easy question

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  #1  
Old 12-15-11, 12:11 PM
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easy question

Well, probably easy for you all anyway. I have a two prong receptacle in the bedroom. I want to replace it with a three prong one. I know how the wiring is supposed to go but when I took out the old receptacle, I see that there are two ground wires together in a wire nut. Now, I am guessing that I would take one of those wires and attach it to the ground screw on the new receptacle but what do I do with the other wire? Do I attach it to the screw that is in the back of the box?

Thank you.
 
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Old 12-15-11, 12:43 PM
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You should take a short length of bare wire (assuming thats what your grounds are now)...connect that to the other 2 with a wire nut, then connect the new wire to the receptacle screw.

It's called "pigtailing" and is done all the time for this..or when wires are too short to easily reach an outlet or switch.

It's odd that you have a ground available, but they only used an ungrounded receptacle.

How many and what color are the wires in the box now?
 
  #3  
Old 12-15-11, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
You should take a short length of bare wire (assuming thats what your grounds are now)...connect that to the other 2 with a wire nut, then connect the new wire to the receptacle screw.

It's called "pigtailing" and is done all the time for this..or when wires are too short to easily reach an outlet or switch.

It's odd that you have a ground available, but they only used an ungrounded receptacle.

How many and what color are the wires in the box now?
Thank you for the reply.

I know this would only be a guess for you but do you think I should expect this for the few other two prong receptacles left in the house? I am just wondering how much bare wire I should buy.

There are 3 or 4 wires (not sure if you count the two copper wires separately). Besides the two copper wires, there is one white wire and one black.

Thank you.
 
  #4  
Old 12-15-11, 01:24 PM
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Hmmm....sounds kinda odd to me. Not wrong...just odd. Since you have 2 grounds...I would have expected you to have 2 blacks and 2 whites as well. It's almost like someone added ground wires after the fact, but never hooked them up? Are the black and white separate from either of the grounds? Not all contained in a single plastic sheath or a metal conduit of some type?

Anyway......

You will need about 6-8" per outlet...but you'll probably cut an inch or 2 off after you get everything set. You'll probably need 14 gauge...unless the wiring you have is bigger (12 ga)....again..not normal..but it could be.

If you have any Romex type plastic sheathed wire around...you can just pull the ground out and use that.

One thing.....have you checked to make sure the bare wires are actually ground? I mean...they should be...but where are they connected in the breaker box?

How old is the home?
 
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Old 12-15-11, 01:32 PM
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Bare Wires

Is the receptacle box metal?

If so, one of the bare wires could be the box ground.

Is it be attached to the inside of the box with a screw?
 
  #6  
Old 12-15-11, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
Hmmm....sounds kinda odd to me. Not wrong...just odd. Since you have 2 grounds...I would have expected you to have 2 blacks and 2 whites as well. It's almost like someone added ground wires after the fact, but never hooked them up? Are the black and white separate from either of the grounds? Not all contained in a single plastic sheath or a metal conduit of some type?

Anyway......

You will need about 6-8" per outlet...but you'll probably cut an inch or 2 off after you get everything set. You'll probably need 14 gauge...unless the wiring you have is bigger (12 ga)....again..not normal..but it could be.

If you have any Romex type plastic sheathed wire around...you can just pull the ground out and use that.

One thing.....have you checked to make sure the bare wires are actually ground? I mean...they should be...but where are they connected in the breaker box?

How old is the home?
Thank you again for the reply.

It is hard to say as it is quite dirty inside the box and I am not sure what is a proper way to clean it (I was thinking compressed air). From what I can see though, it looks like they are all from the same sheath.

Is there a way to tell what kind of gauge is the wiring? The sheathing it too torn and frayed for me to tell from it. I am thinking I might just buy some 12/2 cable and get the ground from that as, with a quick search, I can only find 18, 6 and 4 gauge wiring.

No, I have not checked to see if the bare wires are actually ground. This might sound naive but I just figured that since it was there, that they are actually ground.

The house was built in the 1960's or 1970's, I can't remember exactly.

Thank you.
 
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Old 12-15-11, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Wirepuller38 View Post
Is the receptacle box metal?

If so, one of the bare wires could be the box ground.

Is it be attached to the inside of the box with a screw?
Thank you for a reply too.

Yes, the box is metal. Would I need to take the box out to see if one of the wires is the box ground? If it is, would it matter which screw I attached it to within the box itself (I mean one of the screws on the box).

Thank you.
 
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Old 12-15-11, 02:11 PM
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The house was built in the 1960's or 1970's, I can't remember exactly.

That was a common practice around here at that time, too to use ungrounded receptacles with grounded cables. I'm guessing to get rid of old stock.
 
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Old 12-15-11, 02:20 PM
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Go to the mega-mart homecenter electrical aisles and look for grounding pigtails. These will be short wires, about 6 inches long and with green insulation. They make them with either stranded wire or solid wire and with lugs on one or both ends. They usually also have a screw on one end. Use the pigtail to go from the wire-nutted grounding wires to both the steel box (unless it is already grounded with an existing wire) and also to the receptacle grounding lug. You may (probably) need a larger wire nut.


(image courtesy of Home Depot)
 
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Old 12-15-11, 02:47 PM
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Or just use a green wire nut with green pigtail attached.


Only the green one should be used for grounding.
 
  #11  
Old 12-16-11, 05:39 PM
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Hello. I just wanted to thank you all for helping. I am going to end up going for the grounding pigtails as they seem to be the easiest for me to find. I was going to buy bare wire but I am worried that I would end up needing 12 gauge wire and the cheapest I can find is too expensive for what I want to pay (also way to much wire).

I want to warn you all though, since you all have been so helpful, I will surely be back with more questions in both this section and others.

Thank you.
 
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