Installing a GFCI Receptacle on a Non-Grounded Electrical System, Replacing a Light Switch and Replacing 120 Volt Electric Baseboard Heaters with 240 Volt Heaters
November 4, 2009
Chester West asks:
What is the best way to install a GFCI when you don’t have a ground wire in an old house? The old outlet is in a metal box. But old outlet is not connected to a ground.
According to the National Electrical Code®, you are permitted to install a GFCI receptacle without a ground. However, I recommend installing a ground wire. What I would do is install a new cable back to the breaker box. I also recommend checking your electric service to ensure that it is properly grounded. If your receptacles aren’t grounded, then your electric service may not be properly grounded either. When it comes to your electric service, I recommend hiring a licensed electrician to do this. Your electric service is the main part of your electrical system. If this is not properly grounded, then installing a ground wire anywhere else in this system is pointless.
I have a two wire light switch and I need to replace it. I have a three wire switch. Can I use it?
Yes, but it is not the right thing to do. I recommend going to your local home improvement store or hardware store to purchase a single pole switch. They are less than $2.00.
I had 4 electric baseboard heaters installed. They are warm to the touch but do not put out any heat at all. They are all wired to extension cords and plugged into outlets above them… I don’t think that is exacltly up to code? How do I re-wire the heaters correctly?
In my opinion, the best way to do this is to install new 240 volt heaters. Cadet makes a nice electric baseboard heater. Their Softheat heaters are the most energy efficient. However, they are also expensive. I’ve noticed that Home Depot keeps this brand is stock.
As for wiring them, you need to install a new cable back to your breaker box. You also need to determine if you are going to install a wall-mounted thermostat or unit-mounted t-stats. I wrote another article entitled Installing Electric Baseboard Heat which may help you a little more.
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