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  1. #1
    Robert Tom's Avatar
    Robert Tom Guest

    Default no grounded outlets

    Hi,

    I have an older house, 1955, and none of the wiring is grounded. However, there are new GFCI outlets near all of the sinks and water supplies.

    Questions:

    Are GFCI outlets at water sources sufficient or do the outlets also have to be grounded to be up to code?

    If they are not grounded, will the GFCI work correctly?

    Will FHA finance a house that is not grounded but does have the GFCI outlets at water sources?

    Thank you in advance.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: no grounded outlets

    Open grounded GFCI protected 2 prong receptacles (outlets) are allowed, and function just fine without a ground.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: no grounded outlets

    There should be a label at each such outlet serving notice of "no equipment ground." The labels come with the GFCI devices.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  4. #4
    Mitchell Toelle's Avatar
    Mitchell Toelle Guest

    Default Re: no grounded outlets

    I will echo Brandon and Jim, however, it is always best to have a ground at those outlets. Let me add that most surge protectors (you know, where you plug you electronics into for equipment protection) will not work as protection unless connected to a properly grounded outlet. Additionally, that neat warrantee that the surge manufacturer provides is void if not connected to grounded outlet.

    Just so you know, your electronics will not be protected until you make those changes.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: no grounded outlets

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tom View Post
    Hi, I have an older house, 1955, and none of the wiring is grounded. However, there are new GFCI outlets near all of the sinks and water supplies.
    Questions:
    Are GFCI outlets at water sources sufficient or do the outlets also have to be grounded to be up to code?
    If they are not grounded, will the GFCI work correctly?
    Will FHA finance a house that is not grounded but does have the GFCI outlets at water sources?
    Thank you in advance.
    Robert,

    I would add one thing. Many of the small household electrical appliances (table lamps, most vacuums, etc.) today have two-prong plugs. As such, they will not use the grounding conductor and adding grounds to the bedrooms, living room and dining room may not be necessary. However; major appliances, such as refrigerators, laundry appliances, microwave ovens, dishwashers, computers and even some of the newer A/V electronics require grounded receptacle outlets. As a result, I recommend upgrading any of these areas with grounded receptacle outlets. Otherwise, homeowners will either plug in an adapter or replace the older 2-prong outlet with an ungrounded 3-prong outlet. Neither of which is a good idea.

    CREIA CCI & Evil Genius
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  6. #6
    Robert Tom's Avatar
    Robert Tom Guest

    Default Re: no grounded outlets

    Thank you everyone for your excellent feedback. This is a great forum!!

    The kitchen and laundry room wiring and receptacles have all been upgraded and are grounded. So all of the major appliances are grounded.

    None of the other receptacles in the house are grounded but as I mentioned the ones in the bathrooms have new (3 prong) GFCI receptacles. Per the responses to my question it sounds like this is within code, is that correct? I don't think I mentioned previously that these were 3 prong ungrounded GFCI receptacles.

    What has to be done to ground the receptacles? Does this require a complete re-wiring job for those receptacles or can they be "adapted" somehow?

    Thanks again for your help!!

    Last edited by Robert Tom; 09-03-2009 at 10:38 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: no grounded outlets

    "...it sounds like this is within code, is that correct? "

    If...
    The GFCI is ungrounded, it, and all 3 prong outlets it protects must be labled " NO EQUIPMENT GROUND".

    3 proung outlets NOT protected by GFCI are in violation and are not safe.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: no grounded outlets

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tom View Post
    What has to be done to ground the receptacles? Does this require a complete re-wiring job for those receptacles or can they be "adapted" somehow?

    Thanks again for your help!!
    Yes, new wire with a grounding conductor(wire) needs to be run to each outlet then the proper connections made in the panel to accommodate the new wire/grounds. No, you can not properly make an ungrounded circuit grounded without the addition of a ground wire that is properly connected at the outlet and in the panel.

    With a 50 year old+ electrical system it would be a good idea to also change the panel & breakers when the new wire is run to the outlets. At 50 years of age, that electrical system has had a good life but is also at the end of its expected life.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: no grounded outlets

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tom View Post
    The kitchen and laundry room wiring and receptacles have all been upgraded and are grounded. So all of the major appliances are grounded.
    Robert,

    My primary question would be: Are they properly grounded? There are probably 4 primary ways to provide grounding for receptacle outlets.

    One is to leave the original cable and run an independent equipment grounding conductor (grounding wire) from a receptacle outlet (or outlets) back to the service equipment panel (main panel) and then to a grounding electrode (ground rod). I have seen this installation a few times and it is accepted in my area by the local building officials, but I have been told on this forum that it is probably not acceptable by code.

    Another way is to shunt between the neutral and ground on the outlet itself. This will simulate a ground, but is an improper method and should be corrected as it does not provide the necessary protection provided by a ground.

    Yet another way is to run a ground wire to a metal water pipe. However, this depends on the pipe's contact with the earth and may not provide a proper ground. Once again, a grounding conductor should go back to the service panel.

    The only sure way to provide a ground to an outlet or outlets is to do what Scott said and run new nonmetallic sheathed cable that has an integral grounding conductor back to the panel and a ground rod.

    Which of these methods was used to provide grounding to the kitchen and laundry? The only way to tell would be to look at these particular receptacle outlets to see what kind of wire/cable has been used. The cable can be traced/followed through the attic or foundation area back to the panel.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tom View Post
    None of the other receptacles in the house are grounded but as I mentioned the ones in the bathrooms have new (3 prong) GFCI receptacles. Per the responses to my question it sounds like this is within code, is that correct?
    Yes, as noted before, GFCI devices are approved for installation in a non-grounded electrical system. They are required to have stickers that label them as non-grounded, but the lack of a sticker does not alter the function of the device.

    CREIA CCI & Evil Genius
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  10. #10
    Robert Tom's Avatar
    Robert Tom Guest

    Default Re: no grounded outlets

    Thanks for the comments. they make sense.

    We recently remodeled the kitchen so the wiring in the kitchen and laundry was replaced with new grounded wires to the electrical panel. The washer, microwave, dishwasher and disposal are each on new independent circuits, which were added to the panel. The counter top receptacles also have new wiring and are GFCI.

    We did not re-wire the bathrooms so they still have the original ungrounded wiring, although we replaced the receptacles with 3 prong GFCI.

    I think our kitchen and laundry have been updated correctly and that GFCI receptacles in the bathrooms will provide shock protection and will be okay (although any 3 prong devices will not have surge protection).

    thanks again for everyone's comments, they have been very helpful.

    BTW - are any of you in the Los Angeles South Bay area? I buy properties to rehab so it would be nice to have a good inspector to work with when we are planning and making our repairs.

    Last edited by Robert Tom; 09-04-2009 at 08:48 AM.

  11. #11
    John Arnold's Avatar
    John Arnold is offline Member
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    Default Re: no grounded outlets

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    ...
    Yet another way is to run a ground wire to a metal water pipe. However, this depends on the pipe's contact with the earth...
    If by "earth" you literally mean soil, that is not going to provide a low impedance path back to the source (usually the transformer) such that an overcurrent device will trip with a ground fault. If the pipe is bonded to the ground at the panel, then it would probably work, but the pipe shouldn't be used as an equipment grounding conductor anyway.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  12. #12
    Sean Wiens's Avatar
    Sean Wiens Guest

    Default Re: no grounded outlets

    Have you actually tested the GFCI devices with the built in test button and with a tester?


  13. #13
    Robert Tom's Avatar
    Robert Tom Guest

    Default Re: no grounded outlets

    Yes, the GFCI have been tested with the built-in tester and my GC tested them with his tester and they all work. Of course, the ones in the bathroom do not register a ground since they are not grounded.

    thanks


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