Old Grounding

Old 02-17-04, 09:02 AM
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Old Grounding

On older houses, where a separate ground wire was ran from box to box (and 2 conductor cable was used), it is allowed to install grounding outlets or do I need to install GFCI's?

When I test for a ground it is present, but like I said, it's on a separate wire and I don't know where this wire goes. Was it common practice back then to run a ground back to the panel on a separate wire (kinda like a loop around the house from box to box)?

Old 02-17-04, 09:26 AM
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You must verify where this wire goes and what size it is.

An external ground wire can be added, but it must be the same size (or larger) than the wiring to the outlet and it must run all the way back to the panel and connect to the ground connection there.

If your wiring does not run back to the main panel or is the wrong size then you may not use it.

It was common (for a while) for cable to have a much smaller ground wire. Now the ground wire (in Romex and similar cables) is sized the same size as the other wires.

You may find when examining your wiring that this ground wire terminates on a water pipe or other ground source, or even on a nearby grounded outlet. This is dangerous. If you find such a connection (to a water pipe, for example) you should immediately remove it and either go without a ground or wire it correctly.
Old 02-17-04, 09:52 AM
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"Was it common practice back then----?"

This could depend upon "the Where and the When".

Possibly you'r in an area that at some indefinite period allowed the use of a Wiring Method that did not provide an Equiptment Grounding Conductor. At that time Grounding-Type recectacles did not exist.

A seperate EGC as you describe would be an expedient when the 2-prong receptacles were replaced with G-T receptacles in an arrangement that was Code-compliant.

An important Code-requirment for a seperate EGC is that it connect to "Any accessible point on the Grounding Electrode System". This is best accomplished by connecting the seperate EGC to the Neutral terminal bar in the Service panel. I suggest that you check for such a connection.

Good Luck & Enoy the Experience!!!!!!!!!!

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