Converting 2 prong to 3 prong.

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  #1  
Old 09-12-05, 03:22 PM
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Converting 2 prong to 3 prong.

Hi all. I just bought a new house that was owned by an older couple before me, who didn't have much along the lines of electronics. I do. Most of the outlets in the house are 3 prong outlets, but all are open ground. I have read enough to learn that GFCI outlets are good in most cases, but I would like to have a few of the outlets be grounded, especially the ones my TV and computer will be on.

I haven't looked yet to see if they are encased in a metal box or not, but I've been told I could just ground to that. If that isn't the case, of if that's a bad idea, I may have to try to run new ground wire to the breaker box. If I do end up doing this, what would be the best way to do it? Do all the electrical wires have to be encased together along the walls? Can the bare copper wire run to the box, or would a green one work?

I'm kind of clueless. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!

--Jeremy
 
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  #2  
Old 09-12-05, 05:09 PM
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Take a look at the plug on your television. If it's like most, it doesn't even have a grounding pin. In that case, plugging it into a grounded receptacle won't help one bit (unless you were planning to use a surge suppressor).

Your computer is another story. It can definitely benefit from grounding.

Can you tell us in what year the house was built (or last rewired)?

Do you live in the greater Chicago area, or in NYC? If not, where?

Go ahead and take the cover off of a receptacle and look inside. It'll only take a second to see if the box is metal.
 
  #3  
Old 09-18-05, 08:59 AM
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Thanks for the reply. I'll try to give a little more info now.

The house was built in 1950. It's in MT. I don't know when it was last rewired, but it looks like they just converted the 2 prong outlets to ungrounded 3 prong.

The boxes are metal, but I haven't had the chance yet to test them to see if they'll be okay to use as a ground. (i've read a bit about that, but I'm not completely sure I'll be doing it right...) Anybody have an easy clear explanation on how to do this?

Also, in the event that I can't ground to the metal box, would I be able to just run a green ground wire from my breaker box to the individual outlets I want grounded? Does it need to be better protected than that within the wall? Does a full rewire of the outlet need to happen instead?

Just a few more questions. Keep in mind I just bought this house and money is very tight right now, but I would like to be able to safely use my computer.

thanks!
 
  #4  
Old 09-19-05, 07:09 AM
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A primitive test for grounding can be done with a simple $2 neon circuit tester. This test must be done very, very carefully. If you're not a careful person, then don't do this. Take the cover off of an outlet. Touch one probe to one of the brass screws, and the other probe to the metal box. If the neon light comes on, then you have at least some form of grounding, although it might not be very good.

Yes, you may ground an outlet by running a green wire from the grounding bar in the breaker box to the outlet. No special protection is required when running inside a wall. Most people recommend that if you're going to all that trouble that you'd be better off to run all new wiring rather than just the grounding wire.
 
  #5  
Old 09-19-05, 08:02 AM
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The first priority for you, having moved into a older house,is to determine exactly what outlets and loads are connected to each fuse/circuit-breaker, and accurately record and preserve this informantion in table-form. This info will be of future benefit.

Examine the wiring at the fuse/ c-b panel in order to determine the Wiring Method used for extending circuits from the panel.

Most likely, the Wiring Method will be (1),Metal Amored Cable; (2). Non-metallic cable with a bare Grounding wire; (3), Non-metallic cable WITHOUT the bare Grounding wire. Wiring Method #3 will be a cable with insulated conductors
ONLY.

I suggest you investigate the type of Wiring Method used, and "report back"

Good Luck, & Learn & Enjoy from the Experience!!!!
 
  #6  
Old 09-19-05, 01:02 PM
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Thanks for helping me out!

I looked at the wiring this weekend, and I don't know what it's called, but I'll describe it. It's not the metal sheathed wiring, I know that. And it looks to be a mixture of the second and third choices given above.

We found that they had cut the ground wire short and did not run it all the way in to the box for any of the outlets that we found it in. We also tried to ground to the bar wire in a couple of outlets, but it didn't work.

We also noticed that most of the wiring is pretty accesible from the basement, as it's the older type of grid ceiling that fits together in squares. Would it be very easy to run new grounded cables from the box to the outlets that I would like to ground? Or is that 'best left to a professional"?

Also, given that the wiring is easy to get to, I could fairly easily run ground wires from the existing outlets to the water pipes in the basement (assuming they'll work as a ground).

thanks!
 
  #7  
Old 09-19-05, 01:22 PM
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Would it be very easy to run new grounded cables from the box to the outlets that I would like to ground?
You can see it, so you're in a better position to judge than we are. Most likely, it would be easy for some people and hard for others. A lot depends on how good you are at problem solving.

Or is that 'best left to a professional"?
Depends on your skill level, how willing you are to do the research, how tight money is, and how soon you want it done.
 
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