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#4426065 - 06/08/17 04:19 PM Replacing 2 prong outlets
Nick1994 Offline


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10129
Loc: 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?
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#4426068 - 06/08/17 04:23 PM Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Nick1994]
5AcresAndAFool Offline


Registered: 12/18/16
Posts: 421
Loc: Indiana
What kind of wiring does the house have? Is it cloth covered Romex, bx cable or is the wiring in conductor something else?

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#4426078 - 06/08/17 04:38 PM Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Nick1994]
Brybo86 Offline


Registered: 10/08/11
Posts: 2950
Loc: 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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#4426102 - 06/08/17 05:09 PM Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Nick1994]
Todari09 Offline


Registered: 01/19/16
Posts: 29
Loc: 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.

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#4426113 - 06/08/17 05:31 PM Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: 5AcresAndAFool]
Nick1994 Offline


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10129
Loc: 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.
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#4426123 - 06/08/17 05:42 PM Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Nick1994]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41802
Loc: 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.

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#4426154 - 06/08/17 06:20 PM Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Nick1994]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20469
Loc: Upstate NY
Check that your boxes have ground. Then decide how to proceed.
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#4426182 - 06/08/17 07:05 PM Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Donald]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6160
Loc: 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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#4426207 - 06/08/17 07:32 PM Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: JHZR2]
Nick1994 Offline


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10129
Loc: 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?
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2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 79k PU 5w30 & OEM
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#4426208 - 06/08/17 07:32 PM Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Linctex]
Nick1994 Offline


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10129
Loc: 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 79k PU 5w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 228k M1 AFE 0w30 & Wix
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 146k M1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra

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#4426229 - 06/08/17 08:11 PM Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Nick1994]
Wolf359 Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4766
Loc: 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.

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#4426241 - 06/08/17 08:25 PM Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Wolf359]
dishdude Online   content


Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 8757
Loc: 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.
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#4426249 - 06/08/17 08:32 PM Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Wolf359]
Nick1994 Offline


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10129
Loc: 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 79k PU 5w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 228k M1 AFE 0w30 & Wix
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 146k M1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra

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#4426278 - 06/08/17 08:57 PM Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Nick1994]
Wolf359 Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4766
Loc: 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.

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#4426294 - 06/08/17 09:10 PM Re: Replacing 2 prong outlets [Re: Wolf359]
Nick1994 Offline


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10129
Loc: 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 79k PU 5w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 228k M1 AFE 0w30 & Wix
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 146k M1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra

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