Outlet Grounding Question

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  #1  
Old 02-17-05, 03:52 PM
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Outlet Grounding Question

I'm in the process of selling my home, and the buyer's inspector says the outlets in my downstairs room are not grounded. I pulled the outlets and they all have grounding wires attached, and I even plugged a receptacle analyzer in them and I'm getting the two yellow lights, indicated the outlets are correctly wired. The inspector came back out and said that his analyzer, identical to mine, also shows they are wired correctly, but his more sophisticated "other" analyzer says they aren't. How can this be, and where do I go from here? He says all the other outlets in the house are fine.
 
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  #2  
Old 02-17-05, 04:35 PM
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It sounds like the inspector is full of it.

However, answer some questions first. How old is the house? Do you have circuit breakers or fuses? Is this downstairs room new or recently redone?
 
  #3  
Old 02-17-05, 04:43 PM
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The house was built in 1988. I have a 100-amp circuit breaker panel, and the room in question is not new or recently redone. In fact, I am a musician and I have a ton of signal processing and recording equipment in this room, and I have never had a, electrical problem down there in the 6 years I've been here. I'm just not sure where to proceed from here. I'd hate to pay an electrician to come in and just say, "It's fine". I just don't understand why his "more sophisticated" analyzer says it's not grounded, but the regular ones say it is. An electrical circuit is either completely grounded, or completely NOT grounded, right?
 
  #4  
Old 02-17-05, 04:52 PM
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I think the home inspector is off his rocker. A house built in 1988 will have properly grounded receptacles everywhere, assuming proper wiring was done in the beginning.

If the buyers are making a big deal out of this then you may not have a choice but to bring in an electrician.

However, I think you should get your lawyer involved. Perhaps you can work out a deal. Have the buyers reimburse you for the electrician when he proves their home inspector is wrong and they get their money back from him.

To answer your question, a ground is not always a ground. A tester may show a ground when an improper one exists. Several examples of an improper ground are someone attaching the neutral wire to the ground (in addition to the neutral) at the receptacle and someone adding a ground wire attached to a conveniently located water pipe. Both will show grounded but both are against code and dangerous.
 
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Old 02-17-05, 09:45 PM
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Remember that everything is negotiable when selling a home. And how much you negotiate depends on how much you want to keep this buyer, or how easily it will be to find another buyer. The situation you find yourself in is common to almost every home sale. The buyer's inspector finds something "wrong" that the seller doesn't think is wrong. In most cases, the seller gets mad for a while and then figures out that he's better off buckling. I see the following options:

(1) Call an electrician (cheaper than a lawyer) and get him to put in writing that the receptacles are properly grounded.
(2) Tell the buyer that your tester shows it's okay, so take it or leave it.
(3) Ask the buyer to pay for an electrician to inspect the receptacles. If the electrician finds something wrong, you'll not only pay for the electrician but pay for the repairs too.

Remember, everything is negotiable. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. But don't cut off your nose to spite yourself.
 
  #6  
Old 02-18-05, 04:32 AM
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Hmmm... I love these Home Inspectors....in VA for example they can get a license to be called Certified....yet nothing can stop them from just saying they are " Accredited " or " Approved " and so on to get around the new regional laws and so on.

My point is you would not be surprised how many inspectors know so little about Electricity...and more about Plumbing and so on...

If you have a tester ( which are reliable today...even the cheap ones ) and it shows it is grounded correctly.....I would simply state that to the people who are buying the house and let them decide......I think the Inspector is trying to do a good job and protect his client but he also stated the normal tester shows being grounded.....and a good inspector SHOULD be able to explain WHY it is not grounded and even suggest a fix...I know when we do electrical consultations we do this even if we are not fixing the problem...lol

Also....Suggestion....COPY all these posts and give it to the potential home owner to see what is being said about it.....you might be surprised since most of us here posting are Electricians and Master Electricians...
 
  #7  
Old 02-18-05, 05:39 PM
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Thanks for all your suggestions and input. My broker mentioned to me yesterday that apparantly the inspector doesn't know why one analyzer doesn't agree with the other. I even disconnected the ground and sure enough, my analyzer indicated "NO GROUND", then I re-connected it and it then indicated the wiring was "CORRECT."
 
  #8  
Old 02-18-05, 06:20 PM
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1988!?!
Tell this wannabee contractor to go find a cracked foundation, broken furnace, sagging floor, flooded basement, or something else major and stop playing around with little things in what I would consider a relatively new home.

Does the house have a C of O? If so, anything that was code then should be fine now unless something is physically broken.

I think with newer homes they have to find something, anything, to justify their existence. I loathe the fact that people bring in these inspectors and he picks the place apart as if you MUST sell them a flawless house. Isn't the house "used"? Why do these inspectors try to make folks fix every little detail to make an old house like new and up to modern codes? They are there to find major structural/physical problems. Not the fact that there is no GFI in the bathroom of a 75 year old house (for example).

Unless he can show you this "more sophisticated" tester's results, tell him to go scratch. Your plug in tester is fine for this test.
 
  #9  
Old 02-18-05, 06:26 PM
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Yeah, it really speaks to me problem with an inspector who is hired by one party and isn't neutral. He HAS to find something to justify being hired. I think that if the outlets in fact AREN'T grounded, it's a pretty legit thing to mention to the prospective buyer, I'm just put out by this, "one tester says this but another says this." and also not offering a possible source of the problem. Anyway, I have a call in to my electrician who is going to advise me. I'm assuming it can't be a major deal. My attitude with selling this house is it's my first house I've sold, and I want to do what's right, act in good faith, and leave it in appropriate condition, but this is trying my patience!
 
  #10  
Old 02-18-05, 07:59 PM
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One exception is, if his tester is checking the ground under load.
may be you have a lose or weak ground. not an open ground.

You need to find out the name and model number of his tester.
 
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