Type of wire?


Old 09-20-05, 07:16 AM
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Type of wire?

I have a house built in the late 1940's and I am interested in replacing the outlets. How do I determine what type of outlets to buy? How do I determine what type of wiring I have? Grounded? Non-Grounded?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 09-20-05, 07:53 AM
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For a house built that long ago it is unlikely you have grounded wiring except possibly for any areas that have been updated and/or for specific areas of the house, such as the kitchen. You check by looking in two places and by performing a test.

Look at where the wires enter the fuse box or the circuit breaker panel. This may require opening the panel, so be careful and donít proceed if you donít feel comfortable doing this. You are looking to see if the wires from the panel have two wires (which would probably be black and white) or whether they also have a third bare ground wire.

With the power off, remove the cover of the receptacles in question and examine the wiring. You will probably have to remove the screws holding the receptacle in place and gently pulling it away from the wall. Are there two wires or three wires feeding the receptacle from each cable or entry? Where do those wires connect? Are there any wires connected to the metal box itself, or are all the wires connected to the receptacle? Where on the receptacle are the wires attached?

Finally, test the receptacle. With the power back and before replacing the receptacle in the box, use a simple neon light tester and check for power between the black wire(s) and the metal box. If there is a good ground then the light should light just as brightly as testing between the black and white wires. Be careful in this testing, as the receptacle and the wires will be live.
Old 09-20-05, 07:55 AM
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We must ask you for what purpose you want to replace the receptacles? The answer to that will influence our advice.
Old 09-20-05, 08:31 AM
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It is also very important to note if you have aluminum or copper wiring by looking at the color of the bare metal ends.
Old 09-20-05, 10:42 AM
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Examine the wiring at the Service-panel to determine if the cables that extend from the S-P to the interior wiring are metallic or non-metallic.

If they are non-metallic, then remove the cover from the panel, and examine the wires contained in the individual cables.If a non-metallic cable has only two insulated conductors, then there is a Grounding issue, because this type of non-metallic cable does not include a bare,un-insulated Equiptment Grounding Conductor.

I suggest you also determine exactly what outlets and loads are connected to each fuse/circuit-breaker. This knowledege will assist you if it's necessary to connect GFI receptacles at locations where the GFI protection can be extended to the maximum number of outlets.

For example, if you connect the "Line" terminals of a GFI receptacle to the 2 wires of the Branch-Circuit cable which is the 'Link" between the panel and the "first" outlet on that B-C, then all outlets on that B-C beyond the "first" outlet-box will have GFI protection if connected to the "Load" side of the GFI receptacle.

Good Luck, & Learn & Enjoy from the Experience!!!!!!!

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