How to Ground Outlets and Receptacles

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Here are some Electrical Tip for Home Outlets – Metal receptacle outlet boxes must be grounded, and one method is to pigtail the ground wire so that it is attached to the outlet and the metal outlet box using a Green grounding Screw.

If this is your first visit, be sure to sign up for your Free Electrical Tips and eBook.
Your Comments and Electrical Questions are always welcome.

Methods for Grounding Receptacle Outlets

Electrical Question: I recently set out to replace the almond 3-prong outlets in our new-to-us-home (built 1971) with white outlets.

  • This is partially for cosmetic reasons, and partially because some outlets had been painted over by the previous owners and were unusable.
  • As I was replacing the first outlet, I noticed there was no ground wire to connect to the new outlet.
  • According to the home inspection report, the wiring is Romex and was marked as being 3-prong and grounded.
  • I also picked up an outlet tester which indicated that the wiring was “correct” instead of listing on of the possible faults.
  • My understanding is that the metal boxes are likely grounded, and therefore if we pigtail a ground wire from the outlet to the box we’ll be OK. Is this correct?

This electrical wiring question came from: Sonja, a Homeowner from Andover, Massachusetts.
See more about Home Wiring for Massachusetts

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Sonja.

How to Ground Receptacle Outlets

  • Sonja, yes you are correct. Metal receptacle outlet boxes must be grounded, and one method is to pigtail the ground wire so that it is attached to the outlet and the metal outlet box using a Green grounding Screw.
  • Here are some Electrical Tip for Home Outlets

  • Use a Plug In Circuit Analyzer to check to make sure your outlets are grounded and wired correctly.
  • Do not paint over outlets or switches.
  • Use masking tape to prevent painting.

More about Receptacles and Pig Tail Wiring for Outlets:

I am Trying to Replace 2-Prong Receptacles with a 3-Prong.
When I opened the cover plate I see 2 black wires and 2 whites withing a metal box. Can it still be done with the 3 prong receptacle? Can I just pigtail a wire from the receptacle ground to the box?
I was expecting 1 black and 1 white, so don’t know what it means to have 2 of each.
Please help and give me some guidelines. Thanks.

This home electrical repairs question came from: Norman, from Chattanooga, Tennessee

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Norman.
Norman, yes – you can pigtail the black and white wires to wire to a receptacle, however you cannot install a 3-prong grounded outlet if there is no ground wire.

Electrical Code for How Many Wires in Junction Boxes

Electrical outlet wiring

  • Wiring Electrical Outlet for the Home
  • Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.

Junction boxes for outlets

  • Electrical Junction Boxes for Home Wiring
  • Understanding electrical junction boxes and what they are used for. Home electrical wiring is the process of installing electrical wire to a location that will serve electrical devices or an appliance.
  • One very important component is the box where the wire will be installed. The type and size of the home wiring electrical boxes will depend upon the circuit size, application and its location.

using electrical testers

  • Electrical Safety and Voltage Testers
  • When working on home electrical wiring, quality voltage testers can play an important part in electrical safety. Electrical testers enable you to identify electrical circuits and help prevent the possibility of accidental electrical shock.

For more information about Outlet Wiring
How to Install Electrical Outlets
Outlet Wiring

  • Wiring Electrical Outlets
  • Fully Explained Photos and Wiring Diagrams for Wiring Electrical Outlets with Code Requirements for most new or remodel projects.

Learn How to Wire it Right with my
Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring
Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electrical Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
Troubleshooting and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
Electrical Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

» Click here to learn more about Home Electrical Wiring «
  repair electrical wiring  

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.

Leave a Comment or Question

Click here to Ask a Detailed Home Electrical Question and get an Instant Reply.

To Our Valued Visitors:
If you are asking a Quick Question please make sure it is about The SAME TOPIC:
How to Ground Outlets and Receptacles

Comments Posted here are Open for Quality Discussion and Participation.