relacing two prong outlets with grounded outlets

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  #1  
Old 01-06-05, 08:00 PM
bobb
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relacing two prong outlets with grounded outlets

hi, here i go again!
my gf's mother house has the old type two prong outlets. the electric clothes dryer ( yes its 120v!, not 220v) arced and burned the plup and outlet cause the outlet is wore out, as some others r too. im going to replace them all, did the one to dryer, and plug on dryer, it works fine, but i noticed the cable coming into the workbox looks like romex, but blk in color and only has blk and wht wires, no grd! i ran a grnd wire from the knew outlet to the workbox anyway. is this actually doing anything??? i dont think it can hurt, i would'nt think it would. any ideas besides running a grnd cabe or new romex to outlets/switches????

bob b.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-06-05, 08:59 PM
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I think you're saying that you grounded the new dryer receptacle to the metal electrical box that contains it. Right? You are correct that this probably can't hurt but may or may not help. A voltmeter can probably loosely confirm if the box is grounded. If not, the only way to ground it is to run a new grounded cable to the electrical panel. This electrical system is living on borrowed time.
 
  #3  
Old 01-06-05, 09:00 PM
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Run a ground to the cold water supply if it's copper and uninterrupted out to the street. Does the main panel have a ground? Sounds like an old system there.
 
  #4  
Old 01-06-05, 09:06 PM
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No, no, no, no, no. Under no conditions should you ground this receptacle to a plumbing pipe. This is incredibly hazardous. Sorry GTBaker, but your advice this time is terrible.
 
  #5  
Old 01-06-05, 09:19 PM
bobb
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grouding 2 prong outlets.

john and gt,
yes i grounded the the outlet to the metal workbox. yes, this is a very old house. only 2 outets in each room, but its a a small house. why is there no ground wire in the romex? if its romex, or is it just OLD romex? the house is located in nc, and i have bee in other houses, fairly new (25yrs old or so) that i have seen with two prong outlets. could it be the code? im from ny, moved here a yr ago. to check "losely" with a volt ohm meter, i turn of power to the outlet i am testing and look for cotinuity between the wht wire and the workbox, correct??? i didnt look at the service panel to see if its grounded, but i will later today.

bob b.
 
  #6  
Old 01-06-05, 09:33 PM
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Early Romex was produced without grounding wires. I'm pretty sure you can still buy Romex without grounding wires, but I'll bet it doesn't sell well.

Yes, there was a time when ungrounded circuits were legal. But I pretty sure it was longer ago than 25 years. But these may simply be two-prong receptacles on grounded circuits (which is still legal today I think).

You can either test for continuity between neutral and the box with the power off, or voltage between hot and the box with the power on. It will tell you whether or not you have grounding, but doesn't tell you if it's done properly or how good it is.

Service panel grounding is a different grounding system for a different purpose. You can ground the service panel without grounding the branch circuits, or vice versa. Branch circuit grounding does not depend on service grounding to be effective.
 
  #7  
Old 01-06-05, 09:55 PM
bobb
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grouding 2 prong outlets

john,

i understand now how to test for grnd, makes sense u can do it with power on too, but i will turn it off to to be safe! im no electrician, but am learning some good pointers from all u folks on here! the only electrical problem she has had that i know of, is the outlet that burnded some, cause its wore out and the plug hangs out of it, like some others. i think if the outlets all show a ground, i will ground the new outlets to the boxes and leave be. i dont know much about snakeing wires thorugh the walls in a house and can imgaine there r many obsticles i could run it into, in the walls when running grounds to the panel, and not quite sure how to do it. the wires in the outlets seem to still be fexible and not coroded or britle. what do u think, leave well another alone with new outlets and grounds, thats if i have a ground to the exiting outlets???

bob.b
 
  #8  
Old 01-06-05, 10:42 PM
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I'm not understanding the not grounding to a cold water pipe. It's code here. I grounded my bathroom outlet to the water pipe to pass inspection. Plus my panel was grounded to the water pipe..and other homes are as well.
 
  #9  
Old 01-06-05, 11:10 PM
bobb
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ground to water pipe

gt,
like i said, im no electrician, but my service at my house in ny was grounded to the water pipe in the basement, next to the water meter, on the side of the pipe that went through the wall and out to the main in the street. when i worked construction, years ago, the contractor i worked for was putting up a new comercial building, and we had to drive four ft 3/8" copper rods in the ground for the grounds tho. maybe it varies???

bob b.
 
  #10  
Old 01-07-05, 01:10 AM
sgent
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The reason not to ground

The reason you don't ground an outlet to a cold water (or hot water pipe) is because if a better path exists to ground, than through the water pipe entrance, the electricity will take that path. For instnace, if you are washing your hands while standing on a concrete floor, you may create a better circuit than the pipes -- so grounded electricity will go through you instead of to ground.

Another major reason is that often water pipes are replaced, and the intermittent pipe maybe PVC rather than copper.

The one exception to this in the NEC is that any water pipes that are underground for 10 feet before entering the house must be grounded to the electrical system within 5' of the pipe entrance.

Finally, Bobb, you can use GFCI recepticals / fuse, with three prongs, even if youd on't have a ground to the actual outlet. You must mark the outlets NEG (no equipment ground) with a label on the outlet. These will provide the saftey of grounded outlets, but will not provide needed grounding for items such as computers -- which use the ground circuit to send fluctuating voltage trhough.
 
  #11  
Old 01-07-05, 09:39 AM
bobb
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reason for ground

sgent,
ty for ur reply. i can understand what ur saying. electricity is "lazy', will take the least path of resistance! soooo, it the metal work boxes r grounded in someway, it is still best to us gfic outlets throughout the house? couldnt i just repalce the two reg breakers in service panel, for the two circuits im working on, with gfic breakers? if i need to repace the old outlets with gfic outlets tho i will, i sure dont want to get into running ground wires through that old house, especially, since ive never done it before, but think i have a general idea of how its done.

bobb.
 
  #12  
Old 01-07-05, 09:56 AM
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What is the amp rating of the circuit breaker that supplys the dryer?
 
  #13  
Old 01-08-05, 11:33 AM
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Must be a Canadian thing...or Newfoundland thing as to ground to a cold water pipe if a ground isn't available. It's in my code book and a number of journy's told me it was acceptable to do it that way.
 
  #14  
Old 01-08-05, 11:47 AM
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You have two different grounding systems. The serve different purposes, and have different rules. Don't get them confused.

It is acceptable and in fact required to ground your panel to the water pipe. This connection must be within 5 feet of where the water pipe enters your house.

It is unacceptable and prohibited to ground outlets to any water pipe more than five feet from where it enters your house.
 
  #15  
Old 01-08-05, 04:26 PM
bobb
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Exclamation breaker amperage for dryer

thinman,

the dryer is on a 20amp regular breaker as is the rest of the kitcten on the same breaker/cicuit. i beleive a 20 amp breaker is the norm for a kitchen circuit. the other circuit for the other outlets/lights are 15 amp. also, like i said, this is an old house, so there are only 2 outlets in each room, plus a ceiling light in each room, 4 rooms, so 8 outlets on 2 circuits, 2 outlets on the 20 amp breaker(kitchen) other 6 outlets on 15 amp breaker. i thought that by installing 2 gfic breakers, instead of 8 gfic outlets would save time and money, and still be safe. i think at one time, this house had the fuse box with two 30amp fuses in it, for the whole house.

bob b.
 
  #16  
Old 01-08-05, 05:20 PM
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Grounding to the water pipe is I believe allowed in Canada.
 
  #17  
Old 01-08-05, 06:50 PM
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Maybe so Joe, but I hope somebody will check this out for sure in the CEC before anybody follows that advice. And if you're in the U.S., don't do it!
 
  #18  
Old 01-08-05, 08:20 PM
sgent
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There are three ways

To GFCI protect an outlet...

1) Put a GFCI in every outlet.

2) Put a GFCI in for the fuse.

3) Put a GFCI in for the first outlet in a series, which will then protect all downstream outlets.

Any of these are approximately equivalent, and there are pluses/minues to each. Number 1 may not be advisable if the box is wired in series rather than parrallel. You only want a given outlet protected once.
 
  #19  
Old 01-08-05, 08:30 PM
bobb
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Arrow correction>>> about how many outlets on each circuit

hello,

in my last post in the thread "replacing two prong outlets..." there are actually 4 outlets in the kitchen on one 20amp breaker, and the other 4 outlets/and ceiling lights (3) on a 15amp breaker.

bobb.
 
  #20  
Old 01-08-05, 09:32 PM
bobb
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using gfci outlets

hi,

when u say put in the gfci for a fuse, i assume you mean fuse/breaker? as far as i know they are wired in paralell, two blacks on gold terminals, two whites on silver, and the tab between the screw terminals has not been broken for any reason. im going to replace the regular breakers for the two circuits with gfci breakers, so even if it was wired in series, it wouldn't matter, cause the only gfci, would be the only breaker for the circuit, correct? do u know approximately what a single gfci breaker would cost? would it still be a good idea to connect a 12ga ground wire from the new outlets to the metal workbox too, even with the gfci breakers installed?
 
  #21  
Old 01-09-05, 05:42 AM
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Ah the famous serial-parallel issue strikes again.

The terms serial and parallel when referring to running electrical wiring are very ambiguous and only confuse people. It is best to avoid those terms altogether.

All outlets (receptacles, lights, whatever) are run in parallel. In order to get 120 volts across every device on the circuit they must be in parallel. Many people make the mistake and wire their circuits in series, thereby putting substantially less than 120 volts on their devices and wonder why they don;t work.

What people really mean by series and parallel is how the cable is run. The cable can be run serially from the first outlet to the second, to the third, etc. Or the cable can be run in a star patter, from one outlet branching out to several. Or you can use a combination of the two.
 
  #22  
Old 01-09-05, 08:52 AM
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That 20 amp breaker...is it a double pole? If it is...that's the breaker for the counter plugs. Giving you 2 circuts. Each countertop plug would be a split recepticle(CEC 26-722b) and 2 circuts in each plug. Also the plugs would be run with 3 way wire. The other plugs and light and run normally off a 15amp breaker.
 
  #23  
Old 01-09-05, 10:57 PM
bobb
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Exclamation 20amp breaker, single poll?...

hi
i would say yes. it only has one lead feeding off the breaker. if it were double, it would have two? i checked the service today, and it is a 100amp, 14 breaker (slots?) panel. not much going out of it!four circuits with multiple outets and lights. i circuit for range. 1 for hot water heater, and 1 for well pump. the service coming into the panel from the meter uses the sheathing from the cable to connect to the neutral buss, and two legs go to the main 100amp breaker. the only other ground wires i see connected to the common buss is the one for the well pump, and kicthen range, the rest are commons i think for the outlet circuits. i check for continuity from the common wire on an outlet to the workbox, and got nothing. with power on, no voltage from hot on outlets to workbox, hence no ground? i checked for power from a 15amp breaker to the service panel frame, and got 120vac,so the service is grounded then, correct? so installing gfci breakers in the service panel, for the two circuits with the outlets/switches, would be the closest i can get , without running grounds from each outlet/switch? but it has to be alot better and safer than what i have now.

bobb
 
  #24  
Old 01-12-05, 12:42 AM
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Bobb,

I was just wondering about,

"the electric clothes dryer ( yes its 120v!, not 220v) arced and burned the plup and outlet cause the outlet is wore out, as some others r too. im going to replace them all, did the one to dryer, and plug on dryer, it works fine"

and that you hadn't checked inside the breaker panel at that point. Are you sure those two wires weren't both hot, as in 220v with no neutral or ground? Don't assume white is neutral. I'm not sure, but I think both the motor and heating element may "work" marginally if wired 110v but designed for 220v.
 
  #25  
Old 01-12-05, 01:04 PM
bobb
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Thumbs up dryer is definately 120vac

hi,

Been in service panel and romex that feeds circuit that clothes dryer is on, is definately 120vac. As for the no ground problem, im going to install a gfci breaker for each circuit in question. Thank you all for all your help with this. Next project installing four phone jacks, but i know this one, been doing that since I was 16 yrs old! Thanks again!

Bob B.
 
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