10:35AM | 04/19/04
Member Since: 03/23/04
10 lifetime posts
Buying an older house with the old two prong outlets. I assume the wiring is the old fabric covered type. What I would like to do is install new three prong outlets. Can this be done even though the old wiring is not set up for this? Would it be any different than using those adapters the allow three pronged appliances to be used in a two prong outlet?

Tom O

03:05PM | 04/19/04
Member Since: 09/17/02
477 lifetime posts
There are several work arounds that you can use to install 3 prong receptacles. All of them are second best.

One option is to install ground fault receptacles so they protect downstream receptacles & mark those receptacles "GFI Protected, no equipment ground." The problem with this is that there are quite a few appliances that are required to be grounded, no exception. Also, transient voltage surge supressors will not provide all the protection they can if the equipment ground is missing.

Another option is to fish a ground wire into the outlet box & connect the other end to the equipment ground bus of the breaker box or the metal water line within the first 5 feet of the point of entry to the house and provided it is properly bonded to the service disconnecting means. If you can fish a ground wire to the outlet box, you could also fish in a new cable to replace the old. Also, this type of ground will have a higher impedance which may have an adverse effect on current flow during a fault. This grounding method is not allowed in new construction, so it obviously is not the best solution.

If the wiring system in your house is 40 or 50 years old, you should consider it to be at or near the end of its useful life & consider rewiring.



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