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Author Topic: !970 [Maybe 1950s?] House. No Grounds.  (Read 4893 times)

Scott Helmke

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Re: !970 [Maybe 1950s?] House. No Grounds.
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2018, 05:09:23 pm »

Well, *my* 1950's house had all 3-prong outlets installed by some previous own, grounded via the conduit.  At least everything has conduit, which is good. And I've been gradually adding those little ground wire jumpers that go between the receptacle and box so that the safety ground doesn't depend on the mounting screws.  Near as I can tell that's still legal.

One little thing that I found recently was that the water system wasn't very well grounded to the electrical panel.  Turns out all the parts were in place, but the grounding clamp on the water service was all corroded. So an easy fix, and worth checking.  Any place you've got plumbing, an outlet, and an ohmmeter you can do a quick test.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: !970 [Maybe 1950s?] House. No Grounds.
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2018, 06:21:32 pm »

Well, *my* 1950's house had all 3-prong outlets installed by some previous own, grounded via the conduit.  At least everything has conduit, which is good. And I've been gradually adding those little ground wire jumpers that go between the receptacle and box so that the safety ground doesn't depend on the mounting screws.  Near as I can tell that's still legal.

One little thing that I found recently was that the water system wasn't very well grounded to the electrical panel.  Turns out all the parts were in place, but the grounding clamp on the water service was all corroded. So an easy fix, and worth checking.  Any place you've got plumbing, an outlet, and an ohmmeter you can do a quick test.
After replacing my steel water main with PVC after it sprung a leak, I decided that grounding "to" the plastic plumbing wasn't such a great idea. I later grounded the copper pipes to my panel.

JR
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: !970 [Maybe 1950s?] House. No Grounds.
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2018, 06:58:55 pm »

Practically speaking, how many devices that you will actually plug in to utilize the power will have a grounded plug?  Virtually nothing in a living area.  I am beginning to question the value of retrofitting most rooms of a house.  NOw, until the general attitude changes, if resale value is a concern then you do need to address it.

Kitchen yes-GFCI's are required by code there on countertops anyway.  Ditto with bathrooms and garages and unfinished basements.  Laundry room is worth putting in a GFCI and/or grounds.

Unless you just want to spend the time, if you put any value to time it is almost always more cost effective to GFCI.  The only time I would say "run a ground" would be if dealing with something that needs a ground for shielding purposes-computers/tv/ham gear, etc.

You don't necessarily have to replace every receptacle, either-just the first one in the circuit.  of course, if I quote a remediation without an in depth investigation I usually figure on replacing everything because of the potential for shared neutrals.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 07:06:58 pm by Stephen Swaffer »
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Bob Leonard

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Re: !970 [Maybe 1950s?] House. No Grounds.
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2018, 07:03:34 am »

Are the boxes in the walls steel or plastic, and what type of wire is being run?
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John Halliburton

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Re: !970 [Maybe 1950s?] House. No Grounds.
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2018, 09:19:45 am »

Are the boxes in the walls steel or plastic, and what type of wire is being run?

Bob, and also Scott finally bring up an important point-if the house was built in the '50s, it likely is conduit and metal boxes, so you can use that for the third wire ground.

It will allow you to repull circuits as well, a bit more money, but it can be done.

Best regards,

John
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James Brooks

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Re: !970 [Maybe 1950s?] House. No Grounds.
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2018, 10:03:43 am »

Check YouTube,
"Replace old 2-prong outlets to a 3-prong outlet".
Just be sure an electrician made the video.
I think you'll find your answer.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: !970 [Maybe 1950s?] House. No Grounds.
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2018, 10:08:40 am »

Bob, and also Scott finally bring up an important point-if the house was built in the '50s, it likely is conduit and metal boxes, so you can use that for the third wire ground.

It will allow you to repull circuits as well, a bit more money, but it can be done.

Best regards,

John
Maybe but maybe not... I recall doing some DIY wiring back in the 50s with my older brothers and the bare ground wire inside BX was always bonded to a screw in the metal box. IIRC the romex(?) plastic jacketed cable we used also had a ground wire. But that may have just been my brothers doing above average work, or typical for where we lived (NJ).

My current casa, probably circa 1950s (MS), uses fabric covered wire, and metal boxes. I don't think they made plastic outlet boxes back then because if they were cheaper my house would have used them.   ::)

JR
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Jon Ross

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Re: !970 [Maybe 1950s?] House. No Grounds.
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2018, 11:07:18 am »

My house is a bit older than yours (1880s) but was an electrical disaster when we moved in 7 years ago. The service entrance went into the house, across the attic, back out of the house and down the wall to the meter and then panel for starters.
Surprisingly, there was no knob and tube wiring but there were gaslight pipes. Most of the wiring was cloth covered two conductor wire and I found spots where insulation was stuck to the wire. Upon closer inspection, the wire was hard and crispy in those areas and I replaced those wires sooner than later. The wiring had certainly been pushed to its limits over the years.
Iíve installed a new panel with new underground service to the pole, and we are down to one remaining cloth covered wire that is in a bathroom that will likely be torn down rather than remodeled. Iíve also wired the entire house with 12 gauge wire rather than 14.
My suggestion is to pull new wire. You donít have to do it all at once, just take it one chunk at a time. Properly done, this will only make living in and selling the house easier.
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Erik Jerde

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Re: !970 [Maybe 1950s?] House. No Grounds.
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2018, 11:30:33 am »

Bob, and also Scott finally bring up an important point-if the house was built in the '50s, it likely is conduit and metal boxes, so you can use that for the third wire ground.

It will allow you to repull circuits as well, a bit more money, but it can be done.

Best regards,

John

50ís and later puts you into a confluence of wiring types.  If youíre lucky itís flexible metal conduit (FMC).  Also commonly called BX.  You may also have early MC which may have a very thin ďgroundĒ wire.  You could also have early type NM (commonly called romex).

FMC is the best because you can just repull circuits.  My Ď30s vintage house is all FMC and thatís made replacing wire easy.  Pull out all but one wire then tie on the new wires to the one old one and pull them in.  USE STRANDED WIRE!!!!!!!!!  I pull in a dedicated ground bonding wire because FMC isnít an acceptable ground path. 

If you have early MC then you can get a ground path through the jacket but itís not a good path.  Same as with the FMC.  What can happen is there can be enough resistance in the jacket to cause it to heat up and start a fire before a breaker trips.  Rare but possible.  Thatís why a legit ground bonding wire is required.

Both MC and NM without proper grounds require opening walls and/or fishing new cable to get proper grounds.

Good luck!
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Chris Hindle

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Re: !970 [Maybe 1950s?] House. No Grounds.
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2018, 12:29:09 pm »

My fully-detached triplex was build in '58 (same as me)
Of course, 2-wire.
Before we bought it (late 80's) the original oil fired boiler and radiators were pulled, and baseboard heaters put in.
Kitchen and laundry area were rewired modern.
Rest of the place, not so much.
Over the course of a year or so, I pulled the baseboard trim, and "stole" the grounds from the heaters to snake up to all the outlets.
A couple I coundn't do without breaking the wallboard, so they stayed old skool.
I did stuff a piece of plastic to plug the ground pin on those 2 outlets. Still safe for lights and such, but a 3-pring-prong can't be plugged in.
Just a thought.......
Chris.
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Re: !970 [Maybe 1950s?] House. No Grounds.
¬ę Reply #19 on: August 03, 2018, 12:29:09 pm ¬Ľ


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