GFIC in 1920s era home


Old 08-27-06, 11:23 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 114
GFIC in 1920s era home

I am trying to install a GFIC exterior outlet in a home that was build circa 1920. As such the circuit I want to take power from is a two-wire circuit (hot and neutral). The location of the outllet is under a portion of the foundation where there is dirt. Can I drive a ground spike into the dirt and attach it to the ground of the GFIC and make it work? If so, how long does the spike need to be?

When I started writing this I was going to suggest hooking to the water main line but remembered someone had changed the pipe over to PVC between the meter in the street and the house.

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Old 08-28-06, 04:32 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
A GFCI receptacle does not need a ground to work. Driving a round rod will serve no useful purpose whatsoever and would violate code.

There is no need to ground a GFCI receptacle unless for some reason you plan on using a device that needs one for a ground reference, and I cannot think of anything you would use outside that fits this category.
Old 08-29-06, 06:51 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 97
It's somewhat common to install GFCI outlets where no grounding wire is present in older houses. Your GFCI outlet probably came with some little stickers that say "NO EQUIPMENT GROUND" - put one of those little stickers on the outlet face when you're done. The GFCI is no substitute for having a grounding wire, but it's much safer than an old two-prong outlet. At least with a GFCI, if a ground fault does occur, you'll only get a little jolt instead of lethal current.

Driving an 'extra' ground rod at the site of the GFCI outlet is dumb dumb dumb... not to code, and maybe not safe too. The only time you can have a separate grounding system from the rest of the house is when you have a detached building with a subpanel. Otherwise, the entire house's grounding system (water pipe bonding, grounding electrodes, neutral, grounding wires) is all connected together at the main panel.

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