connecting groundwires to nuetral


Old 10-06-05, 08:54 AM
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connecting groundwires to nuetral

I purchased an older home in a rural area that extensivley uses two wire romex without metal raceways. when installing outlets I was told to ground the outlets to the (white) nuetral. is this a good, bad or acceptable practice?

Last edited by toctoc46; 10-06-05 at 08:55 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 10-06-05, 08:59 AM
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That is not only illegal, it is dangerous. With that scenario the grounds will become energized. If you have to replace the receptacles, you can install GFCI's and use the NO GROUND CONNECTED stickers. This is not recommended for computers and the like, which require a ground. In those situations, it is prefered to run a new grounded circuit to power those devices. Otherwise you can still install 2 prong receptacles.
Old 10-06-05, 09:03 AM
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That is a bad and unsafe practice. You should either install 2 prong receptacles or install ungrounded three prong receptacles with GFCI protection.
Old 10-06-05, 09:04 AM
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Do not under any circumstances connect the ground to the white wire. Whoever told you this should be run out of town.

You have several options. The easiest is to install two prong ungrounded receptacles.

Second you can install GFCI receptacles and mark them and any three prong receptacles they protect as "No equipment ground". Do not use this for computers, surge suppressors or anything else that needs a ground to function properly.

Third, you can add a ground wire to ground the receptacles. This ground wire must be the correct size (12 or 14 gage) and run back to the main panel.

Finally, you can rewire the circuits with new NM cable so they are properly grounded.
Old 10-07-05, 07:09 PM
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This might be a little off subject, but have any of you ever gotten a red tag for not putting the "GFCI Protected Outlet" sticker on a GFCI outlet?
Old 10-07-05, 07:57 PM
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I feel kind of dumb asking but........

I understand how a GCI works, so I am sure I am just overlooking something here, but how can a GFCI offer any protection if you have no ground running to it from you main panel? I understand that if you drop a radio in a bathtub it could still work in theory as the hot and neutral current is not balanced, but how is it any kind of substitue for no ground from the box?
Old 10-07-05, 08:56 PM
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To answer the L.Ps question the GFCI will still open the circuit in th event of a ground fault even if the circuit has no equipment grounding conductor
Old 10-07-05, 10:10 PM
Join Date: May 2005
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Ampz -

First of all would you care to explain what L.P. means? I'm sure I know the answer but I would like to hear it from you.

Secondly, you ddn't answer the question - you only repeated what I had stated that I thought to be the case.

My question was this - how can an ungrounded GFCI outlet work as any type of substitue for a properly grounded outlet? I know it is not the same as a properly grounded outlet, but apparently it is at least an alternative.
Old 10-08-05, 04:36 AM
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The GFCI compares the current flowing to the load with the current coming from the load. It should be equal. If it sees a difference it assumes a ground fault and opens the circuit. As little as .06 amps will trip the GFCI. So the GFCI dosen't need the ground wire to work.
The ground is there to protect the system from shorts and/or ground faults but needs a much higher current to work.
The GFCI is there to protect from a "low grade" ground fault that will not be picked up by the grounding system. Remember electric will take all paths to get back to the source. If a person reduces there resistance (for exmple using a faulty blow dryer on awet floor with wet hands) part of the current can flow through them, enough to give a shock. The GFCI is there to protect this type of fault. The GFCI will also protect an appliance that doesn't have a ground any appliance that has a two prong plug toaster, hair dryer for example.
As for you example, your right, the radio in the tub would not trip the GFCI (current in = current out) but it would trip the breaker, short circuit, but not fast enough to save the bather I think.
Your right having a grounded circuit is better, but a GFCI is better then nothing.

Last edited by ollie; 10-08-05 at 05:42 AM.
Old 10-08-05, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by toctoc46
...when installing outlets I was told to ground the outlets to the (white) nuetral..
Another case of the infamous (and many times dangerous) .. "I was told...."
Old 10-08-05, 04:50 PM
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Sorry I wasnt descriptive enough it was long day A ground fault can come other forms not just a radio dropped in the tub. If your so sure ...........never mind, Last Post===========L.P Thanks for picking up the technical Ollie.

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