Grounding problem...

Old 03-10-03, 05:26 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Question Grounding problem...

I live in an older home with both newer and older wiring. I used a receptacle analyzer on the outlets (newer three prong) on my first floor and basement, and was surprised to find each of them read "not grounded" . After reading through a Home Depot electrical book I looked for a grounding wire on the service panel and it does appear to be grounded to a pipe in the basement. Where can I start troubleshooting - I don't know if the problem is with the outlets, the wiring or the service panel ?

Old 03-10-03, 05:35 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 17,733
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
First of all, it is important to note that the grounding wire from your panel to the plumbing is a completely independent grounding system than the grounding of your receptacles. These two systems have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Now, you may not have a problem. You may just have ungrounded receptacles. Millions of homes have ungrounded receptacles.

If these ungrounded three-hole receptacles are not GFCI protected, then this is a code violation. The only solution is to run a grounding wire from the receptacles to the panel.

However, you also may indeed have a real problem, if these receptacles were once grounded and the grounding connection became disconnected. The key question is whether or not these receptacles were ever grounded. Is the wiring in conduit? Is there a grounding wire in the outlet box? If you know how to do so safely, you can check to see if there are any grounding wires in your panel. If you have no conduit, and there are no grounding wires in the panel, then these receptacles have never been grounded.
Old 03-11-03, 06:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 475
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
It's very possible that whoever owned your home before you, changed out all the 2-hole receptacles to 3-hole receptacles. If the cables in your boxes only have 2 conductors (black / white) then that is indeed the case. If this was done correctly, they should have installed a GFI receptacle at the first receptacle location on the circuit and protected all downstream receptacles from the "load" screws on the GFI. You would still not read a ground on the circuit receptacles, but the GFI would protect against a shock hazard from anything plugged into the receptacles. Check to see if you have any GFI receptacles installed in odd places (not in kitchen / bathroom / outdoors) and if so, push the test button and see if you de-energize the receptacles that measured an open ground. If you don't have any GFI receptacles protecting the open ground receptacles, then you need to ascertain which is the first receptacle on the circuit and install a GFI there.

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