Upgrading receptacles correctly ?

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Old 08-10-15, 10:14 AM
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Upgrading receptacles correctly ?

Need To: Update two-prong outlets to three-prongs, house built in the 60s.

Background: Electrical panel, meter and wiring from the outside of the house to the city connection was recently replaced/upgraded by qualified electricians. A grounding rod was also put into the ground. We purchased all-new appliances and needed a larger box to properly accommodate them and pass inspection.

Questions: I'm a novice when it comes to wiring. There are currently only three or four installed three-prong outlets in the entire house. I want to update all of the two-prongs to three-prongs. I've used a multimeter to test for ground on a number of outlets, some show ground and others don't.

What's the "correct" way to go about testing and updating all of the outlets?
 
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Old 08-10-15, 10:48 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

It can sometimes be tricky to determine if you have a proper grounding path. Some methods like flexible metal conduit (or Greenfield) is no longer an approved grounding path but EMT or rigid is. You first need to see how your home is wired. If you see cables that are about 1/2" in diameter, you likely have BX or AC cable. BX is also not an approved ground, but AC cable will have a thin metallic strip and is approved.

A simple way to use grounded receptacles (3 prong) is to install a GFCI device to protect the entire circuit. This can be any of a GFCI receptacle in the first outlet box, A GFCI device near the panel, or use a GFCI breaker. You can then install grounded receptacles, however they will not be grounded.

The other method if you do not have a grounding path is to install a ground. This can be done by just running ground wires, install a ground wire in the conduit, or running cable with a ground wire in it, such as Romex.
 
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Old 08-10-15, 03:22 PM
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Inside the box holding the GFCI you will find two sets of stickers. One will say "Ground Fault Protected" and the other will say "No Equipment Ground". You will place these stickers on the receptacle covers to let everyone know there is no ground.
 
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Old 08-11-15, 08:50 AM
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Thanks for the replies!

So, what is a likely cause for the fact that some of our outlets appear to be grounded, while others do not?

Also, what's the best way to try and begin diagnosing what exactly the wiring situation is? Crawl under the house? Or will it be easy to identify after opening up an outlet?

What I'm hoping to do is update the outlets and provide proper grounding to each of them, without actually having to rewire the entire house.
 
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Old 08-11-15, 09:07 AM
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Also, what's the best way to try and begin diagnosing what exactly the wiring situation is? Crawl under the house?
No, probably nothing to see.
it [will] be easy to identify after opening up an outlet?
Probably. You may find there is no ground wire or the even more stupid move of installing a grounding pigtail to a metal box that isn't grounded.
 
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Old 08-11-15, 01:01 PM
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Post a picture of your electrical panel with the cover removed (turn it off first) and post a picture of a box with a grounded receptacle pulled out of the box, but the wires still connected. We may be able to help determine if they are properly grounded, and if not, the best route to properly ground them.
 
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