Apartment Complex, Questionable Outlet Wiring...

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Old 09-03-19, 03:01 PM
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Apartment Complex, Questionable Outlet Wiring...

I recently moved into an apartment complex where I noticed I had a building ground fault on 4 of my 9 outlets. Submitted a ticket, maintenance guy who unfortunately wasn't able to communicate very well with me shows up and after an hour of being frustrated, suddenly popped up from behind a table at an outlet and said it was fixed. I retest with my $7 Home Depot tester, shows up ok. Day goes by, I decided to take the plate off and look myself and this is what I see (see attached image). I'm not very electrically literate but everything I've seen on the internet calls this "looping" or "jumping the ground". Is this wired properly, and if not, what can I do about it? Two more maintenance guys (older and assumedly more knowledgable) just left and told me they were just fine by plugging in a similarly cheap tester into the outlets and not pulling the plate off the "fixed" outlet. I do not take myself for a dummy, and I can match up images from the internet pretty well, am I missing something here? Any helpful advice is appreciated.
 
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09-03-19, 06:40 PM
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Side note: I suspect you had an "open ground" on your tester, not a "ground fault". A ground fault is what you have now with the bootleg ground. There will be current leaking to ground in the circuit(s).
 
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Old 09-03-19, 04:02 PM
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Update:
I took the plates off of the other three outlets that were previously showing the ground fault and they seem to be wired correctly, with a separate wire running from the ground terminal and a separate wire running from the neutral, both into a collection of wires and wire nuts. Additionally, I checked other outlets in the apartment that never gave a ground fault to compare, and they are wired as the remaining 3 out of 4 previously faulted outlets are wired. It's just this one outlet that he apparently ran from the middle neutral over and around the ground and then into the wall with the bare wire that is my cause for concern. I have a stereo receiver, three computer monitors, a large desktop computer (custom built), and a variety of other electronics that I was planning on plugging into two of the outlets in the series. I'm sure the ground fault cleared up on all four of the outlets bc of what he did to this one as they are no doubt run in a series. Being that these maintenance guys are telling me its ok to wire it this way and I'm renting, I'm just not real sure what to do, and I'm trapped in a state of perpetual half-unpacked bc of the fact that I can't really block/plug anything into these outlets.

Any help would be appreciated, I can post a better photo if it would help.
 
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Old 09-03-19, 04:15 PM
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Very dangerous. Instead finding the broken ground he jumpered to neutral. Even though they are tied in the main panel it is not same as tieing them at the receptacle. If the neutral was ever to go open the metal frame on any device could be come live.

The one receptacle jumper corrected the issue on others since they are probably after this one in the chain. If there is a electrician authority in your area this guy should be reported.
 
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Old 09-03-19, 05:56 PM
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Very much appreciated @joed. Been up at the apartment complex office trying to sort it out. Lady I've been working with, leasing agent, is incredulous as she lives on the property as well, now the office is worried about their outlets since the supposed senior techs say this is "normal". I'm not selfish but I realize fully I'm not in a place to save the world (college student) and fight for the wiring to be done properly in all the buildings. I just want my stuff fixed and for the place not to burn down. Heaven forbid they have some kind of health emergency go on bc someone wired this place all bojacked. Neways, I guess I'll update when I hear more, they are supposed to have someone come out to take a look at it tomorrow that is rewiring things on the complex somewhere (over 600 apartments here) that sounds like they have more than a few brain cells to run together. We shall see.
 
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Old 09-03-19, 06:40 PM
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Side note: I suspect you had an "open ground" on your tester, not a "ground fault". A ground fault is what you have now with the bootleg ground. There will be current leaking to ground in the circuit(s).
 
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Old 09-03-19, 07:09 PM
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The hack has created a shock hazard and possibly worse. This will now place current on any metal parts of the system. This is in no way normal. If it is normal someone needs to be taught a lesson in electrical safety and proper wiring.
 
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Old 09-03-19, 10:33 PM
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@Tolyn Ironhand I see I see, I appreciate that. I'm a total novice and just about everything I know now is off forums like these and common sense, thank you for the correction. I am feeling like I need as much ammo as possible to know my stuff in dealing with these cats at the office and the maintenance team. I won't let them leave so easily next time.
 
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Old 09-04-19, 04:51 AM
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And ShaStaton do not take it upon yourself to attempt to fix or remedy this situation either by taking the receptacles out of the boxes and checking the wires, rewiring anything, replacing anything even a receptacle. Since you rent this apartment it can be a large liability on your part if in fact you do attempt to fix this on your own. Don't even hire an electrician to come in an fix this issue. If anything were to happen they could pin you with a large liability suit.

We always advise persons who are renting not to work on the electrical part because of the liability issue involved. At this point I would not even hire an electrician to try and resolve it even if you have it in writing from the landlord. Let them hire an electrician then it is there total liability.

Again, this set up of jumping the neutral to the ground is a boot-leg setup and it very dangerous to the occupants of the units. This is what you have to stress to the management office. They are creating a very large liability issue without even knowing it. You can be called their hero for bringing it to their attention and probably possibly saving a life in the future.

Find some articles on boot leg grounds and print them out and give them to the management office.
 
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Old 09-04-19, 03:05 PM
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Unfortunately this is a typical of apartment maintenance. I know it first hand because I deal with them pretty much everyday.
I have seen lamp cord in the wall to fix bad wiring. I have seen ground jumped to neutral just like yours. I have seen neutral wire jumped to another outlet with bare wire (not cable) through a mounting hole in junction box. (It was even on a different breaker)

Unless you live in a expensive apartment, it will be very hard to get them to fix it correctly. They will just send another maintenance guy and say it is ok as safe.
You will have to demand a licensed electrician to come and fix.
 
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Old 09-04-19, 05:10 PM
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I agree with lambition I am having a problem with an apartment management company they said they would send a tech but are now giving me the run around.
 
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