Using GFCI Receptacles

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  #1  
Old 11-14-05, 04:39 PM
Chuck Susman
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Using GFCI Receptacles

I just bought a house that only has grounded receptacles (outlets) in the kitchen. All other rooms have just the old 2-pronged outlets. Obviously this is a bit of a pain since so many appliances and tools have 3 prong plugs that require the 3 prong outlet.

How can I convert these old receptacles? I really don't want to rewire the whole house.

I've been told I can buy GFCI receptacles and substitute these for each 2-prong outlet. Is this true?
 
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  #2  
Old 11-14-05, 04:56 PM
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Yes it is true.
However
You won't have true grounded receptacles for devices like surge protectors.
You don't ned to change every receptacle. If you can find the first receptacle of the line you only need to change that one to GFCI. It can protect the other receptacles down the line. They can be changed to normal threee prong receptacles and labled 'no ground GFCI protected'.
 
  #3  
Old 11-14-05, 06:00 PM
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As joed pointed out, the receptacles you protect with a GFCI will not have a true ground. Some devices (mainly electronic ones, like computers) need a ground to function properly and may not function properly if no ground is present. For this reason, you should consider grounding certain places.

My advice is to leave the ungrounded receptacles in place for most locations and properly ground those locations where you need a ground.
 
  #4  
Old 11-14-05, 06:06 PM
Chuck Susman
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Properly Grounding Receptacles

How do I properly ground the Receptacles? Do I have to run a ground wire to my circuit box in my basement? Is there any other way?
 
  #5  
Old 11-14-05, 06:35 PM
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Depends on what country you live in. Can you fill in the location field in your profile?
 
  #6  
Old 11-14-05, 08:26 PM
Chuck Susman
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Properly Grounding Receptacles

I'm in upstate New York (next to Syracuse) (USA). I need to know how you properly ground old 2 prong receptacles. Only my kitchen has 3-prong (grounded) outlets.

I was told I could substitute GFCI Receptacles but then I was told that they don't provide a true ground. I don't want to re-wire the whole house but I certainly could use some grounded outlets in other rooms. Do I need to run a ground wire to my circuit box in the basement? Is there any other way.

I really appreciate any help and advice anyone could give me.

Thanks
 

Last edited by Chuck Susman; 11-14-05 at 08:36 PM.
  #7  
Old 11-14-05, 08:32 PM
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To ground a receptacle, it must be bonded to any point on the grounding electrode system. In most cases, the main panel grounding bar is the most accessible point on the GES.

If you're going to all the trouble to run a grounding wire back to the panel, it's usually better to just run a whole new cable, since you get all new wiring for about the same effort.
 
  #8  
Old 11-14-05, 08:41 PM
Chuck Susman
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Properly Grounding Receptacles

I was hoping there was an easier way to ground some of these old 2 prong outlets - than to go through the effort of running a gounding wire back to the panel.

Right now, I'm running long extension cords from the kitchen (where I have grounded receptacles) as a temporary solution. But obviously that's no solution.
 
  #9  
Old 11-14-05, 09:23 PM
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On this same topic, can somebody tell me if this is right:

I also had 2 prong outlets in most of the house, which are wired with BX (armored cable) with no grounding wire. I was told that theoretically, the metal box is ground by the cable shell, when it is properly clamped to the box. I bought the green pigtails and gounded each 3 prong receptacle to the box, while checking the clamp on each cable.

Now after all I have read and seen, I don't trust the old BX and I am in the process of rewiring everything with 12-2 Romex. Some of the circuits I may not get to for a while, but at least I have cleaned up the connections, replaced ~50 year old receptacles, and grounded them to the box, which has to be better than the gray adapters they sell that simply grounds it to the middle screw that holds the outlet cover on.
 
  #10  
Old 11-15-05, 04:33 AM
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Electrically speaking, using those two to three prong adapters is no better than using a three prong receptacle if there is no ground presen to the box. There might be a mechanical advantage to the three prong receptacles, but that's about it.
 
  #11  
Old 11-15-05, 09:52 AM
Chuck Susman
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Properly Grounding Receptacles

So the only way to properly ground old 2-prong receptacles is to run a wire (or cable) to the circuit box in my basement. In other word, I would have to re-wire my house.

There is no other way?

I vaguely recall reading that you could ground an outlet to a cold water pipe.

Obviously I need help here.
 
  #12  
Old 11-15-05, 10:09 AM
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What type of wiring do you have now?
 
  #13  
Old 11-15-05, 10:37 AM
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Check,

You cannot ground to the cold water pipes.

Just curious, why do you list your location as Fayetteville, when you really live in Dewitt? Is it just because your mailing address is Fayetteville?
 
  #14  
Old 11-15-05, 05:24 PM
Chuck Susman
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According to the Post Office and the Town, I do live in Fayetteville (13066).

Why do you think I live in Dewitt?

And, what do I need to do to ground all my old 2-prong receptacles?
 
  #15  
Old 11-15-05, 06:52 PM
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It has been said at least 6 times. Ground wire from the recpticle to the grounding system, or replace the wiring. I know that's not what you want to hear, but that is simply the way it is.
 
  #16  
Old 11-15-05, 07:19 PM
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Chuck, I looked up your address in the phone book, and that address is in Dewitt. That could be your old address... However, that's not important.

Anyway, to properly ground the receptacles you must run a separate ground wire to them from the main panel or you must replace the (2 wire) cable that feeds them with a new (3 wire) cable.
 
  #17  
Old 11-16-05, 03:57 PM
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look first

Around here, there are a lot of homes built in the '50's with two prong receptacle outlets. However, the romex used actually has the grounding wire; so, check..
 
  #18  
Old 11-16-05, 03:58 PM
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Where Chuck lives, most houses built in that era do have grounded wiring. Mine is one of them.
 
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