What is the NEC on ungrounded outlets


Old 10-08-05, 12:06 AM
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What is the NEC on ungrounded outlets

I have an older home, some of it has been remodeled and it has grounded and ungrounded outlets thru out the house. The baths and kitchen have GFIs and they are grounded. What does the NEC say about having open ground outlets in a home? My house is in contract and the inspector says that the ungrounded outlets need to be corrected. Is this true if they are in rooms other than baths and kitchen? There are only a few outlets that have open grounds the majority are grounded? Is this truly a safety issue or just an "it would be nice to have?"
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Old 10-08-05, 06:18 AM
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Do you have 3prong outlets installed in your house without ground wires present? If so, that is a problem. Since anyone that sees a 3prong outlet assumes its grounded.
Old 10-08-05, 06:21 AM
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This is yet another case of a home inspector strong arming a seller to make corrections NOT required by code or law.
If the home did not have grounded receptacles when it was built, and if the home has a valid C of O, and you have no open building permits, you ARE NOT obliged to do anything more.
Unless this "inspector" can prove that you intentionally installed these ungrounded receptacles after the fact (which I assume you didn't) then tell him to go scratch!

If the buyer wants to do improvements after they buy, they can, just like we ALL did before the days of these moron home inspectors.
I wish they would stick to the job they were created for; finding major flaws in a home not seen by the average buyer. Not telling someone with a 50 year old home that they need to install grounded receptacles.
Old 10-08-05, 06:22 AM
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Unless there is some local code that is different (and I have never heard of any), there is no requirement that a house must be updated to have grounded receptacles. If the inspector is complaining about two prong receptacles then he or she has nothing to back up a statement that they must be "corrected"/

Now if there are ungrounded three prong receptacles, that's that's a different story. Ungrounded three prong receptacles need to be either on a GFCI protected circuit or must be properly grounded.
Old 10-08-05, 07:31 AM
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Ok...I can tell you the inspector was merly saying what they suggest to upgrade the house to a safer state and removing himself for any MISSED liable issue....fact is today they are requried to be grounded and for this reason he made notice.....now the debate can run on if being grounded is actually safer and that would be a good opening to a conversation with Mike Holt....an expert on the subject...

However I do not think the home inspector stated it MUST be done, the Home Inspectors is looked down upon just for stating the obvious....they are not code enforcers and they do not really hold any weight except to the buyer.....much to the sadness of the selling in many cases.

people need to understand HI's are simply giving a observation, it is up to the home owner, buyer or seller to take that information and use it.

You are not required to do anything....the HI's report is only suggestions and observations.....and they do bring electrical contractors some business but for the most part they are generalists.....only making observations...

Should you upgrade to a grounded system....in my opinion sure if you want to and feel safer about it......I would note in any report for liable reasons that the plugs are ungrounded.....HI's get sued alot for things they DONT tell you.......so they will inform you of everything they notice....

Again....many take the HI way to personal.....they are only making general observations....things they are trained to note and not be electricians and which is why they always refer to a specialist on issues...again they are generalists...not specialists.
Old 10-08-05, 07:59 AM
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I think you have a gilded view of HI's Elec Man. At least in my area many are not this way. And some of the direct feedback I have seen on the internet also suggests the opposite.

Many HI's DO think they have authority.
Most buyers DO use their reports to trash a potential seller and their asking price. Even if a house is older and in great shape, but not necessarily up to modern codes.
Most people do not question what they demand. What they say is taken as mandatory, NOT an observation. A quote from the OP:
My house is in contract and the inspector says that the ungrounded outlets need to be corrected.
Sounds like he is telling, not suggesting. He said "need", not "should".

As for your last paragraph: Many I have seen and heard of have NO formal training. And many do fancy themselves to be part electrican, plumber, framer, and HVAC tech.
Old 10-08-05, 08:36 AM
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Well, I think inspectors get paid by the pound of report, so this is to be expected!

However, if in fact someone has installed 3-prong receptacle into a circuit which has no ground wire, I do believe this is a violation. The fix would be to replace the receptacle with either a GFCI properly labeled, or with a 2 prong device. I have heard of cases where an electrical inspector refused to allow this latter step.
Old 10-08-05, 08:54 AM
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Not a HI bashing question

Do I need to do anything to my ungrounded 3 prong outlets to make them NEC complient? So either switch them to 2 prong or GFIs correct? Or is it not a safety issue and what do I tell the buyers?
Old 10-08-05, 09:21 AM
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So they are ungrounded 3-prong receptacles? Not 2-prong?
Yes, this is an issue. This is something that was done after the home was built and was NOT correct.

You can ground the recetpacles, usually not an easy fix if no ground is present. Or...
You can either install a GFI at the beginning of the circuit and label the downstream receptalces "No ground present" and "GFI protected" (both labels included with newer GFI devices), or install 2-prong receptacles. Either is code compliant.
Old 10-08-05, 09:22 AM
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You got it. Replace the UNgrounded 3 prongs with two prong or a GFCI. If you use the GFCI be sure to label the duplex's "No Ground" There should be a little sticker in the box.
As for the buyers. If you replace with two prong recp. tell the them it was to code when the house was built and is safe and OK. If you replace with GFCI tell then how much you spent to making there new house safer
Old 10-08-05, 09:38 AM
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As stated many times previously in this thread, if you have ungrounded 3-prong receptacles you must either change them back to 2 prong receptacles, or to GFCI receptacles and use the "No Ground Connected" stickers. FYI, you might be able to get several receptacles from 1 GFCI receptacle, depending on how your house is wired, but then all downstream receptacles need the stickers.
Old 10-08-05, 01:31 PM
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You guys are also forgetting something. Some banks will insist on a home inspection before they will mortgage the house. If the house fails inspection the bank might not issue..
Old 10-09-05, 12:14 PM
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Much depends upon the type of Wiring Method that was used to inter-connect the outlet-boxes for the 2-slot receptacles. It must be understood that the existence of 2-slot receptacles does not "automaticaly" mean that the Wiring Method does not provide a Grounding path, or more precisely, an Equiptment Grounding Conductor (EGC).To make this determination solely upon the type of existing repectacle devise will lead to a false conclusion.

It will be necessary to determine exactly the type of existing Wiring Method . For an "older" house there are 3 probable types of W-M's----- Amored Cable, which is of metal construction--- Non-metallic cable with 2 insulated conductors and a bare EGC--- Non-metallic cable with 2 insulated conductors ONLY.

The Grounding issue cannot be resolved until the question of the type of existing W-M is answered
Old 10-10-05, 06:04 PM
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Grounding the outlets as a condition of sale is above and beyond the call of duty and would be very unusual. It could cost thousands of dollars.

However, it is clear that some form of mitigation (GFCI and/or two-prong outlets) is required as already discussed above.

This is a negotiable item. Don't do anything at all without proposing what you plan to do to the buyer and getting them to agree that this will satify them. It may be possible to instead agree to reduce the price a couple hundred dollars and let the buyer correct the problem to their preferences after closing.

Don't let this get blown out of proportion. Negotiate in good faith. Don't agree to anything crazy, but don't get inflexible either.

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