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Thread: Adding Ground Wire to Receptacle

  1. #1

    Default Adding Ground Wire to Receptacle

    I had to replace a 15amp/125v two slot receptacle. This was very old (both hot and neutral slots were "T") and I replaced with same rating new two slop receptacle. I wanted to put in a three-prong outlet, but understand I should not do so without an attached ground. When I moved in I hired an electrician who rewired and properly ground most outlets, but must have missed this one.

    The unusually helpful fellow at Home Depot told me I could still install a three-prong outlet as long as I attached a ground wire from the outlet grounding screw to the metal box housing the receptacle. I purchased the wire and ground screws for this purpose. When I removed the old receptacle, I discovered that the metal box did have holes in the back but the holes were too big for the ground screws I purchased. My questions:

    1. Is this in fact a safe procedure?
    2. Can I use a larger ground screw or a washer or something to facilitate the ground screw attaching to the back of the box - if so what sort should I use?
    3. Is there a muh better way?

    You folks helped me once before - thank you so much

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Anser to ques?? ! safe procedure? I assume your wanting to know if the ground wire lead from box to receptacle is safe? YES this is normal procedure. Without seeing what type box you have there, there may be several solutions. If metal box is single gang switch box(referred to by numerous names) you could also use a grounding clip which is spring steel and your grounding wire( GRN or Bare)is pinched between box and clip then attached to recept.(DIY ceneter would have) Or if either that or a 4" SQ with plaster ring you could also drill and tap a 10/32 hole for grnding screw. Also!! what's referred to as "tech screws"(metal self tap)are accepted here if heads ID'ed with green magic marker could be used. Another solution you could get what are referred to as "self grounding receptacles", which do not need the grounding wire, but be sure your box is grounded in all cases above.
    What you do need to do first is test from your "hot" wire(aka-black or Red) to that metal box to be sure you have a grounded box. You should get 120V reading IF SO.
    If no ground present after testing for , you could also install a GFI receptacle Marked Not Grounded. But it would give you fault protection.
    Thats it from here. Alot of answers just for something as simple as a tapped hole. Hey GL2U

  3. #3


    I have to wonder if the metal box is even grounded. If it is fed with 2 wire NM cable, jumping the ground terminal of the receptable to the box will have been for naught.

  4. #4

    Default Thanks and clarification

    I think I understand most of wannabee's reply and thank you. I will try all of those suggestions.

    I am not sure what type of box it is, it has two sets of wires coming into it. Two black and two white (all copper) one from above (I believe this is from another switch above on the same wall, which was replaced and at least does have a ground wire). mdshunk refers to 2 wire NM cable and I'm not sure I know what that is or how to identify it.

    Thank you again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Eastern Pa

    Default grounding wire

    The quickest thing for you to do is get a multi-tester. It dosent have
    to be even a meter. A A/C neon type tester will be fine.

    BE CAREFUL: touch one lead to the black wire and the other to the
    metal box. If the tester lights your box is grounded. If not you have a couple of choices which Wanna mentioned.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    NM= NON MATALIC along lines of romex.

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