Grounding Question

Old 11-05-14, 04:06 AM
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Question Grounding Question

Hi all,

First time post. Just sold our house and am awaiting the inspection. I have one issue that I suspect will popup as it did when I purchased the house. I was advised that it wasn't a big issue so I chose to overlook it.

I have a room that has 4 outlets. Two of them are controlled by a switch on the wall (use this for lighting in the room) and two are on the opposite wall.

The two outlets controlled by the switch as well as one on the opposite wall report as not being grounded. As far as I can remember all the outlets in that room are controlled by the same circuit.

I have opened up the 3 ungrounded outlets as well as the switch and it appears that the grounding wire is indeed connected properly. I will say that I can see the ground wire in the switch box but I can't actually see if it is connected (the connections appear to be at the rear of the switch).

It is also connected properly at the outlet that is reporting that is grounded correctly. I've checked all other outlets downstairs (additional living area, dining room, kitchen, and laundry room) and they all report as being properly grounded.

So, what could the cause of this be and what would my options be if the inspector flags it and the buyers want it fixed? Could I propose installing GFCI outlets for some added protection if the breakdown in the ground can't be found?
Old 11-05-14, 06:12 AM
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Is it possible someone stole the ground wire to make the switched receptacles circuit? Verify that first.

My next guess would be that there is another box between the last grounded outlet and the first ungrounded outlet, maybe in a tough to locate spot in the attic or basement, where the ground is not properly connected. Occasionally you'll find one buried in the plaster long forgotten after some past remodel job. A wire tracer could potentially help to trace out the actual path of the cables in the wall.

Another possibility is that the cable is damaged in some way that broke the ground but left the hot and neutral intact, unusual but possible. You can diagnose this with just a multimeter.

I would start diagnosing this by running a grounded extension cord from a known-good ground and using the continuity/resistance setting on the multimeter to measure the questionable ground at the 3 bad receptacles to the known good reference. Also measure continuity from the neutrals to the known good ground.
Old 11-05-14, 06:27 AM
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Thanks. Previous homeowner did install some built-ins w/a light dimmer and a GFCI outlet. I believe he put a junction box inside one of the cabinets. I'll have to check that, perhaps that's where the ground is disconnected. Also wondering if that GFCI is protecting the 3 outlets if they are downstream of it. May have to test when I get home.

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