Changing outlets from two-prong to 3-prong

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Old 07-02-04, 01:22 PM
1825Colonial
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Changing outlets from two-prong to 3-prong

I need some insite as to what the best way is to update my two prong plugs to a safer outlet. I was told to change the outlets to a GFI. Could I instead replace the breaker with a GFCI breaker? I assume the existing wire does not have a ground wire - although there are wires within the house that have metal casing.
 
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Old 07-02-04, 02:32 PM
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Code allows the following options:
  1. Add a grounding wire, or a new cable containing a grounding wire, from this outlet box all the way back to the panel (don't be tempted by ground rods or plumbing pipes!!). This would allow you to install an ordinary grounded receptacle.
  2. Protect the outlet with GFCI. This can be done with a GFCI receptacle at the outlet, a GFCI receptacle upstream, or a GFCI breaker in the panel. This allows you to legally use a 3-hole receptacle, and does improve safety substantially, but does not provide grounding.
 
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Old 07-06-04, 07:06 AM
1825Colonial
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So if I use a GFCI breaker or outlet, it will improve safety even if I don't have a ground.
I may see about running a groudwire anyway.
Could I use the metal casing on some of the older wiring as a ground? It connects back to the box.
 
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Old 07-06-04, 07:32 AM
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Yes, the GFCI improves safety even without a grounding connection.

By "metal casing on some of the older wiring," I assume you mean BX cable. This does not make a sufficient grounding connection by today's standards, but I'd use it if that's all I had available.
 
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Old 07-06-04, 08:01 AM
Mr_Funkenstien
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i'm dealing with the same problem at my house. i really cant afford to update all the electrical in my two story house.

would it be legal and safe if i took my two prong outlets and replaced them with three prong outlets (their is no ground wire, but at least the three prong outlets would work with appliances that have a three prong chord) and add GFCI breakers at the box for the outlets going from the kitchen/bath/laundry room?

thanks!
 
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Old 07-06-04, 09:25 AM
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If you provide GFCI protection for the outlet, then an ungrounded three-hole receptacle is legal. Without GFCI protection, it's not legal. So you need to provide GFCI protection for every circuit on which you intstall three-hole ungrounded receptacles.

GFCI protection may be provided either with a GFCI breaker, or one or more GFCI receptacles.
 
  #7  
Old 07-06-04, 12:28 PM
rlrct
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If you're not adding a grounding conductor from the feeding panelboard, there are some additional rules about labelling the replacement receptacles if you are using a GFCI receptacle.
<ul><li>All receptacles shall have a label attached that says "No Equipment Ground".</li>
<li>All receptacles downstream of/protected by a GFCI receptacle shall also have a label attached that says "GFCI Protected".</li></ul>

These labels are normally packed with a GFCI receptacle.
 
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Old 07-06-04, 12:37 PM
Mr_Funkenstien
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so, for example, if i replace all my two prong receptacles with GFCI receptacles will their be a problem with them tripping each other or are their any other wiring rules you work with when adding two or more GFCI receptacles along the same circuit? or am i asking for trouble.
 
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Old 07-06-04, 12:48 PM
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If one receptacle is downstream from another, there is no reason to use multiple GFCI receptacles on the same circuit (unless you have a multiwire circuit, but let's not go there). The upstream GFCI will protect the downstream receptacle if properly wired.

However, just because two receptacles are on the same circuit does not guarantee that either will be downstream of the other. So you have to test that.

If you install more GFCIs than necessary, it won't cause any harm except to your wallet.
 
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