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Old 04-14-2008, 11:47 PM   #1
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Default Knob and tube and 3-prong outlets!!

Hi all. This has probably been asked before, but I couldn't find a clear answer, so here goes. I have a customer whose house is knob and tube (1920's vintage). By the way, this job is in Ontario, where I'm from. They want to upgrade the receptacles to 3-prong, but, obviously, there's no ground in the boxes. Can i replace the breakers feeding these receptacles with GFCI's, or do I have to re-wire? The house is plaster construction, with very limited access anywhere, so I'm looking for the least destructive method. I know this sounds like a simple question, but the majority of my experience is Industrial/Automation, not residential, so I'm not really sure. Any help would be appreciated. I have found some good answers here recently. Thanks to all in advance.

wirehead

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Old 04-15-2008, 04:37 AM   #2
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I don't know squat about Canadian codes except that they are somewhat similar to the NEC, so I will help you as if you were across the Ambassador Bridge. Here, you could install gfi protection for the receptacle outlets, and you must label the plate with "gfi protected outlet" and "no equipment ground" (I use the stickers from the box for this). Or you could run a separate ground conductor to one of several places, but not to any water pipe as in the past was allowed. (250.30 (C)) . So your equipment grounding busbar, or your service disconect ground/neutral busbar, or any point on the GEC. The size of the wire is determined from table 250-66 for the size of the overcurrent protective device of the circuit, but not less than 14 guage in any case. I used to never run that wire, and opted only for total replacement of any knob and tube wiring, now I make a few exceptions. I've done both the gfi and the added grounding wire options in the last year or so. They meet code. Its all Romex Racer's fault....

Now my question- Is Belle River still as beautiful as it was when I was just a kid on my dad's Cris Craft going up there a couple of times every summer?

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Old 04-15-2008, 09:08 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply mac. Yeah, it's still as nice, if not just a little bit busier now. There's alot more houses, and more people coming out to the marina. I'm still not sure which method I'm going to use. the panel is an old ITE with BL breakers...a plain old 15A costs $60 new, and a used one is $26, so I can only imagine what a GFI breaker will cost for that panel. the customer had hinted that they might want to change out the panel, so now might be a good time to go that route, and install a new siemens panel.

Thanks again,

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Old 04-15-2008, 01:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Thanks for the reply mac. Yeah, it's still as nice, if not just a little bit busier now. There's alot more houses, and more people coming out to the marina. I'm still not sure which method I'm going to use. the panel is an old ITE with BL breakers...a plain old 15A costs $60 new, and a used one is $26, so I can only imagine what a GFI breaker will cost for that panel. the customer had hinted that they might want to change out the panel, so now might be a good time to go that route, and install a new siemens panel.

Thanks again,

wirehead
Soooooo why not just put gfi receptacle outlets in the first on the circuit and downstream feed the rest off of them? Not that I want to prevent you from upselling a panel swap, but there is more than one method. By the way, I stand in awe of you industrial machine control electricians.
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:19 PM   #5
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Yeah...i was thinking about that, just wasn't sure if it was OK to do. The panel change was originally mentioned by the customer, after we did some work in the kitchen, so it wasn't REALLY an upsell. As far as the awe thing goes, I thank you. I was lucky enough after I finished college with a diploma in Electronics Engineering Technician, to land a job with local Automation manufacturer, where I served my apprenticeship under the watchful eye of an old Navy electrician. Talk about being made to learn. After 11 years there I made the move to one of the Big 3 Auto makers here in Windsor, and the rest is history.
Thanks again for the input,

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Old 04-15-2008, 05:25 PM   #6
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I think most guys would just change out the outlets to gfci's and leave the panel as is.
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Old 04-17-2008, 05:21 PM   #7
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I think most guys would just change out the outlets to gfci's and leave the panel as is.
Not those of us making a living doing this stuff.

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