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Old 05-17-2010, 10:25 AM   #1
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Nothing is grounded.... what should i do?!


This house has the original ungrounded wiring that it was built with 60 years ago. We are working on redecorating one room. The outlets are standard two prong (US) outlets. There are six of them on one circuit. Is this safe? Should I get an electrician to install grounds in just the one room or is it a big enough project to save and ground the whole house at once? If I should wait, I'll install new ungrounded outlets temporarily. Help?
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:31 AM   #2
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You can leave things pretty much as-is, and add/convert grounded receptacles by yourself (or have an electrician do it) as you go along.

You will have to string new cables for each receptacle you need to have grounded. It may be easier to do an entire wall or room at a time, this is up to you.

For new receptacle locations you are better off stringing the new cables to them as needed right away.

Temporarily you can ground individual receptacles or groups by yourself by running a ground wire out to the wall surface and down to the baseboard and up and around doorways to eventually get down to the breaker panel in the basement.

For the final project, from a doorway the first receptacle must be no more than 3 feet later correction, 6 feet away and from there the next receptacle must be no more than 12 feet away measuring along the wall (not diagonally across the floor).

Six receptacles on one circuit is okay. Some folks prefer to have each room on its own circuit; others prefer to have receptacles on both sides of a wall on one circuit but averaging one circuit per room and two circuits for a really big room.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 05-17-2010 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:02 AM   #3
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You can also put a GFI on the first outlet and then you can put grounded outlets anythings after the GFI(as long as it is protected by the GFI)
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by darren View Post
You can also put a GFI on the first outlet and then you can put grounded outlets anythings after the GFI(as long as it is protected by the GFI)
I've been considering going with GFI outlets since installing a new outlet is about the extent of my electrical expertise

So are there any tips on figuring out which outlet is the "first" outlet in the series? In other words, how can I be sure that the other outlets are after the GFI?
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:24 AM   #5
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While no guarantee, I would start with the one physically closest to the electric panel. Turn the power off, Remove the receptacle from the box. Now disconnect one pair, out of a cable, of the wires connected to the device. Now restore power and test to see which if any, of the receptacles stay on. Repeat as necessary.

You will need to remake the connections if you do not get it on the first try.
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:55 AM   #6
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Another option is to go to the panel and if it is not a MWBC(red, black white) tie into the circuit at the panel with a GFI. So the circuit would come out of the panel into a GFI, out of the GFI to your circuit. No need to trace down what some electrician did 40 yrs ago if you can do this.
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Old 05-17-2010, 12:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
While no guarantee, I would start with the one physically closest to the electric panel. Turn the power off, Remove the receptacle from the box. Now disconnect one pair, out of a cable, of the wires connected to the device. Now restore power and test to see which if any, of the receptacles stay on. Repeat as necessary.
Ok, I'm gonna give this a shot. This sub-project started when I tried to remove the outlet covers for painting and two of the actual outlets snapped in half from being painted over year after year. Unfortunately, now I have the circuit off and loose wires hanging out of the receptacles awaiting new hardware. So I'll have to reinstall all of them in order to start testing, right?

I have a good guess of which is the first of the series thankfully! If I can install grounded plugs after this, I will be incredibly happy!
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Old 05-17-2010, 12:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
You can leave things pretty much as-is, and add/convert grounded receptacles by yourself (or have an electrician do it) as you go along.

You will have to string new cables for each receptacle you need to have grounded. It may be easier to do an entire wall or room at a time, this is up to you.

For new receptacle locations you are better off stringing the new cables to them as needed right away.

Temporarily you can ground individual receptacles or groups by yourself by running a ground wire out to the wall surface and down to the baseboard and up and around doorways to eventually get down to the breaker panel in the basement.

For the final project, from a doorway the first receptacle must be no more than 3 feet away and from there the next receptacle must be no more than 12 feet away measuring along the wall (not diagonally across the floor).

Six receptacles on one circuit is okay. Some folks prefer to have each room on its own circuit; others prefer to have receptacles on both sides of a wall on one circuit but averaging one circuit per room and two circuits for a really big room.
Now we have a new 3' rule? Where has that come from?
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:55 PM   #9
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He must have meant 6. Best bet would be to install a GFCI breaker on each receptacle circuit, then you can replace all the receps with 3 prong but you must mark them "No equipment ground"
I would still eventually replace the wiring though.


And Remember..that when you do this that surge protector may plug in, but is useless. They shunt the surges to ground, without a ground all there is, is a false sense of security. This includes using adapters.
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Old 05-17-2010, 04:19 PM   #10
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If remodeling includes opening the walls I'd run new wire
If it spossible to fish new wire I'd also run new circuits
Most of my new outlets are now only 5-6' apart
Most lamps you buy these days have very short cords

Do you a have a basement (finished ?), crawl space ?



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