on them .
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Old 10-17-2016, 04:33 PM   #11
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Re: No grounds in recepticle boxes?


It would be interesting to know if you read 120 between the hot and the box?

You likely won't as many people "test" receptacles by those little plug testers with the various indicator lights on them. If your box was grounded by concealed external grounds (like joed mentioned), your plug tester wouldn't show any grounding problems.
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