no grounding in home


I recently purchased a home built in the 1960s. While doing renovations, I got an electrician out to inspect my wiring. He said it was fine, and wasn't worth rewiring the entire house, but I have no grounding, which he said meant surge protectors wouldn't work. He said to add grounding, he would basically need to rewire the whole house, which would cost about $12000. Is it possible to ground just certain outlets and/or to get "grounded" in a less costly manner?
Thanks!
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I can think of a couple options. You can put a surge protector at the service panel so the whole house would be protected. This is expensive but nowhere near $12K. I would guess it's under $1K. To answer your question, yes you can ground certain outlets but in the future that would present a problem if you tried to sell the house. Once you initiate an upgrade like that you're required to bring all the wiring up to code. You didn't mention what kind of wiring you have. Do you know if it's in conduit (looks like steel water pipe), romex (looks like a white extension cord), bx (looks like a flexible metal snake). I'd get another contractor to look at it, but don't tell them what the other person said.
On May 2, 11:46 am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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Thanks for your response. The surge protector option sounds really great!
The wiring running to the receptacles and switches is a really thick, black cord. (Sorry if this is not helpful - I have really limited knowledge).
Thanks again for your help. I'll get someone else to look at it
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On May 2, 1:37 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Go w/ Goedjn's advice would be mine. Adding a circuit or adding a ground to an existing circuit as opposed to rewiring the whole house is possible and in most locations will not incur a need to bring the whole house to current code if, as your electrician has already attested, it is not a safety hazard. IMO it won't make any effect on a future sale relative to the existing condition -- if anything, it will be a step forward although not a complete trip to nirvana, obviously.
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On May 2, 2:37 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Surge protectors are ineffective (work but are not effective protection) when not earthed. Not just any ground. Earth ground. Even with a new circuit to computer room, that circuit only would be safety grounded (to protect human life). Distance is too far for earthing a protector. Wire too long is why wall receptacle is a safety ground, but not earth ground.
First, building earthing must be upgraded to both meet and exceed post 1990 code requirements. Electricians know how to 'meet' code. Sometimes the 'exceed' is not understood. Distance from circuit breaker box (where protector is located) to earth must be short ('less than 10 feet'), no sharp bends, all incoming utilities connected to that same earthing connection, etc. Those required to 'exceed' code.
For example, telephone box (NID) already has a 'whole house' protector - provided free by the telco. But protector will only be effective if connected to same earth ground installed by the electrician. Understanding this paragraph is probably the most important of this reply.
A 'whole house' protector where utility wires enter the building accomplishes what plug-in protectors don't even claim to do. Why? A protector is not transistor protection. Protection is that new earth ground rod installed by electrician and only feet from breaker box and protector.
Effective protectors have names such as GE, Siemens, Leviton, Square D, Cutler-Hammer, and Intermatic. Sold in Lowes, Home Depot and electrical supply houses. Names that electricians respect. What is the name on a plug-in protector? Never saw an effective protector sold in Radio Shack, Circuit City, Sears, Staples, K-mart, Best Buy, Office Max, or a grocery store.
An electrician can upgrade your household earthing for surge protection without wiring circuits inside the house. One 'whole house' protector means everything has effective surge protection. Why? A protector is not protection. A protector is only a connecting device to protection: earth ground that is connected 'less than ten feet' to breaker box.
'Whole house' protector with new (post 1990 code) earthing connection (less than 10 feet, no sharp bends in the wire, routed separated from other wires, etc), then the protector has someplace to dump a surge. A surge diverted to earth will not seek destructive paths through TV, smoke detectors, dishwasher, etc. Protection even for everything connected to two wire outlets. A far more effective protector also costs tens of times less money per protected appliance.
Another has recommended a dedicated circuit to the computer room. That ground wire is only for human safety. If you don't install that expensive circuit, then do two simple things- but only for human safety. First connect all computer / printer / modem devices to one (typically $4) power strip. Second (and only for human safety), put a GFCI on that circuit.
Posted is the best protection system you can install for tens (or maybe hundreds of times) less money. Remember, a protector is not and does not claim to be protection. A protector is only a connecting device to earth ground. If earthing wire distance is short ('less than 10 feet'), then the earthing ground becomes surge protection. Most important upgrade to protect every transistor: upgrade breaker box earthing to meet and *exceed* post-1990 National Electrical Code requirements.
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w_tom wrote:

Nonsense. Both the IEEE guide on surges and surge protection at: http://omegaps.com/Lightning%20Guide_FINALpublishedversion_May051.pdf and the NIST guide at: http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/practiceguides/surgesfnl.pdf say plug-in suppressors are effective.
Note that all interconnected equipment needs to be connected to the same plug-in suppressor, or interconnecting wires needs to go through the suppressor. External connections, like phone, cable TV, also needs to go through the protector. Connecting all wiring through the suppressor prevents damaging voltages between power and phone wires. These multiport suppressors are described in both the IEEE and NIST guides.

Not just the same ground. The NID and cable TV service ground block ground wires have to connect with short connections to the power system earthing wire at the power service. This is called a single point ground. This is the equivalent of running both power and signal wires through a plug-in suppressor. A multiport plug-in suppressor provides protection from long interconnections, but if just using service panel surge protection a single point ground is very important.

Nonsense again as applied to plugin suppressors. The IEEE guide explains that plug-in suppressors work primarily by clamping the voltage on all wires (power and signal) to the common ground at the suppressor, not earthing. The guide says earth grounding occurs elsewhere.
I agree with Goedjin that adding grounded outlets at strategic locations is a good idea. I agree with businessman that adding grounding is a good idea in areas where drywall is off, particularly if you can do the wiring . This can be done with new Romex or with ground wires as Bob suggests.
-- bud--
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Note that Romex installed in the 1950s will NOT look like white extension cord. It will be covered with tarred braid and look like a stiff flattened black extension cord. Since then many colours have been used, in my house built in 1970 I have black, blue, brown, orange as well as the current vinyl covered Romex with white, orange and red covering. They are now using the covering colour to indicate the wire gauge such as yellow for 12 ga. Earlier it was the colour of the manufacturer's brand, like with power tools.
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On 2 May 2007 09:46:51 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I'd ignore the existing wiring, and run a new grounded circut to wherever I want to put equipment that needs to be protected. That should work out to an entertainment center and a computer workstation, right? and/or For much less amount of money you're talking about for the whole house, you could easily install protection at the service panel, which will protect you against any event originating outside the house. (Which is most of them.)
Over time, I'd think about replacing the existing receptacles with GFCIs, which will give you reasonable shock protection for people, but won't do much for equipment.
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I agree. You probably only need your computer and entertainment center on surge protectors. That means adding two new outlets. Any electrician can add a few outlets for a couple hundred bucks, or you can do it yourself for under $100.
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On May 3, 1:33 am, snipped-for-privacy@nomail.com wrote:

Effective surge protector can be installed in mains breaker box for computer, entertainment center, AND also for things more critical: the furnace, bathroom and kitchen GFCIs, smoke detectors .... and everything else in the house. Protection that is vastly superior because an earthing wire makes a 'less than 10 feet' connection. Protector that costs about $1 per protected appliance.
Protection that would work adjacent to computer or entertainment electronics already should be inside appliances. Internal appliance protection needs one thing to not be overwhelmed - a properly (connected 'less than 10 foot') earthed 'whole house' protector. Superior protection also for computer and entertainment electronics without rewiring the house.
Dedicated wire to computer and entertainment system would be for other reasons including human safety.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I have a house built in 1949, and the upstairs is all wired very professionally with 12 gauge ungrounded cable. The basement was obviously wired later, poorly, using a mixture of #12 grounded Romex and #12 grounded UF cable.
I've been grounding the upstairs outlets one-at-a-time by drilling a little hole in the wall plate and running a green #12 wire back to the panel. I'm trying to get one or two grounded outlet in each room. There's no need for bedroom convenience outlets to be grounded, nor the one in the living room behind the couch, etc.
The new circuits I've added are grounded, of course.
Bob
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$12000!!!??? Is it a 15 bedroom mansion?
--
Steve Barker




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Not a surprising estimate, considering how some contractors pull prices out of their asses. I was quoted $1800.00 and $800.00 for changing a few iron pipes to PVC in the basement under my bathroom. Two weeks ago, another plumber (husband of a friend) stopped by, took a look, and said "This is a breeze. $200.00, and you provide coffee. See ya Saturday morning" Took him an hour, and he did a great job. I mentioned the other estimates. He said "Some of these guys are friggin' crazy".
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I find saying 'cash price' helps a lot, especially for small jobs that can be done in evening and on Saturday.
aem sends...
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wrote:

It's not crazy if they find one or two people a month that will pay it. Evil, maybe, but not crazy.
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Upgrading to a 200 Amp service with all new wiring and grounding electrode system is an excellent investment in convenience and safety, but 12K seems high. You'd darn well better be getting everything I mentioned for that price. Shop around and get at least 3 bids, references, and most importantly, check the references. Make SURE the contractor pulls a permit and the work is inspected per 2005 NEC. Money's too hard to come by, and it's too easy to get hosed. Do your homework well before laying out the cash.
Good Luck!
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Haha...no, it's nowhere near a mansion. It's a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1900 square foot house. Moreover, a lot of the drywall is off the walls so a lot of the wiring is exposed. I'm glad to hear you guys say that it sounded high...I thought so. I'll definitely be getting another estimate.
Thanks for all of the great advice!!
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On 2 May 2007 19:04:19 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

If the drywall is off, start changing the wires..... A 250ft roll of 12-2 plus ground is $100 or less.
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On May 3, 12:38 am, snipped-for-privacy@nomail.com wrote:

If the only real concern at this point is surge protection, I'd go with the suggestion to install a whole house surge protector, which you should be able to get done for a few hundred bucks.
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On 2 May 2007 09:46:51 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I had a few computers die without warning. They were old, but I was concerned, so I tackled the problem of possible surge spikes a few ways. 1. Ensure the neutral bus was properly grounded, to a ground rod. 2. All piping bonded (more for safety). 3. Installed an inpanel surge surpressor.
tom @ www.BlankHelp.com
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