How to Ground Electric Outlets
I have outlets that are not grounded, what should I do? How to Ground Outlets and GFI Receptacles.
Grounding Outlets and Receptacles
Electrical Question: I just discovered that I have outlets that are not grounded, what should I do?
- I recently purchased a four unit apartment building. The electrical entrances are all brand new which made me think every thing was fine.
- A recent inspection showed that none of my outlets are grounded. Everything is wired with the old black wire.
- Two copper wires (No ground wire). Just to be clear it’s not knob and tube. It’s one wire with Positive and negative inside.
- Each apartment has it’s own entrance with a 100 master breaker. Can I simply change this breaker to a GFCI to bring it up to code or am I looking at rewiring the building.
- The previous owner obviously changed to 3 prong outlets from 2 wire. Can I change some of these back to 2 prong and if so where can you find 2 prong outlets. I’ve no desire to do this work myself.
I just want to know all my options before I bring somebody in to look. I don’t want someone to come in and do work that does not need to be done.
This electrical question came from: Mike, a Handyman from Saint John New Brunswick, Canada.
Additional Comments: Awesome website! love it!
Thanks for your electrical question Mike.
How to Ground Outlets and Receptacles
Application: Ground Wiring for Electric Outlets.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools a Voltage Tester or Plug-In Circuit Analyzer.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools, the extent of the electrical repairs, the number of receptacle outlets that are affected and access to each location.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Grounding Outlets and GFI Receptacles
- Electrical Outlet Grounding and GFCI Protection
- Mike, it sounds like the electrical panel was upgraded but the rest of the circuit wiring is original, so you are correct in saying that any 3-wire outlets that were installed where a ground source is not present should be changed to 2-wire outlets.
- Grounding Electrical Outlets
- The 2-wire outlets should be available from a major hardware store or from a local electrical wholesale distributor.
- You may install GFCI outlets that have a ground prong in areas such as the kitchen or bathroom ONLY if the receptacle is identified as not being grounded by using the sticker which is included with the GFCI receptacle.
- The GFCI protection will work the same because it will still sense a fault to ground and trip off.
- Upgrading Electrical Circuit Wiring
- Installing new 3-wire cable whenever possible is always recommended for electrical circuit upgrades, or installing ground wiring that is bonded at the electrical panel is an option as well.
- All of this work is best installed by a qualified licensed electrician. Always make sure you work through your local building department and obtain the necessary permits and inspections.
More about Grounding Outlets and Wiring Outlets
- Electrical Outlet Wiring
Wiring Electrical Outlets 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 Circuit Breakers
Home Electrical Circuit Breakers
- A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring. When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.
- Guide to Home 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.
- Wiring GFI Outlets
GFCI and GFI Wiring Diagrams
- The features and benefits of GFCI outlets and receptacles will give you a clear understanding of the importance why these safety devices are required by code to help protect you and your family against accidental electrical shock hazards.
This list of articles will help you learn about the features and benefits provided by GFI and GFCI Receptacles and how they are wired.
- Home Electrical Wiring Codes
Electrical Code Articles for Home Wiring
- Electrical Code Directory covering outlets and GFCI electrical grounding.
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
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