I have read the postings on this topic in this news group and haven't
found one quite like mine so....
Yes, I live in a 1959 house, and the house sockets are only two
Here is my situation. I removed the faceplate covering an two pronged
outlet, and then removed the outlet itself ( yes, breaker was opened
prior ). Inside I found wires entering the metal box from both the top
and the bottom. One black, one white from both the top and the bottom.
These were connected to the outlet. In additon, coiled around the
opening at both the top and the bottom of the box is a bare copper
wire. The bare copper wire is crimped to the box, but not continuous.
Two seperate copper wires are visable. Neither wire was connected to
Now, does this possibly mean the socket can be updated to a three
pronged outlet by attaching a grounding wire to the box? Or in other
words, how do I test to see if bare copper wire is actually a grounding
wire and thus will work safely with a three pronged outlet?
<< how do I test to see if bare copper wire is actually a grounding wire >>
Start with a good multimeter.
<< does this possibly mean the socket can be updated to a three pronged outlet
by attaching a grounding wire to the box? >>
Might be possible, but you need to go back to the service panel and perhaps
have a pro study the layout if it doesn't make sense to you. Remove the front
panel, look it over and then decide. Good luck.
Yes. At least the wiring in your home has the 3rd ground conductor. But it's a
project if you want to do this right and have a decent, reliable ground.
First, know that during the time your home was built (2-pronged outlets, romex
cable, 3 wires, '59-ish) grounding wasn't taken too seriously. More of a PITA
to the electricians.
You need to open every outlet and switch and fixture box on every circuit, find
the grounds for each cable, and twist & wirenut them together so that they're
all properly mechanically and electrically secure. In addition, leave a "tail"
to ground the metal box itself, and to ground the device whether it be a switch
or a receptacle. Make sure all these ground wires are also secure in the panel.
You should also test your grounds not with one of those cheap-o neon testers,
or plug-in tester made by Ideal or Greenlee or Klein, but actually with a load,
like a lightbulb, between hot & ground.
You would be wise to use this opportunity to replace all your outlets &
switches with new, grounded ones, and install GFCI devices where appropriate.
This is exactly what I did, and I tested every one of them with a
voltmeter afterwards. Nice to have 3 prong sockets everywhere.
Espically since all the old 2 prong ones were painted over like 5
times and looked terrible!
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