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Old 12-16-2013, 02:38 PM  
Brandon_Hanley
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Default rewiring to fix open ground?

We recently bought a 2 story red brick (w/ attic and basement) built in 1941. While investigating issues with added hum in my guitar amps we found that 90% of the outlets in the house show an open ground issue on the tester. The wiring is a mess, there are multiple fuse boxes and a mix of "knob and tube" and more modern wiring.

We plan to have the hole house rewired eventually but need to have a new roof put on first, i cant deal with the noise issues with my guitar amps untill then though. I was thinking maybe i could just have new wire ran to my music room for now. Could running new wire to that room including a ground fix the problem?

Would it be as simple as running conduit through my basement wall and up the outside of the house to the attic and then down into the 2nd floor music room outlets? Any idea what it would cost me to have someone do this?



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Old 12-16-2013, 04:26 PM  
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Originally Posted by Brandon_Hanley View Post
i cant deal with the noise issues with my guitar amps untill then though.
First plug your guitar into a grounded outlet and make sure the 60 Hz hum is gone.

Finding a ground and complying with whatever version of the NEC your area is using is not quite the same thing.
If you run a single insulated ground #14 or #12 conductor somehow to a ground, it will be small enough to hide under a bead of caulk or quarter-round.
Also, a large capacitor run to almost any ground will give you an AC ground which should reduce your noise problem; I don't know if the NEC addresses this arrangement.

The NEC language sometimes has logical fallacies, on purpose or by accident, so if you post NEC excerpts that allow or prohibit whatever method you propose then several of us will be glad to try to translate this into plain English.

Speaking of logical fallacies, if you believe "If the shoe fits, wear it." says anything about the other three cases, you have already fallen into the fallacy trap.


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Old 12-16-2013, 05:28 PM  
Brandon_Hanley
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First plug your guitar into a grounded outlet and make sure the 60 Hz hum is gone.

Finding a ground and complying with whatever version of the NEC your area is using is not quite the same thing.
If you run a single insulated ground #14 or #12 conductor somehow to a ground, it will be small enough to hide under a bead of caulk or quarter-round.
Also, a large capacitor run to almost any ground will give you an AC ground which should reduce your noise problem; I don't know if the NEC addresses this arrangement.

The NEC language sometimes has logical fallacies, on purpose or by accident, so if you post NEC excerpts that allow or prohibit whatever method you propose then several of us will be glad to try to translate this into plain English.

Speaking of logical fallacies, if you believe "If the shoe fits, wear it." says anything about the other three cases, you have already fallen into the fallacy trap.
i've had the amps in the add on room with modern wiring for the past 2 years and they sound excelent, the moment i plugged them into the outlet upstairs i knew there was a problem. i really should have used the tester up stairs before agreeing to turn my old music room into the kids play room. i keep my outlet tester with my amps because i usually check every outlet before plugging into it for the first time.

you mentioned hiding a ground but what would i hook it to to ground it? the rest of the post i dont understand at all, not sure what any of that means.
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:29 PM  
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Originally Posted by Brandon_Hanley View Post
i've had the amps in the add on room with modern wiring for the past 2 years and they sound excelent, the moment i plugged them into the outlet upstairs i knew there was a problem. i really should have used the tester up stairs before agreeing to turn my old music room into the kids play room. i keep my outlet tester with my amps because i usually check every outlet before plugging into it for the first time.

you mentioned hiding a ground but what would i hook it to to ground it? the rest of the post i dont understand at all, not sure what any of that means.
And some of it's bad advice, unfortunately. Sorry.

Revision A:
The National Electric Code has rules for providing earth grounds to outlets, some rather restrictive. I don't think you are allowed to attach to the nearest cold water pipe, for instance.
However, if you are allowed to snake a single insulated ground wire by some route to your breaker panel, you won't have to snake new thick two-wire-with-ground Romex cable inside finished walls.
Also, if you only want one outlet grounded it would good if it is located near the circuit breaker panel ["load center"] in an unfinished basement. Then, running Romex shouldn't be a problem.

If you provide more details and photos for your particular case, someone well-versed in whatever edition of the Code that is used in your area can maybe help you.
Your local permitting dept. can tell you what version of the Code with what amendments they are using.

You should also be aware that in some cases three-light outlet testers will lead you astray but I think for your case your readings are valid.
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:42 PM  
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And some of it's bad advice, unfortunately. Sorry.

Revision A:
The National Electric Code has rules for providing earth grounds to outlets, some rather restrictive. I don't think you are allowed to attach to the nearest cold water pipe, for instance.
are there any other simple ways to get a good ground for even one outlet untill i can get the whole house rewired in the next 2 years?

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If you only want one outlet grounded it would good if it is near the circuit breaker panel ["load center"] in an unfinished basement because then you will not have to snake new two-wire-with-ground Romex cable inside finished walls.
sadly the room i need a grounded outlet in is on the second floor and the panel box is in the basement.

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If you provide more details and photos for your particular case, someone well-versed in whatever edition of the Code that is used in your area can maybe help you.
anything in particular i should take photos of?

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You should also be aware that in some cases three-light outlet testers will lead you astray.
they come in handy though. when they have shown everything was correct i've never had a problem, when they show there is something wrong it gives me a heads up to try another outlet or pull the outlet to check before wasting time lugging a 70lb amp around.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:43 PM  
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When you rewire, you will be installing a ground plate or ground rods, why not install one now and run a ground to that outlet, just temp up the side of the building.

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Old 12-16-2013, 10:56 PM  
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Listen to Brandon ... 'Needs a temporary fix ... will rewire completely eventually ... does not have a lot of electrical experience.'

Keep it simple and responsive to Brandon's needs. Neal's idea is the most helpful and practical. A ground rod on the outside connected to the upstairs outlet would do the job until he can get a rewire.

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Old 12-16-2013, 11:50 PM  
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When you rewire, you will be installing a ground plate or ground rods, why not install one now and run a ground to that outlet, just temp up the side of the building.
i believe i already have one ground rod on the opposite side of the house. there is definatly some sort of "stake" in the ground a few inches from the foundation with a section of some sort of wire connecting it to the house. not sure if thats what your talking about but its the first thing i thought of when reading your post.

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Listen to Brandon ... 'Needs a temporary fix ... will rewire completely eventually ... does not have a lot of electrical experience.'
we hope to have the rewire done within 2 years. we really want to do it now but need to have a metal roof put on as our main project of 2014. there is nothing but baseball fields behind my house for a few hundred yards to break the wind that comes out of the hills so once a month or every other month we have to pay someone to go up and replace patches of shingles that are blown off. its bleeding us dry between paying someone to keep going up and the damage to the second floor ceilings where it comes through the attic floor.

I will investigate more tomorow and see if i can find where the ground rod hooks and runs and see if i can find an easy way to run wire from the basement to attic to drop into the room. according to the outlet tester half the 1st floor is wired correctly with ground but none on the second floor have ground.

allot of the plumbing (damn near all) is copper so if all else fails that may be the easiest.

any special requests for what to take photos of to help you all help me?
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:01 AM  
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In older houses you can usually find a clear path beside the plumbing stack from the attic to the basement. If you find that opening, close it up at each floor too. It's a great way for a fire to get from a basement to the attic so any path like that should be closed.

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Old 12-17-2013, 07:57 AM  
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A ground rod is not the solution. The ground wire needs to go back to the panel. where the neutral and ground are bonded.



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