[Solved!] How to Know is a Metal Outlet Box Grounded?


is a metal outlet box grounded

The importance of a metal outlet box is impeccable. Electronic appliances need it to operate without any electrical issues.

Knowing about the grounding of a metal outlet box is unavoidable. Ever thought this?             

So, is a metal outlet box grounded?   

Yes, a metal outlet box is grounded to ensure safe and smooth electricity flow. You can find it out by checking continuity, ground wire, using a magnet, breaker box, grounding rod and in many more way.

Want to know in details? Fortunately, you’ve reached the perfect place. We here to assist you to find out if the metal outlet box is grounded or not.

So, follow us to the end to feed your curiosity,      

How to Know if a Metal Outlet Box is Grounded or Not? 

To ensure safety, we should know if a metal outlet box is grounded or not. Some methods are quite effective to complete this query. Knowing them beforehand would solve the problems in go.

Move down to the best part.

1. Continuity Inspection  

You need a circuit tester to go with this method. Set the tester prongs in touch with a wire of the metal outlet box.

If the box is grounded, the tester will make a ‘beep’ sound. And that’s your clue.    

2. Check for Ground Wire

Checking the ground wire can help you to find out about the metal outlet box. As the ground wire is used while grounding the box, this can be a good technique.

See any wire around it?  Then, you’re lucky – the metal outlet box is grounded. In case the wire is absent, the box needs it badly.      

3. Use a Magnet

Collect a powerful magnet to use this method. Place the magnet at the last or closing part of the electrical box. It should be the open part.

If the magnet remains sticky to the box, your metal outlet box is grounded. Otherwise, be ready to ground it buddy.

4. Breaker Box

Go through the breaker box of electricity and its wires. Most of the time, your answer will be lurking there.

When there is a wire preset connected to the outlet box, the box is grounded. Inevitably, no wire is the sign of ungrounded metal box.      

5. Non-Contact Voltage Tester  

This method is a bit risky as we can not usually get in touch with a non-contact voltage tester. Therefore, we suggest to be careful and check the wires thoroughly before applying this,

In case you want to apply this watch the tester. Does it catch electricity? Then it is grounded.  

6. Inspect Sub Panel

In case you have a sub panel in your house, you can inspect it to know the situation.

If the metal outlet box is grounded, there will be wires connected to the sub-panel.        

7. Apply Buzzing Method

The buzzing method needs any electrical devices. Place the device in touch or close to the metal outlet box wire. Keep your fingers on the device to see if it is buzzing.

Your metal outlet box is grounded if the device makes a buzzing sound. However, if it do not buzz, you know what should be done, right?           

8. Check the Grounding Rod

If you have a grounding rod placed in your house, check if it has a wire from the metal outlet box. If the wire is connected, the box is grounded.  

Otherwise, ground it without delay.  Don’t risk it friend.         

Process of Metal Outlet Box Ground Wire

Wiring a metal outlet box is different from plastic boxes. Though the work is simple, some people get stuck while doing so.  A technical guide would be great to solve their problems.

So, how do you wire a metal outlet box on the ground? 

The process begins with checking the electricity with a circuit tester. When done,  prepare the wire and connect the wire to the circuit box. Finally set the outlet box to get over this.

If you find this overview helpful, you’re welcome to jump to the below mentioned segment. Let’s go for it.

Step 1: Check the Electricity with a Circuit Tester 

First, you need to switch off the electricity. Turning off the whole power supply of the house will avoid any risk.

Then take a circuit tester and touch the metal outlet box wires with it. When the tester shows no power, you can proceed to the next step.       

Step 2: Prepare the Wire

Take a wire cutter and a stripper. Cut the scrap wire not more than 8 to 9 inches long. Then strip the ends of it up to 4 inches. 

You may find the strip size written on the device you are wiring in a metal outlet box. Follow that to prevent silly folly.  

Step 3: Wire Connection

Take the pigtail to loop the prepared wire. Take needle-nose pliers to loop the wire. Don’t forget to do it in a clockwise direction.

Make it a tight connection and avoid any force push-in.       

Step 4: Connect to the Circuit Wire 

While connecting to the circuit wire in a metal outlet box, you need to follow the green grounding screw. It is the one that is already connected to the pigtail.

Look for the threaded screw in the back of the outlet box. When found, connect the green grounding screw there. It is also connected with the pigtail wire.           

Step 5: Set the Outlet Box

Check if the wires are all connected or not. Then place them carefully in the box. Do not let any spare things in the box.

Finally, set the cover plate of the outlet box. Now you need to check the connection by switching on the electricity.   

Safety Tips to Follow

While inspecting metal outlet box, there are some safety tips to follow. We know this might look not useful at first shot, but believe us, following would help you to major troubles in future.

To keep your family secure, go through this safety tips dear.

1. Switch off the Power

Many of us make this mistake and get harmed by sudden electric shocks. 

Always bear in mind – switching off the power is the first and most important step before checking a metal outlet box. It will save you from unwanted dangers.       

2. Do Not Touch with Hands

Touching the metal parts with bare hands that are located in a metal outlet box can harm you.

So, beware of touching the parts with your hands. Moreover, in the case of electrical terminals, do not even dare to touch them.      

3. Bring Equipments Earlier

After opening a metal outlet box, do not take extra time in bringing the equipment. It is because an open outlet box is not safe. They are NEVER SAFE. 

So, bring the equipment before opening  the box. This equipment includes electrical tape, screws, and anything that you might need.           

4. Remove Spare Things

Some of us may drop any spare things in the metal outlet box. These may invite faults in the box elements such as the cord’s insulation.     

So, remove these things if your metal outlet box has any. Also, be careful not to drop anything in the box.     

5. Inspect it Carefully

Inspecting the metal outlet box carefully is quite necessary. It is because the box can carry sharp edges. These are injurious to the cord’s insulation.

So, from opening the box to placing it back, take care of these edges.   

6. Use Electrical Tape

As we said, sharp edges are a common feature of a metal outlet box. These can cause harm to both the outlet box elements and anyone.

Therefore, get an electrical tape to avoid such edges. The tape will close the edges and there won’t be any risk. Simple!           

What Happens to Energy Flow if a Metal Box is Not Grounded?  

Answer: If a metal box is not grounded, energy flow will be uncontrollable. It means the flow can go anywhere, which is not a good sign. It can lead to malfunction and even cause a fire.         

What if I Have a Non-Grounded Metal Outlet Box? 

Answer: If you have a non-grounded metal outlet box, we suggest you ground it soon. It is because a non-grounded metal outlet box can be fatal for your house. Even fire can be caused by it.   

Is Grounding a Metal Outlet Box Expensive?     

Answer: Grounding a metal outlet box can be expensive depending on some factors. If your house already has a fuse and a circuit box, the cost will go higher. Again, you can reduce the cost, if you have them before.

Can I ground an outlet to a metal box?

Answer: Yes, you can. Most importantly, you should do that to keep the metal box safe from sudden power surges or high voltage power flow. The grounded outlet will let such power flow to the ground.

Final Thoughts

As you can see how much essential it’s to know the metal outlet box is grounded or not. This simple information can save lives.

We hope this bites of knowledge would help to remain safe and work as an instruction to follow safety guidance around the metal outlet box. If you find this helpful, don’t forget to share with us. We would love to your experience.

That’s it for today guys. See you again with something new. Have a good day till then.            

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Dale Carnegie

Hey! This is Dale Carnegie. I am a professional and expert in electrical work. From teenage till now, I found myself fascinated with the nitty-gritty installation and electrical works at home. Eventually, this led me to share about my journey and solve your electrical task of installing and maintaining power systems. With my experience and practice, I can guarantee you will get the best advice here. Stay tuned for more latest updates and sneak peeks of any electrical solutions for your home.

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