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How to improve an old house?

Discussion in 'Electrical Engineering' started by Anthony Guzzi, Apr 22, 2005.

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  1. Ok, my friend is considering buying a house in Northern California, and
    it's a little older. The outlets are not grounded. It's only 2 prong.
    It DOES have use circuit breakers, and NOT fuses though.

    I know that simply replacing the outlets with grounded ones, while
    cheap, is illegal. However using 3-prong adaptors for everything is a
    pain, and makes replacing outlets look very tempting.

    So I guess my question is, what can be done to improve things without
    much effort? Replace the breakers with GFCI breakers? Just forget
    about it and replace the outlets anyhow? What?
     
  2. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Make the current owner have it rewired or knock off a very large chunk of money from the asking
    price.



    Ok, my friend is considering buying a house in Northern California, and
    it's a little older. The outlets are not grounded. It's only 2 prong.
    It DOES have use circuit breakers, and NOT fuses though.

    I know that simply replacing the outlets with grounded ones, while
    cheap, is illegal. However using 3-prong adaptors for everything is a
    pain, and makes replacing outlets look very tempting.

    So I guess my question is, what can be done to improve things without
    much effort? Replace the breakers with GFCI breakers? Just forget
    about it and replace the outlets anyhow? What?
     
  3. ehsjr

    ehsjr Guest

    1) Each GFI breaker will require a position on the neutral bus
    in your panel, and will cost more than a GFCI receptacle.
    It would be best if you go that route to hire an electrician
    so that you don't have to wire things inside the service panel.
    The electrician can add an additional neutral bus, as required.

    2) You can install a GFCI receptacle as the first receptacle on
    each 15 or 20 amp branch circuit, and feed the rest from the
    load side. It is then permissible to change the 2 prong
    receptacles to 3 prong receptacles, even if there is *no*
    ground at the receptacle location. It is better to avoid
    doing that on circuits to the fridge, freezer, sump pump -
    places where you are not likely to notice a power outage
    unless damage (spoiled food, flooded area,?) occurs.

    3) If it is properly wired with armored cable, you
    have ground available at the junction boxes via the
    armor. It is then permissible to install a 3 prong
    receptacle.

    4) One reply addressed possibly bad insulation on the
    wire. (The insulation does deteriorate with age.) That
    is a real possibility.

    Ok, with those points in mind, the most attractive
    approach, generally speaking, is the installation of
    a GFCI receptacle in the first position of each
    selected branch circuit. That provides protection
    to the whole branch and requires woking in only one
    jucnction box per branch. And it is the least costly
    method of improving things. If the wire insulation
    is in good shape, you can then replace the two prong
    receptacles with 3 prong receptacles. (Even if it is
    in bad shape, it can be dealt with, but as the other
    poster pointed out, disturbing that wiring might
    bring some difficulty.) Sump pumps should be double
    insulated - I'd recommend changing to that style if
    you have one and if it is not double insulated.
    Fridges and freezers should be connected via correctly
    grounded receptacles. That's worth installing a
    new circuit (if needed) in my opinion.

    Ed
     
  4. UQBGP

    UQBGP Guest

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