Latest Discussions : Electrical & Lighting


04:15AM | 08/10/03
Member Since: 08/09/03
2 lifetime posts
We just moved into this older house and I planned on putting my shop in the basement . I was down there trying to plan out where everything was going to go and realized the outlets were only the two prong ones.
So I was going to change them two the grounded three prong type. When I took the cover off I noticed there was no ground wire only a black and white wire. Is this common in old houses? What can I do to fix it? There is metal pipe that the wire is inside but the pipe is cut off once it is in the ceiling and none of it is connected. Could someone help please. Should I use my equipment like this I plugged in my jointerand it does work with the three prong outlet without the green ground?

Tom O

04:55AM | 08/10/03
Member Since: 09/17/02
476 lifetime posts
Yes, the lack of an equipment ground was common in older homes.

You have several choices. Install GFI receptacles at the start of each circuit and wire them so they protect the downstream receptacles, replace those receptacles with 3 prong receptacles and label all of them "GFI protected, no equipment ground."

Option #2, run an equipment ground from each receptacle back to the ground bus in the panel or to the ground wire from the panel to the ground rods or to the first 5 feet of metal water pipe in your house (if it is properly bonded to the panel), install ground fault outlet(s) and connect the ground wire you installed to each box using a green ground screw or a ground clip.

Option 3 (my personal choice) replace all the 2 wire cable in the entire receptacle circuit with a cable that contains a ground wire. This will need to be done all the way back to the fuse/breaker box. Install ground fault receptacles.

I really don't care for options 1 & 2. If it is at all possible to replace the wire, option 3 would be the safest & most reliable method (personal opinion).

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