Updating Outlets Questions

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  #1  
Old 12-21-04, 01:27 PM
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Updating Outlets Questions

I just purchased a home (built 1956-57). It has 200 amp service. It also has 20 amp outlets but no 3 prong outlets nor any GFCIs.

What I have in all of the outlet boxes are two romax type lines coming in (1) black & (1) white in each of the lines. Then I have what appears to be 1 ground that is grounded to the outlet box in the back at the bottom.

My two projects are( in any order):

1: install GFCI 20s outlets near water areas

2: install 3 prong 20s in all of the other outlets.

Does this sound ok? Anything special? Is this present wiring setup sound ok to start from here?

Thanks,

edspilot
 
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  #2  
Old 12-21-04, 01:33 PM
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If you have a grounding wire, and you can confirm it goes all the way to the panel you can install 3 prong outlets in most areas. Relatively few areas require a GCFI, but it is a smart idea (albeit expensive) to install them. Keep in mind that if your circuits are wired in a daisy chain configuration (most likely) you can use the load screws on the GCFI to protect all outlets downstream from that point. In another words, if you have 10 daisy chained outlets you only need to install 1 GCFI to protect all 10.

You'll find that 20A outlets are expensive... there is no need to do this. "Regular" 15A outlets will work find in most cases.
 
  #3  
Old 12-21-04, 01:56 PM
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Grounding ??

How would I know or check to see if the ground wire goes all the way to the panel?

edspilot
 
  #4  
Old 12-21-04, 02:17 PM
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Take a look at the panel and see if you have ground wires connected to it fromthe branch circuits.
 
  #5  
Old 12-21-04, 04:30 PM
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A lot of places also may not need to be changed, bedrooms that have only double insulated equipment plugged in the 2 prongs are fine.
 
  #6  
Old 12-22-04, 11:38 AM
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<<Then I have what appears to be 1 ground that is grounded to the outlet box in the back at the bottom.>>

This tells me the boxes are metal.

Go get a voltage tester and take the faceplates off of the receptacles. Place one probe in the hot slot of the receptacle and put the second probe on the metal box. If you have a connected ground wire, the voltage tester will read 110 to 120 volts.

<<1: install GFCI 20s outlets near water areas>>

All counter top receptacles in the kitchen have to be GFCI protected.
 
  #7  
Old 12-22-04, 11:42 AM
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I Got the idea except the ground ID at the panel..

I think I have the process down. Just still not sure how to check for the ground at the panel.

Mentioned above about checking for a ground wire in the panel at the branch circut. Not sure what I'm looking for.

Thanks,

edspilot
 
  #8  
Old 12-22-04, 11:46 AM
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Thanks

Thanks for the way to use the tester for checking the ground. I'll do that tomorrow and let you know.

Have a Merry.

edspilot
 
  #9  
Old 12-22-04, 12:02 PM
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By turning off individual breakers then finding out which receptacles are de-energized you can determine which receptacles are controlled by which breaker. Look in one of the receptacle boxes to see if the Romex has a ground coming out of it, then with the panel face off see if the Romex coming into the panel to that breaker has its ground wire connected to the ground bus (or if it has a ground wire at all). Sometimes people take a ground wire from the yoke on a receptacle and connect it to the receptacle's box and think that receptacle is grounded, even though their Romex (or knob & tube) has no ground wire. If the receptacle box is not grounded by a ground wire or conduit all the way to the panel ground bus, that receptacle is not grounded. But thinman's test will confirm this too. If hot-to-box is 110 to 120 volts, that box is grounded.

Hope that helps.

Juice
 
  #10  
Old 12-22-04, 12:07 PM
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Thin man's test will not accurately confirm a properly grounded circuit. It will only tell you that the box is connected to the neutral back to the power company. It may be properly grounded or it may be improperly connected to the neutral that goes back to the panel. You cannot be absolutely sure until and unless you confirm a proper ground connection at each end.
 
  #11  
Old 12-22-04, 12:14 PM
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Racraft,

I forgot to take into account some of the whacky things some novices do. Like twist the neutral and ground together at an electric range thinking it's all the same because the grounds and neutrals are together in the panel. It is entirely possible that hot-to-box means the box is grounded because the hots & neutrals are tied at the panel. But it's entirely possible that a neutral is somehow connected to the box. Physically checking, as I described in my last post, is the sure way to tell.

Juice
 
  #12  
Old 12-22-04, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
You cannot be absolutely sure until and unless you confirm a proper ground connection at each end.
Actually, they will need to check the connections at each receptacle and junction box. If the grounding path is broken along the way, the receptacles will not be grounded. In a more modern house, it could be pretty confident that the grounding connections are continuous. In the case of an older house, additions and repairs with modern NM-B w/ ground might give the appearance of a continuous grounding conductor without that being the case. I have similar situations at my house. The previous owner has added onto existing circuits and put on grounded outlets, without the ground being continuous back to the panel. Just my $0.02.
 
  #13  
Old 12-22-04, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
Thin man's test will not accurately confirm a properly grounded circuit. It will only tell you that the box is connected to the neutral back to the power company. It may be properly grounded or it may be improperly connected to the neutral that goes back to the panel. You cannot be absolutely sure until and unless you confirm a proper ground connection at each end.
He wants to check for a connected equipment grounding wire, not a neutral, right?

When I hear people use the word 'ground' I think of the equipment grounding conductor.
 
  #14  
Old 12-22-04, 05:13 PM
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thinman,

The test you propose will test for a ground, but it will not test for a proper ground. The box may very well be improperly connected to the neutral at this receptacle or some other receptacle instead of to the ground and your test will show voltage between the box and the hot wire. However, you will not know of the ground is proper or not.
 
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