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replacing 2-pronged outlets with 3-pronged outlet in old home

replacing 2-pronged outlets with 3-pronged outlet in old home

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  #1  
Old 02-27-04, 09:27 AM
hscaskey
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Question replacing 2-pronged outlets with 3-pronged outlet in old home

I have a 120 year old home and all of the electrical has not been updated. I want to replace the old 2-pronged outlets with 3-pronged outlets. Is there is simple way to create a ground for the new outlets where there was no previous ground wire?
 
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  #2  
Old 02-27-04, 09:35 AM
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There is no simple way to providing grounding (or more precisely, all the simple ways are illegal and dangerous). However, GFCI receptacles give you a simple way of using an ungrounded 3-prong receptacle. It depends on what your goals of this project are. Are you trying to protect your family, trying to protect your computer, or just trying to plug in the coffee maker?

You are not allowed to simply replace 2-prong receptacles with 3-prong receptacles without either providing grounding or providing GFCI protection.
 
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Old 02-27-04, 09:59 AM
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My recommendation is to add a ground where you need one, put a GFCI where you need one, and leave the rest alone.

There is no reason to install three prong receptacles where you don't need them.
 
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Old 02-27-04, 10:24 AM
hscaskey
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Replacing 2-pronged outlets

My goal is to be able to plug in anything that might need a ground such as an extension cord. How do I add a ground? Is this something I could do myself or would I need to hire an electricain?
 
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Old 02-27-04, 10:52 AM
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Until you get the time and money to completely rewire your house, I suggest you set your priorities and not shoot for grounded receptacles everywhere. That goal isn't realistic. If you really need all grounded receptacles, either move to a modern house or shell out the thousands of dollars to rewire this house.

For now, put GFCI receptacles in the kitchen, bathrooms and rooms frequented by young children. That will provide protection for your family and allow you to plug in stuff with 3-prong plugs.

If you have expensive computers or electronic equipment, then I suggest running a new grounded circuit to the area where that equipment will be. Putting it all in one room will save you money. To do that, install a new breaker and run new modern cable from the panel to that location.

The solution is either expensive or a compromise. You can't get everything you might want at a cheap price. As I said, set your priorities.
 
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Old 02-27-04, 10:57 AM
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To add a ground you have two choices.

You may replace the 2 conductor cable all the way back to the panel. New cable will be 2 conductors plus a ground. Places with old style three conductor cable will need to be replaced with new three conductor cable, which will also have a ground.

The other choice is to add a ground wire, which must be green. This ground wire needs to run from the receptacle all the way back to the panel.

But again, I ask why. Yes, if it's likely you will need to use an extension cord at a particular outlet then make it grounded. But remember, extension cords are for temporary use only, so temporarily you copuld run the extension cord from some other outlet. You could ground one outlet per room, for example.
 
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