How to add ground to old home
My daughter has a home built in 1952 located in Santa Barbara county, CA. The previous owners have been in the walls and I can see romex and new 3-slot receptacles but no grounds were ever added. The panel is only 6 breakers. I've heard I can add GFCI's to the circuits but finding the first one in the circuit is the trick. Since it's only 6 breakers would I be better off replacing the all the breakers with GFCI ones?
Welcome Taz ... you are a good Dad to be checking this issue. Simply put, in a situation posing a threat to human safety, a GFCI will trip instead of shocking you because it checks the hot (black) and neutral (white). This functionality is not affected by the presence of a ground.
If you buy a GFCI breaker for your service panel circuits it will monitor all downstream activity for each circuit. The GFCI comes with a sticker to be specifically affixed when the gfci has no ground. Put on those stickers!
Also, remember that the mere presence of a three-prong outlet does not guarantee a grounded receptacle.
Want to really protect here house? Retrofitting two wire with GFCI's plus the usage of a whole-house surge protector is a fantastic alternative to rewiring the whole place even though it will not e a "grounded" house.
If you are going to go the GFI route, I recommend replacing all the outlets with GFI's. Otherwise, you will lose power to a whole circuit everytime a GFI trips...which can be often if your running an entire house on GFI's. When you install the outlets use the "Line" side only. Then you can replace the 6 breakers with arc fault breakers and you won't have to worry about the old wiring.
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