GFCI / Ground Question

Old 07-07-04, 10:36 AM
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Question GFCI / Ground Question

I am in the process of selling a home and the buyer had an inspection done which indicated that the outlets tested were not grounded The house is over 40 years old and at some point the outlets (2 prong) were replaced w/ 3 prong. The buyer proceeded to conuslt an electrician who said to bring it up to code, the outlets throughout the house could be replaced with GFCI outlest. Please note that the bathrooms and kitchen already are protected w/ GFCI.

Q1: Is it a safety concern that the outlets aren't grounded and is this normal for an older home?

Q2: Does replacing the standard outlet with GFCI satisfy code?

Q3: Wouldn't you only have to replace one per circuit as opposed to all as suggested by the electrician?

Any thoughts on resolving this would be appreciated.
Old 07-07-04, 11:00 AM
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It would not be reasonable to add grounding to a home this old just for a sale, so be glad nobody is asking you to. The new buyer can add grounding where he wants it if he needs it. Most people add grounding because they have a computer.

However, it is reasonable to ask that this very clear electrical code violation be corrected.

There are two options to correct the code violation:
  1. Replace all the three-hole receptacles with two-hole receptacles. They are harder to find, but still available.
  2. Protect each 3-hole receptacle with GFCI. Although this can usually be done with just one GFCI per circuit, it depends on how the cabling is routed. In some cases, it could take more than one.
It is unlikely that you'll get out of doing one of these two things (without offering the buyer a price concession, which is always an option).
Old 07-07-04, 11:02 AM
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1. It is not a safety concern that the outlets are not grounded, if two prong outlets are installed. It IS a concern if ungrounded three prong outlets are installed and no GFCI protection is provided. I should add that it is not a safety concern as long as the appliances used do not require a ground. Using a three to two converter would be a safety concern.

2. Yes, using a GFCI outlet or in some other manner GFCI protecting the three prong outlets is within code, as long as the outlets are marked "No Equipment Ground".

3. You would only need one GFCI outlet per circuit if you provided the GFCI protection at the first outlet, and wired the others to the load side of the GFCI. However, this is not always practical or advisable.

From a time standpoint, it would be quickest to provide GFCI protection by using a GFCI receptacle outlet as the first on the circuit and providing pass through protection to all downstream outlets. However, that may or may not be the cheapest or most appropriate solution.

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