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Do receptacle outlets have to be grounded?
Sunday, March 8, 2020
Receptacle outlets have been required to be the grounded, three-slot type since the 1962 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). So any new or replacement receptacle must be three-slot and a have a connection to ground from the round slot at the face, with the following exceptions for replacement of an older two-slot receptacle on a two-wire circuit (no ground available):
1) A non-grounding receptacle can be replaced with another non-grounding type (two-slot) receptacle.
2) A non-grounding receptacle can be replaced with a GFCI receptacle (three-slot), provided that a “NO EQUIPMENT GROUND” sticker is attached to the face plate.
3) A non-grounding receptacle can be replaced with a grounding type receptacle (three-slot), where the circuit is GFCI-protected at another location, such as a GFCI breaker in the panel or a GFCI receptacle upstream in the circuit. There must be a “NO EQUIPMENT GROUND” and a “GFCI PROTECTED” sticker attached to the face plate.
All of this is per NEC 406.4(D)(2). Also, see our blog posts Is an ungrounded electric receptacle outlet dangerous? and How do you test for GFCI protection at an ungrounded receptacle outlet? and Is there an adapter that can be placed on a two-slot receptacle to make it safe? and What is a false ground, bootleg ground, or cheated ground receptacle?
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To learn more about electrical wiring, devices, and receptacles, see these other blog posts:
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