How to Ground a 2-Prong Receptacle


Many older homes and apartment buildings do not have three-prong receptacles. Unfortunately for the residents of these dwellings, many appliances and electronic devices have plugs with three-prongs. You may have to install a ground so you can use newer electronics. Replacing your two-prong outlets with a ground receptacle is a simple DIY project. With minimal effort and at low cost a homeowner can easily remove the current outlet and change it to a three-prong design.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire strippers
  • Receptacles
  • Receptacle plates
  • Green wire size 12
  • Electrical tape
  • Green ground screws
  • Locate the circuit breaker that controls the receptacle you need to replace in your electrical panel. Turn off the breaker. Place a small piece of electrical tape over the breaker as a safety precaution so no one turns the breaker back on while you are working.

  • Remove the plate for the receptacle with a screwdriver and place to the side. Carefully remove the receptacle from its box by unscrewing the mounting screws. There will be a set of screws on the receptacle that hold the wires in place. Unscrew those screws to separate the wires from the outlet.

  • Move the wires out of the way enough so you can locate a green screw in the back of the box the receptacle sits in. If there is no screw you will need to install a green ground screw in the back of the box in an empty hole.

  • Take a piece of green ground wire and use the wire strippers to strip one end. Hook the stripped end around the green screw in the box. Tighten the screw to hold the wire in place.

  • Strip the other end of the wire with the wire strippers. Bend the wire so that it creates a hook shape; this makes it easier to connect to your new receptacle.

  • Connect the white wires in the box to the silver screw on the back of your new receptacle and tighten the screw to keep them in place. Connect the black wires to the gold screw on the back of the outlet and tighten them in place.

  • Cover the screws with electrical tape to protect the box. Insert the receptacle back into the box and tighten the mounting screws. Screw the outlet plate back into place. Turn the breaker back on. You are now ready to use the new outlet.

Tips & Warnings

  • An easy way to identify the correct circuit breaker is to plug a lamp into the outlet.
  • Always shut the power off before doing any electrical project.

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