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Replacing 2 prong outlets #4426065
06/08/17 04:19 PM
06/08/17 04:19 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,703
Phoenix, AZ
Nick1994 Offline OP
Nick1994  Offline OP
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,703
Phoenix, AZ
While over replaced quite a few outlets and light switches before, I haven't upgraded them from 2 prong to 3 prong.

This is for my grandparent's house. It's a red brick house built in 1949-1950 and the 3 bedrooms still have 2 prong outlets and the rest of the house has been updated to 3 prong outlets at some point. I have opened up one of the outlets and pulled it out a bit and the back of the gang box has a screw hole for a ground wire.

Can I just run a ground wire from a new 3 prong outlet and screw it into the back of the metal gang box?


2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 84k Mobil 1 AFE 0w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 230k Valvoline 5w30 & Fram Ultra
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Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Nick1994] #4426068
06/08/17 04:23 PM
06/08/17 04:23 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 453
Indiana
5AcresAndAFool Offline
5AcresAndAFool  Offline
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 453
Indiana
What kind of wiring does the house have? Is it cloth covered Romex, bx cable or is the wiring in conductor something else?

Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Nick1994] #4426078
06/08/17 04:38 PM
06/08/17 04:38 PM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 2,976
Chicago, IL
Brybo86 Offline
Brybo86  Offline
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 2,976
Chicago, IL
if it has the armored cable or bx cable that is metal, that should be fine.
at least in chicago it is


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Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Nick1994] #4426102
06/08/17 05:09 PM
06/08/17 05:09 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 29
Bothell, WA
Todari09 Offline
Todari09  Offline
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 29
Bothell, WA
I don't think connecting ground wire to the metal gang box would do any ground fault protection.
I had a house built in 1952 and I had electrician update all 2 prong to 3 prongs for me. He had to put at least one GFCI in a circuit. i.e. if you have 6 outlets on one circuit you can replace 5 with regular 3 prong outlets but the 6th one has to be GFCI. Also, all outlets must be marked with"GFCI" stickers. At least in State of Washington.

Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: 5AcresAndAFool] #4426113
06/08/17 05:31 PM
06/08/17 05:31 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,703
Phoenix, AZ
Nick1994 Offline OP
Nick1994  Offline OP
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,703
Phoenix, AZ
Originally Posted By: 5AcresAndAFool
What kind of wiring does the house have? Is it cloth covered Romex, bx cable or is the wiring in conductor something else?
I think it's Romex. I might have time tomorrow to pull the outlet and take a picture.


2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 84k Mobil 1 AFE 0w30 & OEM
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Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Nick1994] #4426123
06/08/17 05:42 PM
06/08/17 05:42 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,085
New Jersey
JHZR2 Offline
JHZR2  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,085
New Jersey
If its two conductor Romex or knob and tube, the only way to convert to three prong is to use a GFCI. These can be installed without ground conductor.

If some outlets can be fished easily, it may be prudent to rewire or add a ground to a water pipe, assuming it is continuous metal back to earth. Even then, GFCI is prudent.

If the wiring is BX and you can verify continuity of the armor, that may be numbered in some places to a ground screw.

Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Nick1994] #4426154
06/08/17 06:20 PM
06/08/17 06:20 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,758
Upstate NY
Donald Offline
Donald  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,758
Upstate NY
Check that your boxes have ground. Then decide how to proceed.


2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
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2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Donald] #4426182
06/08/17 07:05 PM
06/08/17 07:05 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 6,238
Waco, TX
Linctex Online content
Linctex  Online Content
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 6,238
Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: Donald
Check that your boxes have ground. Then decide how to proceed.


^ Correct ^

Grounding to the boxes is pointless if they are not grounded.


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Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: JHZR2] #4426207
06/08/17 07:32 PM
06/08/17 07:32 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,703
Phoenix, AZ
Nick1994 Offline OP
Nick1994  Offline OP
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,703
Phoenix, AZ
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
If its two conductor Romex or knob and tube, the only way to convert to three prong is to use a GFCI. These can be installed without ground conductor.

If some outlets can be fished easily, it may be prudent to rewire or add a ground to a water pipe, assuming it is continuous metal back to earth. Even then, GFCI is prudent.

If the wiring is BX and you can verify continuity of the armor, that may be numbered in some places to a ground screw.
Just searched what bx and knob and tube wiring is, It's definitely romex.

Do I use a GFCI on all outlets or to one of them? How can I tell which one?


2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 84k Mobil 1 AFE 0w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 230k Valvoline 5w30 & Fram Ultra
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 147k Mobil 1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra
Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Linctex] #4426208
06/08/17 07:32 PM
06/08/17 07:32 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,703
Phoenix, AZ
Nick1994 Offline OP
Nick1994  Offline OP
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,703
Phoenix, AZ
Originally Posted By: Linctex
Originally Posted By: Donald
Check that your boxes have ground. Then decide how to proceed.


^ Correct ^

Grounding to the boxes is pointless if they are not grounded.
How can I check if they are grounded?


2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 84k Mobil 1 AFE 0w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 230k Valvoline 5w30 & Fram Ultra
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 147k Mobil 1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra
Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Nick1994] #4426229
06/08/17 08:11 PM
06/08/17 08:11 PM
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 5,156
MA
Wolf359 Offline
Wolf359  Offline
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 5,156
MA
Just get a tester at Home Depot. About $8.50. If you get two orange lights, the outlet is property wired. Has a chart when you get different lights, also has a button to simulate GFCI trip.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial-Electric-Tools-GFCI-Outlet-Tester-Green-MS102H/206029151

You can change the outlet if there's a ground wire that leads back to the panel. Otherwise either rewire with 14/2 or 12/2 or add a third wire and wire it back to the ground bus in the panel. If it's BX armored cable, you might be able to get away with using the ground in the sheath.

Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Wolf359] #4426241
06/08/17 08:25 PM
06/08/17 08:25 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 9,042
Phoenix
dishdude Offline
dishdude  Offline
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 9,042
Phoenix
Originally Posted By: Wolf359
Just get a tester at Home Depot. About $8.50. If you get two orange lights, the outlet is property wired. Has a chart when you get different lights, also has a button to simulate GFCI trip.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial-Electric-Tools-GFCI-Outlet-Tester-Green-MS102H/206029151

You can change the outlet if there's a ground wire that leads back to the panel. Otherwise either rewire with 14/2 or 12/2 or add a third wire and wire it back to the ground bus in the panel. If it's BX armored cable, you might be able to get away with using the ground in the sheath.



If you get one of those, and one of these (screw it in to the wallplate) it'll work.



Alternatively if you have a multimeter, set it to 200v AC, put one probe in the hot and the other on the box. If it says 120v or close, it's grounded.


2018 Challenger SRT
Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Wolf359] #4426249
06/08/17 08:32 PM
06/08/17 08:32 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,703
Phoenix, AZ
Nick1994 Offline OP
Nick1994  Offline OP
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,703
Phoenix, AZ
Originally Posted By: Wolf359
Just get a tester at Home Depot. About $8.50. If you get two orange lights, the outlet is property wired. Has a chart when you get different lights, also has a button to simulate GFCI trip.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial-Electric-Tools-GFCI-Outlet-Tester-Green-MS102H/206029151

You can change the outlet if there's a ground wire that leads back to the panel. Otherwise either rewire with 14/2 or 12/2 or add a third wire and wire it back to the ground bus in the panel. If it's BX armored cable, you might be able to get away with using the ground in the sheath.

Since they aren't currently grounded, should I replace one outlet with a 3 prong and put in the ground wire and then use one of these testers? I don't think the tester would do me any good with the current plugs I'm guessing.


2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 84k Mobil 1 AFE 0w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 230k Valvoline 5w30 & Fram Ultra
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 147k Mobil 1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra
Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Nick1994] #4426278
06/08/17 08:57 PM
06/08/17 08:57 PM
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 5,156
MA
Wolf359 Offline
Wolf359  Offline
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 5,156
MA
You would get that two prong adapter mentioned earlier. Plug the tester into the two prong adapter and plug that into your two prong outlet. Your current two prong outlets could still be miswired. During home inspections it comes up all the time, the hot gets wired to neutral and vice versa. With the adapter, you'll just get one light, no ground. Then that just tells you to run the ground wire. If you use a GFCI outlet, you still have to put on a sticker that says no equipment ground. It simulates a ground, but it's not a real ground.

Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Wolf359] #4426294
06/08/17 09:10 PM
06/08/17 09:10 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,703
Phoenix, AZ
Nick1994 Offline OP
Nick1994  Offline OP
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,703
Phoenix, AZ
Originally Posted By: Wolf359
With the adapter, you'll just get one light, no ground. Then that just tells you to run the ground wire.
Run the ground wire from the outlet to the gang box or a real ground for the gang box?


2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 84k Mobil 1 AFE 0w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 230k Valvoline 5w30 & Fram Ultra
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 147k Mobil 1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra
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