I've seen a bunch of these questions and I just want to be absolutely positive that I'm doing the correct thing here.

I have about 2-4 wall outlets per bedroom - all of them on 15amp breaker(s). I would like to replace them with 3 prong outlets.

Each outlet (aside from the last on the line) has 6 wires (black, white, bare copper - in/out). The bare copper ones are pigtailed together and attached with a screw to receptacle.

To replace, do I just need to:

  1. 15 amp 2 prong outlet get a 3 prong outlet
  2. Connect the black to brass, white to silver, and the pigtailed to ground in new outlet?

Photo of outlet with pigtailed grounds

Anything different from above if I want to put in a GFCI? (Converting a br to home office with computer) - is the gfci necessary?

  • 2
    I would verify your grounds go back to the main panel. If they do not you can add a GFCI at the first receptacle or install a GFCI breaker (for any branch circuit with 3 prong that do not have the equipment ground) if you are on the 2017 NEC code you are allowed to take a separate ground wire to another point in the system as long as it is fed from the same panel. If you add the GFCI and don’t have a equipment ground each receptacle should be labeled GFCI protected no equipment ground they usually come with a bunch of those stickers. Also don’t forget tamper resistant if you want to be 100%
    – Ed Beal
    Sep 9, 2020 at 19:08
  • 2
    Note that while you may be using it as an office now, you may want to be able to call it a bedroom if you ever sell your house, and therefore, you should wire it to current bedroom code to avoid headaches in the future -- that means AFCI.
    – Nate S.
    Sep 9, 2020 at 19:19

2 Answers 2


You've got a pretty good idea on what needs to be done. Naturally, you'll be turning off the breaker to the circuit. In cases like this, I've always pigtailed the blacks together and had one connection to the outlet and do the same to the neutrals. You'll need some extra black and white wire and some wire nuts but it makes for a neater installation. If an outlet connection gets loose, it doesn't affect the whole circuit. A converted bedroom to an office wouldn't need GFCI protection but you'd add them the same way for a single outlet protection and would use the load terminals for a daisy chain protection.

  • Ah, pigtail same color line, load, and "extra" together using a cap, then attach other end of "extra" to outlet. I like that - pretty sure thats whats happening with the grounds, though I haven't checked which ground wire (load/lead) is attached to the receptacle
    – Rastalamm
    Sep 9, 2020 at 20:23
  • 2
    Put a shepherd's on the end of the "extra" and connect to outlet screws. Never use the backstabs.
    – JACK
    Sep 9, 2020 at 20:34

Are the junction boxes metal?

Since ground wires are indeed present, you must ground the wires to the metal boxes. Use a pigtail coming up from the box's ground screw (one of the holes should be tapped for a #10-32 ground screw; they sell green ones if you want to be fancy, some even include the pigtail). Sometimes the supplied ground screw hole is accidentally used for a nail or screw. You can also add your own #10-32 hole in the box, or use a ground clip to attach a ground pigtail to the edge of the box.

Once the metal junction box is grounded, you can ground the recep either with another pigtail, or by a "self-grounding" feature on the recep which grabs ground via the mounting screws.

  • Yes - junction boxes are metal. It appears that one end of the bare copper (ground) is already attached to the junction box - using some sort of clamp/screw (see second photo in original link)
    – Rastalamm
    Sep 9, 2020 at 20:19
  • 2
    Yeah, using the cable clamp for the ground screw isn't quite right, but I would leave it alone. I would then use self-grounding receps. Easiest way. @Rastalamm Sep 9, 2020 at 21:49

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