Receptacle wiring (false ground)

Reply

  #1  
Old 05-12-15, 08:16 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 297
Receptacle wiring (false ground)

I have discovered that I have an outlet with a false ground. I found this while investigating a suspicious looking splice. From the splice to the receptacle is 2-wire NM with ground, connected to a 3 prong receptacle. From the splice to the panel is 2-wire NM without ground. The ground from the receptacle was wired into the neutral.

Obviously, this is no good. Running new Romex is not immediately possible, and since this is a basement area, it should be GFCI protected anyway (but is not). I want to replace the receptacle with a GFCI outlet for protection, remove the ground connection to neutral, and mark it as "no equipment ground."

What do I do with the ground once I disconnect it from the neutral? Cap off both ends and leave it be? Or is there a better way to make sure that somebody else doesn't come along and try to use that ground?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 05-12-15, 08:45 PM
Piddler's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: US
Posts: 110
I am not an electrician and do not know the codes in your area. I've seen neutrals tied to ground in situations where people want 3 prong outlets on 2 wire systems so they don't have to buy the adapters for 2 wire to 3 three wire plugs. As far as I know it's acceptable because neutral is grounded. I know some EE's will come in and let us know the facts soon and I would like to know more about this myself but as far as GFCI is concerned, it will work on a 2 wire system. So install them if you want to and they will work with what you have.

Mod Note: It is Never acceptable to connect ground to neutral. To do so is a serious safety issue.
 

Last edited by pcboss; 05-13-15 at 08:01 AM.
  #3  
Old 05-12-15, 11:55 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
It is illegal to extend an ungrounded circuit, and it is illegal and extremely dangerous to bootleg a ground onto a neutral.
 
  #4  
Old 05-13-15, 12:16 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,372
Thank you, Justin.

Piddler, if you don't know the answer it is better to not post at all. As Justin has stated connecting the equipment grounding terminal on the receptacle is not only contrary to code it is dangerous as well. IF an appliance with a ground fault is plugged into that receptacle it could put dangerous voltage on any metal part of the appliance.

Contrary to your thinking, equipment ground is NOT the same as neutral anywhere but at the point of connection in the Service panel. Neutral IS a current-carrying conductor whereas the equipment ground ONLY carries current during a fault condition and ONLY long enough to actuate the fuse or circuit breaker to open the circuit.
 
  #5  
Old 05-13-15, 09:56 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 297
Agreed, Justin. I didn't do it. I don't know who did do it, but probably the same chucklehead who did a lot of other idiotic things to this house before I owned it.

I'm trying to figure the best way to fix the situation, at least to make it safer before I can get around to running new cable. I understand that a GFCI can be used on an ungrounded circuit, provided the receptacle is marked "no equipment ground." But what should I do with the grounding wire in that segment of cable with unconnected grounds?
 
  #6  
Old 05-13-15, 10:02 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,512
You can install a GFI in place of a single receptacle for just that one location or you can use a single GFI receptacle and then use the protected pass thru to protect all receptacles after that one.

You need do nothing with the ground wire. Just leave it in the back of the box as it's not connected.
 
  #7  
Old 05-13-15, 10:13 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 297
Thanks, PJmax.

To add on to that, since the receptacle is in a metal handy box, can I legally ground the metal box via pigtail to the grounding terminal on the GFCI? Or do need to replace it with a plastic box?
 
  #8  
Old 05-13-15, 10:26 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,512
If the box is not grounded then adding a jumper to the receptacle will serve no purpose.
 
  #9  
Old 05-13-15, 10:35 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 297
Plastic box it is! Thanks!
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'