installing a 3 prong outlets....

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Old 01-30-07, 04:46 AM
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installing a 3 prong outlets....

I live in home that was builting in the 30's and some parts of the electrical wiring has been updated but some still have the 2 prong outlets. I have talked to several different people including electricians, handmen, hardware store personal and they have all given different answers about how I can't update the 2 prong outlets to three prong. Some say I have to run wire to the each individual outlets and some say I can just tie into the metal outlet box for my ground. I didn't know what is the "best" way or if there IS multiple ways to do it. I know most of the time there is more than one way to do things but I just didn't know what would be correct.

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-30-07, 04:51 AM
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First answer the question, "Why do you want to do this?" We'll go from there. Unless you have a reason to install three prong receptacles, there is no reason to do so.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 06:22 AM
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Just to add a bit. Just because you have a metal box does not mean the box is grounded. If it isn't grounded that obviously isn't an option.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 04:26 PM
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Ray's right.....unless the box is metal AND the wire is installed in some sort of metal conduit or flex, the box is not grounded. Many older homes used "knob-and-tube" wiring with no flex or conduit in the walls. If you pull a receptacle out <power off, of course> you'll be able to tell if the wire is installed in metal flex.......if not, you'll have to run new 3-wire cable to the devices in order to meet code requirements. Also, as Racraft pointed out, sometimes the best approach is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Good luck.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 04:30 PM
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just install 3 prong receptacles where NEEDED.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 07:38 PM
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Burkej62.. You want a second chance answer?
You've been around long enough. Even if you don't have a code book.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 07:58 PM
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jemayes,
I am just curious, why after you talked to an electrician about an electrical problem, you decided to ask handymen, and store clerks.

did you think that these people would give better advice than an electrician?

would you go with the store clerks idea, over the electricians, cause it is cheeper?

If you didnt like what the doctor told you, would you ask the pharmacy tech, and follow his/her advice, if it suited you better?

I am trying to understand why people think that electricians are not qualified pros. I want to know why we dont get respect.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 08:43 PM
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jemayes, to answer your question, you cannot replace the two-pronged receptacles with three prong. Your house is knob and tube; there is no ground wire back to the panel. To Bob's question, why do you need to do this? Not many household appliances have three-pronged receptacles.

If you REALLY need a three-pronged receptacle, and you have no ground, you can install a GCFI receptacle and label it 'no ground'. It still is not grounded, but it affords more protection then putting a three-prong receptacle on wiring that is not grounded.

Good luck.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 08:45 PM
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jwhite, people only want to hear the advice they WANT to hear. If the electrician said that it was to code, that would have been the end of it.

It's human nature...nothing against electricians per se.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 08:50 PM
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I have to shy away from using the GFCI recepticle and lables clause for homes anymore.

Most of the time people need ground wires for things like TV sets, home electronics, and computers.

While the GFCI and lable works for tools like drills where the ground is an added safety to the user, this method does nothing to help the electronics that need the ground on a daily basis to keep them running smoothly.

In a situatlion like this, I would do what racraft eluded to..... run a new grounded circuit to the locations where the ground is needed.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 08:53 PM
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Fuente: This is true. Some don't realize they will get an answer they don't want.

I hope they understand and accept the good advice offered.
 
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Old 01-30-07, 09:03 PM
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jwhite I should have stated that the method would be code compliant, but definately not ideal.
 
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Old 02-02-07, 12:17 PM
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Jemayes

Thanks for all the replies and sorry I haven't responded sooner. To answer a few of the questions asked: 1: I want to switch 2 prong to 3 prong outlets because in our living room, office, bedroom, and other rooms we have surge protectors for computers, tv, dvd player, and "modern" electronics. Obviously, it's kinda hard to plug in a surge protector into a 2 prong outlet. Again, I'm doing some minor renovations to the interior and I don't like running extension cords from outlets in the other room because I need a 3 prong outlet. 2: I asked handymen first and then since i was getting different answers I asked a couple electrians and they gave the same varied responses. I am actually planning on hiring out the work but I just wanted learn more about it and make sure whatever the electrians is proposing to do that is safe. Obviously, they are the professional but you can have shotty work from pros and I just wanted to see if the ideas proposed are common or a "jimmy rig." Thanks for all the responses and gives me a better idea of what's going on....
 
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Old 02-02-07, 12:29 PM
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Here is my suggestion.

Run several new circuits just to where you need them. The circuits in your house are likely run with numerous receptacles per circuit. If you run several new 20 amp circuits just to where you need them you can eliminate the possibility of overloads (if you plan right) and of course the new circuits will be grounded.

OR

Properly ground just the boxes where you need a ground. Then install three prong receptacles in those boxes. This would mean running a wire from those receptacles all the way back to the main panel and connecting that wire to the ground buss in the panel.
 
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Old 02-02-07, 12:32 PM
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Thankfully running new wire in my house isn't too big of a hassle because I have a 1,700 sq ft. house with 3/4 of the foundation on a easly accessible crawlspace. I think I'll request new wire to be run rather then "grounding" to the box. thanks for advice....
 
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Old 02-02-07, 12:36 PM
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If you are going to have an electrician run new cable to the boxes, then have him or her also separate out circuits as appropriate. Older houses have (by today's standards) too many receptacles per circuit, and fuses blowing or breakers tripping are constant headaches.

Further, it is not likely that any bathrooms are to today's code (unless recently redone), so you might want those updated.
 
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Old 02-02-07, 12:40 PM
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we do have a GFI in the kitchen and in the bathroom and this is where I have been running extension cords from when needed. But from the earlier post, I'm going to have the electrian make sure they are up to code and grounded properly since other 'updates" that were done to the house before we moved in were done pretty poorly.
 
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Old 02-04-07, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by lectriclee View Post
Burkej62.. You want a second chance answer?
You've been around long enough. Even if you don't have a code book.


Oh , what a misunderstanding . I ment install a new circuit with new receptacles where NEEDED. Not install grounded receptacles with no actual ground . My bad for being to vauge .
 
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Old 02-04-07, 10:17 PM
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Smile

Originally Posted by racraft
Then install three prong receptacles in those boxes.
Receptacles don't have prongs.
 
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