04:09AM | 03/15/04
Member Since: 03/14/04
6 lifetime posts

We're new homeowners, and are replacing our electrical switches & outlets, mostly for cosmetic reasons.

I noticed that the outlets I purchased have a green-screw that is intended for a ground-wire, however, none of the existing outlets being replaced are connected to such wires. I just don't a 'ground' wire present in our existing wiring. There's typically just two wires (the black & white).

Obviously I'm new to doing my own electrical. Is this wiring configuration typical for an 11-year old home? If so, how would the outlets be grounded?


05:42AM | 03/15/04
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hello Dan,

I'm not an electrician, but I'd be VERY surprised if an 11 year old home didn't have ground wires throughout.

Are you SURE there's no ground (bare) wire? If your junction boxes are metal, the bare wire might be attached to the BOX which would then ground through the receptacle's frame. I don't think this would be a great practice, but it's the only way I can see not having a visible ground wire.

If there ISN'T a ground wire, you MUST use 2-prong outlets--unless you replace with GFCI. Are the old receptacles 3-prong?

-k2 in CO


06:15AM | 03/15/04
Member Since: 03/14/04
6 lifetime posts
All of the existing outlets are three-prong, typically with just two wires, the black & white (hot & neutral).

Are you saying that maybe they configured the wiring so that the conduit & receptacle frames are serving as the ground?



07:27AM | 03/15/04
Member Since: 02/21/04
138 lifetime posts
What type of cable is used to feed the box? If it is armored cable (bx), then the ground is already there and should have a ground path. If it is sheathed electrical cable then the groung should be connected somewhere. In my house the guy who wired it connected the grounds on the outside, back of the box.It was inspected and passed back in 1959. Do you have either sheathed electrical cable or bx?


07:36AM | 03/15/04
Member Since: 03/14/04
6 lifetime posts
I have plastic-insulated wire running through conduit.


07:43AM | 03/15/04
Member Since: 02/21/04
138 lifetime posts
If everythng is metal ,then you should have an effective ground path, check by using a tester or a bulb from hot to metal. If it lights then you have a ground.


07:46AM | 03/15/04
Member Since: 02/21/04
138 lifetime posts
If you a gap between the metal box and the receptacle then you should use a self grounding receptacle or a ground jumper.You need metal to metal for an effective ground.


07:49AM | 03/15/04
Member Since: 03/14/04
6 lifetime posts
thanks. i was wondering if receptacles are designed so that they are grounded by the screws that attach the receptacle to the metal box.

that would be the only point of metal-to-metal contact that I can see.


07:55AM | 03/15/04
Member Since: 02/21/04
138 lifetime posts
if you have a space between the box and receptacle,,for the difference of drywall, plaster, tile and wood paneling. then by all means use a ground jumper. You are most welcome. Bruce


10:18AM | 03/15/04
Member Since: 09/16/02
251 lifetime posts
I'm not an electrician, but I do have a tester which tests for a ground. It is a plug that fits into a pocket and plugs into the outlets. It tells you if you have a ground, if the neutrals are reversed, or even if the outlet is working. I think it cost less than $10.

Did you have this house inspected? If yes, I would ask the inspector why he didn't catch this.

I think someone touched on the subject, but I THOUGHT it was against some regulation to put three pronged outlets in without having a ground. It's a little deceptive.

I think you need to test it and see if it is groundeand then go from there.

Good luck,


Click_to_reply_button Inspiration_banner


Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.


type the code from the image


Post_new_button or Login_button

Newsletter_icon Google_plus Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Rss_icon