Can the receptacle tester be wrong ?


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Old 03-10-15, 11:57 AM
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Can the receptacle tester be wrong ?

There was some new wiring done in my house, and my plug in tester says the the receptacle is "correct" but I have serious doubts.

Heres the short version , I had a old plug for an electric dryer, and my bright idea was to convert it to two 110's... the wires coming in are old (house built in 50's) There were 2 black (#10) and one stranded white, used as a ground back to the panel.

The breaker was switched to 2 20 amp single pole. At the old receptacle one black wire goes to the black of a new 12/2, the white to white, and the ground (from the 12/2) is currently just hanging in the air. From there the new 12/2 goes to a junction box, where a ground wire is run from a cold water pipe up to the box, and pigtailed to the box (metal) from there it is run to a new GFCI receptacle (now in the next room). This receptacle when tested shows wired as "correct"

Anyone able to pipe in on if this actually is? is it "safe"?? Can the white stranded wire be pigtailed and connected to the remaining black wire (in the original location, which is now a junction box) and be used to run another 12/2 so there "two" 110 from the old? and would that be safe? (obviously not "code) (btw this was already done... just didn't want to go into yet more description!)

Do I really have proper ground?, what about the ground wire from the 12/2 just hanging out in the box????

I did not do this, I swear ;-) my husband had a "friend" do it and I have concerns regarding the safety of appliances and/or shock. In addition I have a brother who is piping in with all kind of opinions...

Sorry, but no way to shorten this

HELP
 
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Old 03-10-15, 12:08 PM
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The water line cannot be used as the ground.

What was the reason the ground from the old cable was not used?
 
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Old 03-10-15, 12:16 PM
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There were only 3 original wires, 2 black, and then the one white stranded thing, which my brother says is the ground, and that we are missing a neutral. The guy who did this is now mia :-( and I really can't afford to pay someone again if it is safe... but... like I said, that's my concern, clearly Idont want to be shocked or have to replace my appliances. So, just fyi, my brothers comment is that it is not. and that I need to have someone run new wires under the house, back to the panel. (not cheap ;-()

Also, my confusion comes because why would the plug in tester read that it is correct, if it's not?
 

Last edited by kkout; 03-10-15 at 12:33 PM. Reason: added info
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Old 03-10-15, 01:20 PM
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The tester cannot know the codes involved. It looks for certain conditions that can be met but are not code compliant.

Can you post a picture of the wires involved?
 
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Old 03-10-15, 01:24 PM
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Your existing dryer circuit had two hots (black) and one neutral (white); it did not have a ground. This was allowed for dryers in homes built prior to 1996, however it is no longer allowed.

The new circuit fails to meet code in a few important ways. Metal water pipes are not a legal means of grounding, although they are probably bonded to ground somewhere in the house (which fools your tester). The single pole 20A breakers should have been a double-pole 20A breaker.

I would say what you have is not safe because it does not meet the electrical code, which is the generally accepted standard of safety for electrical wiring in our society.
 
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Old 03-10-15, 02:14 PM
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I'm working on posting a photo - Also, Your comment about the pipe is what I was thinking (yay) I'm not completely in the dark
 
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Old 03-10-15, 02:17 PM
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Just To be clear:
my bright idea was to convert it to two 110's... the wires coming in are old (house built in 50's) There were 2 black (#10)
You are wrong there. Those were the two sides of the 240 that is supplied to your house, not 120. The 120 (not 110) in your house is derived from one of the legs of the 240 to your house and the neutral which is the center tap on the transformer supplying 240 to your house.

So is this no longer used an electric dryer receptacle? If so what are you using it for?
 
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Old 03-11-15, 09:05 AM
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Sorry I was interrupted yesterday by another unrelated project. This is a picture of the wire that came to the old Dryer outlet. So this is what I have to deal with. The goal is to somehow use what is there to run two circuits from this one. One for the washer and gas dryer, the other for the freezer in the garage.Ps. sorry about the wording in original post, I knew what I meant... (or thought I did ;-)Name:  IMG_4248.jpg
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Old 03-11-15, 09:27 AM
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One suggestion I got from an electrician I spoke to yesterday (he was working at a neighbors and I hijacked him) was to put a sub-panel here, or a junction box to a sub-panel in the garage (the other side of the wall). All I know, is that I've paid once to have this done, and it didn't seem right, I have gotten so many different answers... from "It's fine" to "Be scared of opening your refrigerator" :-( (thats a beautiful thought ,lol)

This is a pic of what it currently looks like, I pulled the wires out for a better view, the one ground wire towards the back is not connected to the box, it just appears that way the way it is folded back. He was going to come back and replace the box (he used an old one that he had) but then the whole controversy started, and he's now mia, and honestly, Id rather not have him do anymore. As I said before, when you plug in the tester it says its "correct" (which was his "proof" that it was) yes , the power to this is off :-)

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Last edited by ray2047; 03-11-15 at 10:05 AM. Reason: Correctly inset image.
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Old 03-11-15, 10:13 AM
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You are not going to be able to use the old dryer wiring for a sub panel. It is not grounded. Does the conduit run all the way back to the panel or does it just protect the wiring above the floor?
 
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Old 03-11-15, 11:13 AM
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The conduit is just a short piece, coming up through the floor, doesn't go back to panel :-( Would you be willing to elaborate on why it wouldn't make sense with the old cable?
 
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Old 03-11-15, 11:48 AM
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The old cable is missing a ground. If you were to attempt to convert one of the hots to a neutral and use the bare as the ground you now only have a single circuit.
 
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Old 03-11-15, 01:02 PM
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And if the wire is #6 or smaller a black can not be redesignated as a neutral.

I have deleted my previous post. It was based on your statement there was two blacks and a stranded white. But PCBoss is seeing it as a stranded bare. Looking closer at the picture I am seeing that also. You have SE cable. I didn't pickup on that.
 
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Old 03-11-15, 01:19 PM
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All good info... not what I want to hear, but good info ;-) going forward, any suggestions as to what if anything I can do with this other than just abandoning it? Could I Junction it off into the garage and keep it a single circuit and use it for anything??? This is such a pain in the ass ;-) ! All the other wiring is in the attic , this is the only one run under the house. If it were in the attic I'd crawl up and run a new line back to the panel myself - I'm fine with attics under the house, I will never do again (bad plumbing experience) Maybe abandon it andiron something new up there? or? I'm just hoping one of you may have an idea... what would you do? assuming you were on a very, very limited budget (as in darn near none :-()
 
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Old 03-11-15, 01:27 PM
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It could be used for a 240V only machine in the garage like a welder, air compressor or table saw.
 
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Old 03-11-15, 06:05 PM
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There were only 3 original wires, 2 black, and then the one white stranded thing, which my brother says is the ground, and that we are missing a neutral.
Like has been pointed out, you have an old dryer circuit run with SEU cable. The stranded conductors were the neutral and the grounding of the dryer was through the neutral. As was also mentioned, a dryer today needs 4 wires. The bottom line is your brother knows very little about electrical work, but appears to know enough to be dangerous.
 
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Old 03-11-15, 08:46 PM
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If that cable had been used for a straight 240 usage the bare would have been a ground with two hots. For any 120 circuit you need a neutral and a ground as well as the hot.
 
 

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