open ground

Old 10-04-02, 05:44 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
open ground

I am in the process of selling my house and during the township's inspection, I was cited for open ground problems at several wall receptacles.
My house is around 60 years old and the wiring is the old fabric covered rubber coated two wire type and the receptacles in question are contemporary style two prong and u shaped ground type double receptacle.

Will installing a small ground wire from the green screw on the receptacle to the metal wall box it is mounted in alleviate the problem? I recently converted from 60 amp screw in fuse to 100 amp circuit breaker service, if that is any help
Also, the two wires are both silver in color and the fabric covering as well as the rubber coating is black. How do I tell which is "hot"? ( no wise cracks, please)

Thanks for the help, please respond as soon as possible.
Old 10-04-02, 06:54 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
You have two choices here:

1. Replace those three prong receptacles with two prong receptacles!
2. Replace those three prong receptacles with a GFCI receptacle and this receptacle and all that it may feed downstream shall be marked with "GFI Protected ,No Equipment Ground". A grounding conductor shall not be connected from the gfi receptacle to any receptacle it serves.
The other things that you can do involve the cumbersome process of running a separate grounding conductor to each receptacle from a true grounding source.
Simplest cheapest thing you can do is to replace the existing with two prong receptacles.
If I were you though, since the township has issued a citation in regard to this matter, I would contact the inspector and ask him which method of replacement he will accept. He is the "authority having jurisdiction" and may very well want the gfi receptacles installed. Keep in mind that gfi receptacles and the receptacles they protect do not need to have any gounding means to work correctly.
Good Luck!!!
Old 10-04-02, 07:35 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 17,733
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
You asked if installing a small ground wire from the green screw on the receptacle to the metal wall box it is mounted in alleviate the problem. The answer is maybe. Buy a $7 receptacle tester. Plug it in to one of the cited receptacles. If the instpection was correct, it will indicate open ground. Now shut off the breaker/fuse and run a wire from the receptacle to the box (home centers sell a small package of green wires for exactly this purpose). Turn on the breaker/fuse and repeat the test. If the open ground is now gone, then you can just do this with the other receptacles.

If this test fails, then you can implement either of the two solutions that Sparksone42 suggested.

The easiest way to tell which of the two wires is hot is with a $15-20 "tick" tester. This device, which looks like a fat writing pen, is also available at home centers.
Old 10-07-02, 04:56 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the suggestions.
I've tried the wire to the box scenario, but the open ground indication on the receptacle is still there.
What I don't understand is why would these three outlets indicate an open ground but other receptacles on the same circuit read O.K.?
I will do the right thing as far as inspection issues go, but the previous suggestion of running an individual ground to the offending receptacles involves going into the attic. Due to my putting down insulation blankets when we moved in, that isn't going to work and we simply do not have anything in the budget for hiring a professional electrician. What smokes my onions is that this situation has been there from day one in my opinion, but was overlooked by the previous inspection when we moved in 14 years ago. I would like any additional help you may give, otherwise I will just purchase the GFCI receptacles as suggested. I may be wrong, but I don't believe the township will allow me to put back two prong receptacles, they may think I'm trying to hide something

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: