Replacing Ungrounded Outlets with a GFI
Replacing Ungrounded 2-Prong Outlets with a Standard 3-Prong Outlet, Replacing Ungrounded 2-Prong Outlets with a GFCI Outlet.
GFI Outlets and Ungrounded Outlets – What Is Legal and Safe
Electrical Question: Does a GFCI outlet need a ground wire to function properly or protect from Ground faults?
- It is OK to replace the old 2 hole ungrounded outlets with outlets that have the three holes?
- If there is no ground wire will this create a risk of electrical shock?
- Is it safe to use a outlet that has three holes that is not grounded?
This electrical wiring question came from: Jeff, a Handyman from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Jeff.
Application: Replacing Outlets with GFCI Outlets.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best if wired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
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 GFI outlets that will be installed.
Precaution: Identify the affected outlet circuits at the electric panel, turn them OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the outlet wiring.
Notice: Replacing outlets or installing GFCI Outlets should be done according to local and national electrical Codes.
Materials: Make sure to use materials of the same amperage and voltage rating as the electrical circuit.
How a GFI Outlet may be Installed In Place of an Ungrounded Outlet
- Replacing Ungrounded 2-Prong Outlets with a GFCI Outlet
- An old style non-grounded outlet may be replaced with a GFCI outlet and the Ground Fault protection circuitry and capabilities will still work.
- When replacing a 2-wire outlet with a GFCI outlet the outlet must be labeled indicating that there is no ground available. A label is provided with the GFCI outlet for this type of application.
- Replacing Ungrounded 2-Prong Outlets with a Standard 3-Prong Outlet
- You may not replace a two prong ungrounded outlet with a standard 3-wire grounded outlet that has a ground prong unless there is a ground wire connection available.
- Installing a standard 3-wire outlet that is not grounded is not safe and is illegal by electrical code standards and this is not an acceptable practice.
- The danger is that there is no ground wire available, therefore there is no provision to interrupt the circuit in the event of a ground fault.
- Ungrounded outlets may increase the risk of electrical shock potential.
More about Wiring GFCI 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.
- GFCI Wiring
- This list of articles will help you learn about the features and benefits provided by GFI and GFCI Receptacles and how they are wired.
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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