Electrician Training Electrical Certification
wiring recessed light fixtures Electrical Wiring Electrical Troubleshooting and Electrical Repairs
wire outdoor light fixture Home Electrical Wiring Diagrams
wiring home generator and transfer switch wiring a 220 volt range cord outlet Wiring for GFCI Outlets Wiring Outlets and a Switched Outlet Wiring and Installing Ceiling Fans and Remote Controls wire dimmer switch wiring diagrams for switches wiring a dryer cord and 220 outlet circuit breaker panel
Electrical Wire and Cable

Outlet Grounding Upgrades

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Ground an Ungrounded Outlet Circuit: In some cases, a separate ground wire may be installed for the ungrounded circuit or device and connected to the bonded ground system.

Grounding an Outlet Circuit

Electrical Question I have a home with a mostly two prong outlets, which I would like to replace with 3 prong outlets.

BTW, if I can’t find a better solution, I will install GFCI outlets, but I’d prefer not to have to do that as the outlet boxes already installed are too shallow and would have to be replaced, which I have heard can be a real pain.

Thanks so much for any assistance you can provide.

This electrical wiring question came from: Jay, a Homeowner from Denver, CO

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

How to Ground an Ungrounded Outlet Circuit

Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the number of outlets that will be replaced.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional outlet wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Installing a Ground System


  1. When testing to a metal outlet box or to the ground prong does not produce a normal voltage reading, or if a plug in circuit analyzer shows that a ground is not detected then these readings mean that the circuit wiring does not have a ground wire, so the circuit is not grounded.
    • If there are other circuits in the home that do in fact have a ground wire and they test normal then the ground system at the main panels should be OK, but should be verified.
    • If an older home has grounded outlets they should to be tested with a circuit analyzer and inspected to make sure that the grounding method is legal.
    • The method of installing a jumper wire from the neutral to the ground screw of a receptacle outlet is an  illegal and dangerous practice which can cause problems for the home electrical system, can damage the devices that are plugged in, and creates a dangerous potential shock hazard for the user.
  2. Installing a self-grounding outlet or any three prong or grounded outlet or a GFCI outlet  will not magically produce a ground, all it does is provide a ground prong which has no connection to a grounded source, so it is in fact an illegal installation.
  3. The circuit wiring may be replaced and upgraded with new cabling which has a ground wire.
  4. In some cases, a separate ground wire may be installed for the ungrounded circuit or device and connected to the bonded ground system.
  5. Installed ground wires must be connected to the bonded ground system of the main electrical panel of the home.

More about Wiring 110 Volt Outlets

Wiring Outlets
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.

Electrical Panel


House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers
This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.

Electrical Wire
Electrical Wire for the Home
Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.

Electrical Junction Boxes
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.

Wiring a Basement
Basement Electrical Wiring for the Home
Understanding circuit options for basement electrical wiring will help you determine the electrical load requirements. This information will help as a home electrical basement wiring guide.

Circuit Troubleshooting
Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring Problems
Licensed Electrician Reveals the Secrets of Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.

For more information about Grounding
Electrical Grounding
Electrical Grounding Methods and Requirements
Electrical Grounding Methods and Requirements
Listing of electrical codes for grounding with examples of electrical grounding codes for home electrical wiring.

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
How to Troubleshoot 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  

MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC: Grounding, Outlets

Click the banner to Ask an Electrical Question:
electrical question