updating 2 prong outlets to 3 prong grounded

Old 07-10-02, 11:30 AM
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Thumbs up updating 2 prong outlets to 3 prong grounded

The majority of outlets in my 40 year old home are the basic 2 prong outlet. I was hoping I could replace them with grounded outlets. I was told the current wiring will not allow for proper grounding so I should run new wiring from the breaker box.
Is this true? Can I ground to basement water pipes? Any helpful advice is appreciated. I am not necessarily interested in changing all the outlets if it is a major project, but am concerned about the computer equipment in my home home office.
Old 07-10-02, 03:39 PM
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The manufacturer's instructions of electronic equipment like computers call for an equipment grouding conductor. The receptacles serving those electronic pieces of equipment should have an equipment grounding conductor.

Best scenerio would be to rewire the old branch circuit serving receptacles with new wire having an equipment grounding condcutor in the cable.

YOu are forbidden to connect to a water pipe for an equipment grounding conductor unless that water pipe is metel, used as the grounding electrod being in contact with the earth for a minimum of 10' and the connection is made within 5' of where that metal water pipe enters the structure.

YOu may install a single green equipment grounding conductor from a certain receptacle directly back to the panel connecting to the grounding bar of the panel.

You may also replace the two prong receptacle with a three prong receptacle if that new three prong receptacle is with a GFI protective device that will act as a reasonable replacement for that missing equipment grounding conductor.

You may also replace an old two prong receptacle with a new two prong receptacle.

Those are your only choices. It is up to you which method you wnat to use.

Good Luck

Old 07-11-02, 08:34 AM
Gary Tait
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A GFI will protect only against ground faults, not
to provide a real ground that is needed.

You have to run a ground wire somehow, preferable to your
electrical panel.
Old 07-11-02, 09:04 AM
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The NEC will allow you to change your two prong outlet or outlets to a three prong however, the new three prong outlet MUST be a GFI receptacle. It is also permissible to downstream feed to the other receptacles from that GFI. You may not run a ground from that GFI to the downstream recpetacles. The GFI will protect against ground fault and it is the only way to change from a two prong to a three prong. This will not however protect your computer. For that you will need to purchase and install a surge protector. The surge suppressor does not require a ground to properly operate, it will bleed surge current to the neutral and then back to the service where it will ultimately be drained via the grounding electrode conductor. You should install a surge suppressor out the computer outlet even if you three prong receptacles. The ground is just a conductor that is a return path for short circuit current. Most computer mishaps are the result of short circuit current, they are the victim of surges or voltage transients, surge suppressors bleed the transient or surge voltages. You might also look into having a surge suppressor installed on your branch panel. With surge protection the more levels of protection a surge encounters the better the chances are that you will bleed it off without damage. There is a popular electronic store that is nationwide and has radio in it's name that sell surge suppressor with equipment replacement guarantees.

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