Fixing the ground in an older house


Old 06-21-01, 08:51 PM
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I recently bought a house that was built in the 1950s and then later added onto in 1965. I just discovered that they had disconnected the original cold water pipe from the main when they remodeled the house. The ground from the circuit breaker box is connected to the disconnected pipe. It does not connect with the rest of the plumbing system at all. Can I extend the ground to the current cold water pipe? Also, can I add a ground to the currently ungrounded outlets by adding a wire that would connect to the plumbing?

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Old 06-22-01, 08:22 AM
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A new grounding conductor is in order.If you have utility water the grounding conductor is clamped to the water line on the street-side of the water shut-off valve and then clamped to the water line on the house side of the water meter.If you want to be "up-to-date" the grounding conductor can be extended to an exterior ground rod.There should be no breaks or joints in the GC.If you connect to the existing GC at the old water service theNEC requires an "Irreversible" connection.If this is a problem use multiple (redundant) connectors. The "un-grounded" outlets you mentioned are grounded to the metal of the branch-circuit cables. For Romex this is the bare grounding wire. By "un-grounded" do you mean old 2-prong recptacles?
Old 06-22-01, 03:12 PM
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The ungrounded plugs must have been two pronged before but someone installe three prongers in all the outlets. There is not bare or green wire in thode outlets.
Old 06-23-01, 07:19 PM
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I sympathize with you -- our home was built in the late 50s with two wire no ground cable. Though the panel is 200Amps and grounded to the water system. The previous owners thought they would do us a favor and 'modernized' all the outlets to grounded outlets -- except they aren't grounded!

If you're going to ground them you really need to run new wire back to your service. Just runing a ground wire from you individual outlet to the nearest water pipe won't do it -- it needs to go to your systems common ground point to avoid ground loops. NEC will let you install a GFI in your circuits - either at the plug or upstream at the breaker box - but you have to label the outlet as "GFI Protected --No Equipment Ground" (See sec 210-7,3c) If you do this keep in mind that anything that you plug into the outlet will not have a case ground. (I don't know about the others here but I see this solution as providing the sense of a false ground -- but it's better than no protection at all.) The GFI will still function as it's looking for a difference in current between the neutral and hot leads. Definitely get the outlets in your bathrooms and kitchen done.

I'm just taking my home a little at a time. I doubt that I'll get everything in my lifetime as we have two floors above a finished basement. The former owners 'refinished' a part of the upstairs and the basement themselves and didn't bother to rewire anything when they could have. I've found some neat stuff in their wake.


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