ungrounded outlets

Old 12-10-03, 07:33 AM
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ungrounded outlets

Just bought an old home and I want to get things up to snuff, but one main problem. The outlets in the office area are ungrounded. Is there a way to ground them besides pulling new wire. They have plastic gang boxes and a concrete floor with real log siding, so I can't come up from underneath with new wire and don't really want to tear the interior siding down. Can I just run a jumpper wire from neutral side of outlet to the ground screw. They both are going to the same place in the breaker box when new wire is installed. Any ideas out there? Thankx
Old 12-10-03, 07:45 AM
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They both are going to the same place in the breaker box when new wire is installed.
This reasoning, often heard, is responsible for more electrical atrocities than you can imagine.

Jumpering the neutral to the grounding is just this side of suicide. Never, ever, ever, ever do this. To do so would significantly increase the risk of personal injury. You would be turning a safety device into a hazard. Such a ground is far, far worse than no ground at all.

Sorry, but the only way to get grounding is to run a new cable back to the panel. Don't be tempted to try to ground to a grounding rod or a plumbing pipe. Either do it right, or live without grounding (and many people do).
Old 12-10-03, 07:46 AM
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You absolutely cannot run a jumper from the neutral wire to the ground lug on an outlet. This violates code and is extremely dangerous.

It is dangerous because the return carries electricity back to the source. By adding a jumper you will be making that current available at the ground pin. Someone contacting the metal shell of an 'grounded' device with one hand and another ground source with their other hand, such as a metal water pipe, may subject themselves to current through their body, which could lead to death.

If the wiring to the outlets does not contain a ground wire then you have two solutions. Replace the cable with cable containing a ground wire or run a separate wire from the outlets all the way back to the panel.

Adding a ground wire to another ground source, (which some people do), such as a water pipe is also dangerous. This is because it could place current on the water pipes. Someone touching a water fixture at the time a defective device is plugged in could get a shock.

Without a ground wire then you have one other alternative. You may replace each outlet (or the first outlet on the circuit) with a GFCI outlet. This GFCI outlet and any downstream outlets should be identified as having "No Equipment Ground". There are sometimes little stickers packed with the GFCI outlet for this purpose. While these converted outlets are not suitable for computers or other devices that need a good earth ground, they are suitable for many grounded devices as the GFCI does provide protection against accidental ground faults. Please remember to test the GFCI protection on a regular basis.
Old 12-10-03, 02:43 PM
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Thanks for the info. The idea of a jumper was an idea I had last night at work. I had the same idea about the current return but thought I would pass it by to somebody else. I will continue to run an extension corsd from an outlet that I already replaced till I remodel some more. Thanks again.
Old 12-10-03, 06:41 PM
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You have plastic boxes and no grounding??? How old is this installation? Were the ground wires cut off by someone?

Plastic boxes are new in the scope of things and grounding has been around long before them.
I bet there is a ground somewhere.

Something is not kosher.
Old 12-10-03, 08:56 PM
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The wiring that I have been replacing on the second story and attic is knob and tube wiring. The office was "remodeled" about ten years ago and I'm guessing that when they put the log siding up, they had to move the boxes because of the contour of the siding. Moving them down a bit so the wire would reach and replacing the old boxes with new ones. This is only what I can take for a guess since nobody really knows a lot about this house. Alot of the outlets are still two prong but some are newer three prongs with no ground. Some of the newer outlets have a ground wire that has been cut off since they just spliced into the knob and tube system. I've rewired the second floor and attic but still have the first floor and basement to do yet. I keep telling my wife I'll do it in my spare time.

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