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Home built in 1948. The outlets have no ground wire and use fabric sheathed copper wire.can i run a ground wire from receptacle to the metal outlet box itself, as apposed to no ground at all? How can I tell if the outlet box is grounded in some way? If box isn't grounded can I still ground to it from receptacle?

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A wire from the receptacle to the box is still no ground at all - the box isnt grounded.

You need to either replace the wire all the way back to the electrical panel to make a properly grounded outlet, or replace the outlet with a GFCI, which provides the protection a ground wire would. You are also supposed to label the outlet with a "No Equipment Ground" sticker.

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    How do I check to see if the box is grounded? – bpearr Feb 12 '15 at 22:39
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    @bpearr Look for a bare or green wire screwed to the box. – ThreePhaseEel Feb 12 '15 at 23:05
  • Do they usually have that wire in 1948? Thanks – bpearr Feb 12 '15 at 23:49
  • Bear in mind that this is only true for non-metallic (NM) wire. Some older homes also have a metallic sheathing (BX Wire) which does not require a separate ground wire. The sheathing itself acts as the ground wire as long as the sheathing is continuous and is properly connected to the box and the panel. Then you can ground your outlet to the box. This also only works with metal boxes. – Jason Hutchinson Feb 13 '15 at 19:04
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    @bpearr without a ground back to the panel, connecting it to the box doesnt help at all. It wont hurt anything, it just wastes a few inches of copper and your time. – Grant Feb 13 '15 at 22:10

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