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Replace 2-prong wall receptical to 3-prong?
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Replace 2-prong wall receptical to 3-prong?

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Replace 2-prong wall receptical to 3-prong?
Residential Wiring - The Right Way!

Wiring Information for the Do It Yourself Homeowner

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Thread: Replace 2-prong wall receptical to 3-prong?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    West Michigan
    Posts
    3

    Default Replace 2-prong wall receptical to 3-prong?

    Hello,
    Found your site this morning while researching outside perimeter drainage around home.
    I have an electrical question. We purchased a home recently that was built around 1960 or so, and it has 2 prong outlets everywhere except kitchen and bathroom. I'd like to replace all of the remaining 2-pront outlets with 3-prong outlets that includes proper grounding and brand new wiring to support the ground prong.
    Can I replace the wiring inside the walls by cutting the power supply, ..attaching the old wire to the new wire, ..and then simply pulling the new wire into place as I pull the old wire out (from outlet to outlet)? Or will I have to cut through the plaster wall and/or drywall to rewire with new wire?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    215

    Default

    Most likely not if it was done to code, because code requires the cable to be stapled within 8" of the box. Even if it wasn't stapled, pulling a cable through multiple stud holes is difficult. If it bends to go up to the ceiling or down under the floor, then pulling is also near impossible. And you have to loosen the cable clamp because you can't pull that cable clamp through stud holes, and doing that requires a small hole next to the device box.

    Your best recourse is to run new cables up or down the wall cavity. These can either be fished or you can cut or remove the drywall and run new cabling. Fishing in insulated walls is slow and can be frustrating. Zipping out a 3" wide section of drywall horizontally along the perimeter of the room just above or below the device boxes would allow you to make the required changes assuming you have easy access from above the ceiling or under the floor. The middle floor of a 3 story house would be the tough one and you'd have more drywall to cut out.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Welland Ontario
    Posts
    398

    Default

    Are you sure there are no grounds? The grounds could be there and just not hooked up. Cables with grounds began appearing in mid 50.
    Operation Overlord.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    West Michigan
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Hi Mark,
    Thank you for the information. I do not know how to replace or repair drywall and actually just had new carpeting installed ..so am not at all anxious to cut any drywall out. It is a one-story home with access via full basement and access above ceiling below roof rafters. I will check to see how easily I can access between the walls. Am driving over there after dinner tonight anyway ..and even now while 'visualizing' the work I have already performed in the basement ..access should be a breeze.

    Basically, I am a 'newbie' with home remodeling and am learning as I go. Thanks again.

    ps. I will also double check the existing wiring in the wall boxes ..but seems I recall seeing only 2 wires. I could probably still put in the 3-prong plugs and only connect those 2 wires ..but am worried about potential damage to sensitive electronic equipment we all have these days.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    West Michigan
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Hi chrisb, ..I am going to double check the existing wiring again ..but am almost certain it is only 2-wires. I'll post again with a smile if I discover it already has a ground wire.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    215

    Default

    Best place to check is the breaker panel. In the old days, electricians many times folded the ground (if it was there) back on the cable before inserting in the wall box. So its there but no easy to access. If they were all cut off in the main power panel, there's no point connecting up the other end -- both ends need to be there, not cut off and able to be pulled into the box if pulled back.

    My house in the 60's had a mix of grounded and ungrounded cable. If you go with the 3 prong on only 2 wires solution, you must use a GFCI at the beginning of the circuit. Finding where that is can be challenging -- it requires you "guess" and break the circuit. If all the other boxes on that circuit are dead then you found the beginning. So you basically need to map out all your wiring which is a time consuming process. Makes a good opportunity to replace the receptacle since you need to take all the wires off to see what goes dead. This is a good project to learn with, as you don't want to pay an electrician to do that if you can stick a volt meter in a receptacle and tell a live on from a dead one.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Welland Ontario
    Posts
    398

    Default

    I have seen old homes built around that time that had the ground wire wrapped around the cable and put under the cable clamp. Take a close look or look at the cable in the service panel. If you see grounds at the panel then there should ground in the boxes as well.
    Operation Overlord.

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