Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>Grounding all my two prong electrical receptacles
8 posts / 0 new
Last post
JRP
Grounding all my two prong electrical receptacles

The problem:
I have a house built in 1959 and all the electrical receptacles are the two prong type. Further investigation reveals that the wiring is of the two copper wire type only. I’m missing the ground wire. I’ve read a couple of previous posts on this forum already. I don’t like the idea of replacing all my receptacles with GFCI receptacles and I don’t want to replace all the wiring in the house. I think I can get a dedicated ground wire to all the receptacles but one (It’s under a window and I have no basement).

Furthermore, I’m not sure what the deal is with the ground at the breaker panel. I have a large gage bare grounding wire attached to my electrical panel but I can’t tell where it goes. It disappears into the wall. There is no grounding stake outside the house.

My question:
I know nothing about electrical code. I would like to do this job according to code but I don’t know what that is. Do I have to run a dedicated ground from each electrical socket to the breaker panel? Or, can I run one ground wire from the breaker panel to a centrally located bus bar in the attic and then attach all the electrical receptacles to that bus bar? The electrical panel is located at one end of the house. I’m just trying to figure out the best way to do this that saves me time and money but also stays within code.

dj1
Re: Grounding all my two prong electrical receptacles

Each receptacle must have a ground wire leading to the main breaker, and your first option will be acceptable. Then replace all receptacles with the 3 prong type.

The large gauge bare grounding wire in your panel box may or may not lead to a grounding rod in the ground. Examine the area carefully and look for a rod in the ground.

If you run into trouble feeding the grounding wire, get the help of a professional, since you mention that you are not familiar with the basic codes.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Grounding all my two prong electrical receptacles
dj1 wrote:

Each receptacle must have a ground wire leading to the main breaker, and your first option will be acceptable. Then replace all receptacles with the 3 prong type.

The large gauge bare grounding wire in your panel box may or may not lead to a grounding rod in the ground. Examine the area carefully and look for a rod in the ground.

If you run into trouble feeding the grounding wire, get the help of a professional, since you mention that you are not familiar with the basic codes.

There is no NEC requirement that "Each receptacle must have a ground wire leading to the main breaker" If there were then daisy chained recepticles would be illegal.

To the OP, yes, you can run the ground wires to a common location and tie then together to a wire going to the main panel. You may not find a ground electrode outside the house, yours may be embedded in the foundation or slab. The bonding of the receptacles (the ground wire) is a safety system that is suppose to trip a breaker if the hot becomes shorted to ground, it provides little if any personal safety, for personal safety GFCI and AFCI are now code required in new construction or rewiring. The wire from the panel to a ground electrode is for lightening protection.

Jack

JRP
Re: Grounding all my two prong electrical receptacles

Thanks Jack! I greatly appreciate your input on this subject. Thank you very much!! -Jim

Re: Grounding all my two prong electrical receptacles

I always thought that if the wire was in conduit (don't know about the first posters case) that the conduit provided the ground - everything around here is in conduit and grounded via that.

JRP
Re: Grounding all my two prong electrical receptacles

There is no conduit around my wiring. I've started running dedicated ground wires to each receptacle via the attic. It's a pain in the a$$ but will be worth it in the end. I have seven of the 17 receptacles done.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Grounding all my two prong electrical receptacles
ChicagoCooperator wrote:

I always thought that if the wire was in conduit (don't know about the first posters case) that the conduit provided the ground - everything around here is in conduit and grounded via that.

Yes, in some areas conduit is used as the bonded path. I personally don't like depending on conduit because of problems I've seem with poor connection.

Jack

motoguy128
Re: Grounding all my two prong electrical receptacles

A conduit can provide a secondary path ot ground and more importantly shield and electronic noise or induction loops. But you still should have a ground wire. Once you've installed conduit, the added cost of pulling an extra wire is minimal.

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.