I’m trying to connect to my home’s ground wires. I am a tenant so it’s not my property.

I see that the outlets here have the hot, neutral, and ground wires - but I’m a little suspicious about how the ground wires are connected to the receptacles (I checked multiple in they’re done in the same way). They’re kind of just tied around a screw on the receptacle.

Is this bootlegged? Can I still connect my copper wire to the one in the outlet to get the ground current?

I’ve attached photos.

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  • Bootlegged ground means the ground is connected to the neutral instead of having its own wire.
    – user253751
    May 22, 2023 at 14:42
  • 12
    "I’m trying to connect to my home’s ground wires. I am a tenant so it’s not my property." – Have you looked into whether or not it's legal for you to do that? May 22, 2023 at 15:05
  • 14
    Based on the wording of the question, I have serious concerns about the OP understanding normal household 120V wiring, and would caution them highly to leave things alone. Of primary concern is the mention of how to get "ground current". That indicates to me that the OP doesn't really know what they're doing since the ground wire shouldn't be carrying any current in normal situations.
    – Milwrdfan
    May 22, 2023 at 16:07
  • 9
    What are you trying to connect or install? This might be an XY problem
    – mmathis
    May 22, 2023 at 17:22
  • 8
    Aside from plugging things into receptacles, there's not much a tenant should be doing to the electrical system!
    – mmathis
    May 22, 2023 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


That is exactly as it should be. The green screw on the outlet is the ground connection.

(I take it you were expecting a push-in connection of either the old unreliable spring type or the newer clamped-by-a-screw variety. For whatever reasons, those have generally been used only for hot and neutral. Safety ground is usually connected the old-fashioned way: hook it around the screw, then tighten down the screw to hold it in place. There's an even older style where ground is connected to the electrical box and the "ears" of the outlet, in contact with that box, make the ground connection when you screw it in place... a wire directly to the ground screw is better.)

  • 5
    The only problem is all that paint on the the ground wire. Connection will be iffy.
    – crip659
    May 22, 2023 at 11:40
  • 4
    Valid concern, @crip659. Worth disconnecting, cleaning a bit, and reconnecting.
    – keshlam
    May 22, 2023 at 13:45
  • 1
    If the paint has accumulated after the wire was attached, then it should be fine. However it looks to me like the wire has been reattached. I would clean the wire. May 23, 2023 at 7:38
  • 1
    @crip659 That and the backstabs. If you were going to fix anything in this install it'd be to attach the wires to the screw-in terminals instead of the backstabs. May 23, 2023 at 13:39

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