Install new outlet, missing ground wire


Old 06-12-12, 06:55 AM
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Install new outlet, missing ground wire


I have a 16 month old son who is training to be an electrician. We put in these plastic covers into outlets to prevent him from playing around w/ them. We had one outlet though that was low to the ground where the plastic covers could come out easily so I decided to replace the outlet.

The outlet was 3 prong but much to my surprise, there was only two white wires inside when I opened it up.

I have several questions here.

* The wires should be of two different color (white and black)? Shouldn't they?
* When it comes to adding a ground to the circuit, how do the professionals do it? Do they tear down walls or force a green wire through the metal tubing around wires?
* Is it true that you can add a ground by linking the ground "pin" on an outlet to the metal wire tubing (I don't know if I have this tubing, I didn't look closely enough)?

My home is in Illinois and it was built in the early 80s.


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Old 06-12-12, 09:02 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
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Do you live in Cook county? I know that inside Chicago that conduit ("tubing") is required and I think this is true throughout Cook County but I may be mistaken.

IF you have metallic conduit then it is often used as the equipment grounding conductor and IF you have "self-grounding" receptacles you do not need to have a grounding conductor from the receptacle. You can tell if the receptacle is a self-grounding type by looking closely at the mounting screws. If one of the screws has a piece of spring wire holding it tight to the "yoke" (mounting frame) of the receptacle then it is a self-grounding type.

Easiest is to just purchase a receptacle tester for a few dollars that uses a trio of lights to show if a receptacle is properly grounded.

What IS disturbing is that you state this receptacle has only two white wires.
Old 06-12-12, 09:55 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Furd has covered the important part but to add when you replace the receptacle use a tamper proof receptacle so the budding electrician won't be able to stick things in.
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