Open Ground

Old 05-30-02, 03:26 PM
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Open Ground

I am selling my house and the inspector wrote us up for having two receptecles having an "open ground"...Not being electrically inclined I am at a loss as to what this means. Is it just that the ground wire is not properly connected to the switch? Any help greatly appreciated!
Old 05-30-02, 04:14 PM
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The home inspector was not explicity in his report. The term "open ground" is a generic term that can mean a variety of things. An "open ground" can mean you have no equipment grounding conductors in this circuit or those lised devices. This may be because it is an existing two wire circuit that may be legal as existing or because the bare wire was never connected or came loose.

An " open ground" may be a bad connection concerning a grounded leg on a 120 volt branch circuit meaning you have a white wire not making connection.

An "open ground" may be a loose neutral conductor on a 220 volt branch circuit serving either two 120 volt branch circuits or one 220 volt branch circuit that is using 120 volts for one of that certain appliances component.

I would say that inspector wrote up a hazard then that inspector should supply information as to what that hazard consists of. I would ask for a validation of that hazard in his report telling what he found where. Then you would know where to look.

Hope this helps

Old 05-30-02, 05:26 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
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This is one of those things that could take two minutes and zero cost to fix, or could require a second mortage on the house to fix. You won't know until you shut off the breaker, take the cover plate off the receptacle, and look.

If your house was built more than 30 years ago, the problem is likely that someone illegally replaced two-hole receptacles with three-hole ones. For about $2, you can put the two two-hole receptacles back. They won't have an open ground any more -- they won't have a ground at all! But that's legal. Chances are the inspector would not have written this up if those receptacles had been two-hole receptacles in the first place.
Old 05-31-02, 01:15 PM
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John is right if you problem is three prong receptacles with a hole for an equipment grounding conductor is installed where you only have two wires.

If the above is what the inspector is flagging as a hazard then you have an option to install GFI breakers in your panel to protect those branch circuits that have 3 prong receptacles on two wire branch circuits. You would then install stickers on each of those receptacles saying GFI protected. This too would make that problem legal. The GFI is allowed to be used if no equipment grounding conductor is in that branch circuit for a three prong receptacle.

Good Luck


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