Replacing receptacles with old wiring

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Old 01-17-15, 09:38 PM
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Replacing receptacles with old wiring

I'm replacing outlets, i'm in a 1951 house and want the new outlets with 3 prong, one being the ground, but my wiring only has blace and white wire. Should i pigtail the white neutral and hook that to te green ground on the outlets, or just dont hook anything to the green screw on the outlets ?
 
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Old 01-17-15, 09:52 PM
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Neither are code compliant ans connecting ground to neutral is dangerous. You can use a GFCI receptacle and mark it GFCI Protected; No equipment ground. Labels are included with most receptacles. That does not provide the needed ground for things like surge protectors but does provide increased personal safety. If you can identify the first receptacle in the chain you can feed the rest from the load side and need only one GFCI receptacle per circuit.

Plan B would be running a wire for ground from the breaker panel to each receptacle.
 
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Old 01-17-15, 09:52 PM
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You cannot put a three prong receptacle if there is no ground present.
You cannot ever connect the white neutral wire as a ground.

You may not have a visible ground but you may have a ground present. What type of wiring is used in your house ? It could possibly be two wire BX which is grounded. If it is the old style two wire cloth covered cable.... there is no ground.
 
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Old 01-17-15, 09:56 PM
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The neutral and ground should never be tied together.
Steel boxes with steel conduit?
If there is no ground then the only legal way to do this is to replace the outlet with a GFI and install the sticker in the box that says "No ground".
 
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Old 01-18-15, 06:54 AM
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This is a longshot, but it would be worth a try.
Sometimes in the 50's, the cable would contain a ground but it wasn't pulled into the box. It was secured to the back of the box inside the wall.
Use a meter to see if you have ~120 volts from hot wire to metal box.
Also as stated above, you might have conduit. That should also read 120 volts from hot to box.
If so you can pigtail a ground to the box using a ground screw or clip.

If no ground present, you can also change some of the receptacles to new 2-prong outlets. Depending on the room and the intended use, there are many household devices that use a 2-prong plug, I would go as far as to say there are more non-grounded devices than grounded.
 
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Old 01-18-15, 07:46 AM
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Good suggestion by Brian. You can also look in the breaker box for several #16 bare wires connected to the neutral bar.
 
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Old 01-18-15, 10:05 AM
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It looks like the wire, the black and white are incased in a cloth type jacket. I tried the hot to box and got nothing, so i guess there is no ground. Almost all receptacles have been replaced with 3 prong and none, at least the 3 i have looked at, have anything connected to the green ground screw. I was going to put in 4 outlets that the previous owner did not do, this is when i found that only 2 wires exist, there is no green. So should i replace all the 3 prong's with 2 prong or gfci's . Or can i just leave the 3 prong outlets even tho they are not really grounded ? They work fine, but would i pass a 3 point inspection for home insurance? Someone told me i could pigtail from the white ground to the green screw and on the plug in tester it would show that i have the outlet grounded, but you guys say i should not do that. And i wonder why ? Is not the white a ground anyway ?
 
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Old 01-18-15, 10:21 AM
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Wait for an electrician to explain. Never jump neutral to ground.
You must immediately remove any 3-prong receptacles that are not grounded.
They can be changed to GFCI with stickers, or 2-prong outlets which are still available.
 
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Old 01-18-15, 10:25 AM
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Creating a bootleg ground by tying the neutral to the ground will fool a 3 light tester but will create a shock hazard on any metal parts of the system. Install a GFI at the panel or start of the circuit and use the "No equipment ground" labels.
 
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Old 01-18-15, 10:35 AM
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Someone told me i could pigtail from the white ground to the green screw and on the plug in tester it would show that i have the outlet grounded, but you guys say i should not do that. And i wonder why ?
You will put an electric current on the shell of any appliance or device that has a metal case. Because earth (dirt) has some resistance a metal faucet or sink or drain connected to earth by metal piping can produce a voltage between earth and the equipment ground. Enough voltage and current flow to be harmful or fatal. It only takes a few miliamps to kill.

OOps PCBoss types faster.
 
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Old 01-18-15, 06:11 PM
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Ok i will not pigtail to the white, i kind of knew that was not right. Can i ground to the metal boxes ? I did the test, hot to metal box and got nothing, so the metal boxes are not grounded but i read somewhere that i could still ground to the metal box, would be better than no ground ? I saw "video joe" on you tube do that. I know code is gfci , but i dont think the gfci 's will fit in my old metal boxes ?
 
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Old 01-18-15, 06:12 PM
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A ground fault circuit interrupter offers the best protection against electrocution and does not need a ground connection to operate.

You may string a separate ground wire from a receptacle that is otherwise ungrounded. This wire may follow the path of the wiring (hot and neutral) for that receptacle exactly, approximately, or vaguely to the panel with the breaker for that receptacle. Should the separately run ground wire first reach a fat ground wire (grounding electrode conductor) going to a ground rod or to a cold water pipe exiting the house underground, it may end there.

Wiring in rigid conduit with metal boxes may use those items as the equipment grounding conductor provided that this metal conduit system goes all the way to the panel. Flexible conduit such as BX does not count as a grounding conductor unless it has a bare wire or metal strip running the full length inside, outside of any paper lining in the conduit. This metal strip does not have to come into each outlet box and be connected to other ground wires.
 
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Old 01-18-15, 06:24 PM
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If you were to jumper between the box and the receptacle there would not be a path to complete the circuit to allow the breaker to trip. The jumper can only be used where the wiring method provides a grounding means.
 
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Old 01-18-15, 08:14 PM
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I know code is gfci , but i dont think the gfci 's will fit in my old metal boxes ?
Use a GFCI breaker. Problem solved.
 
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Old 01-18-15, 09:50 PM
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If your panel will not accept gfi breakers you can add a gfi recep next to the panel and feed the circuit from there.
 
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