Am I grounded? Electrically speaking.

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Although the ground may exist at the time of the wiring installaytion, there is an additional and serious danger that plastic pipe could be added later - maybe even decades later - and an extremely dangerous situation created as a result.
BB
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Note that: 1) blocking the third pin is illegal in the NEC. This is pretty stale advice even for the CEC. I don't think it was ever required. In the NEC, they require you to put labels on GFCI-protected 3 prong outlets that only have 2 wires. 2) GFCI's don't "make a ground". Note in particular, DO NOT interconnect the ground prongs of outlets downstream of a two-wire GFCI. 3) copper pipe grounding is bad advice generally speaking, and will usually be in violation of code. The inspector _may_ have had his reasons for your situation _specifically_, but it should never be generally recommended. In many situations it's hideously dangerous.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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You are right on everything when it pertains to new houses. The original question was to do with older wiring which does not have a ground wire in the circuit. In my case three months ago I was buying a property that has older wiring. I was required to do an electrical inspection to ensure there were no shock or safety hazards for the tenants. The inspector recommended (obviously) to have the place rewired. In reality you just cannot go in and rip peoples apartments apart when you buy a place to rewire. They also know that over time that you cannot buy 2 pin outlets anymore. To stop people putting 3 pin plugs in to this type of circuit they recommend either of 3 methods. (1) Block the ground hole with epoxy to make the outlet into a 2 pin. (2) Bond a copper wire from the outlet box to a water pipe. (3) Put in a GCFI. I followed this advice and repaired other violations and got a certificate from the Ontario Hydro inspector in November 2003. Like I said you are correct for newer houses. For retrofits houses and apartments it is just not feasible. To make you feel a bit better I have plans to rewire each of the apartments and put separate hydro meters in. This is just my experience and advice for Chantacleer. It is also a little bit of info for anybody that is buying duplexes or apartments in Ontario that have been retrofitted and running off one hydro meter. The laws have changed, for the better, for tenants who live in these buildings. Rob

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I appreciate all that.
I'll restate my point. Consider:
1) All new wiring (even in old houses) needs to be up to code. This _includes_ new repairs to old wiring. The code is quite clear on this point.
2) An inspector is perfectly free to exempt you from code specifics based upon his judgement.
3) The inspector's primary goal is to make your building as safe as he can, at the same time knowing you're not going to do a full rewire.
4) The inspector has seen your system, and therefore knows what will be safe and what won't.
5) No-one else other than an inspector should be making these judgements (as per passing a code inspection and other legal considerations).
He knows that grounding to your plumbing system will be an improvement, despite the fact that both the NEC and CEC now frown on this.
But _you_ do not know that when you're making these recommendations to others. In fact, grounding to a water pipe may make a bad situation worse. You have no way of telling without seeing their plumbing.
The overall point is simple: in this newsgroup we should ONLY be advising things that are code-legal (pass an inspection), unless we go to the trouble of explaining how to determine whether the proposed practise is safe, and letting them know how to make their own judgement call.
Unadorned/unqualified advice to ground an outlet to a water pipe is _very_ _very_ dangerous.

As I mentioned, this is illegal in US code, and I _suspect_ that it's gone or about to go from ours. The old CEC recomendation was to use caulk BTW. I'd be a little leery of some epoxies "flowing" into the rest of the outlet and jamming the whole thing.

The only safe recommendation without qualification/caveats.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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If you don't mind, I need some clarification.
An 8 foot 5/8 copper rod is in the ground and is connected to the water line. Then, it is grounded to the Main breaker box.
In the garage, the Hot and Cold and Gas pipes are bonded together with #8 solid copper wire by the water heater.
First off - I'll install a GFCI - no matter what. And then:
#1 I should run 5'of solid copper groundwire to the outlet I had converted , from the pipes. (Shielded, or unshielded is OK?)
#2 I should use the RED wire that is not used, and mark it with green tape, then connect to the Neutral ground strip in the main breaker box and mark it green as well.
#3 Just use the two wires on the GFCI and forget the green ground.
#4 Run a new green wire back to the main breaker. (Like no way.)
#5 Other.
Can you clarify what your choice would be, and especially, which one of them choices are to Code, and which are not. My county is adhering to the 1996 NEC. I had just purchased the book on Amazon for the future.
Thanks for your time.
Chantecleer
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Strictly speaking:

No longer permitted except in special situations (as in, not unless the inspector says so).
Note that codes do NOT permit gas pipes to be used as grounding conductors.
As the gas pipe is bonded to the water pipes near where you want to do this, the gas pipe will probably carry fault current. Absolute no-no.

Technically illegal according to the 1996 NEC (200-6).

Legal and easiest.

Legal and hard.

I'd probably use #3. #2 if I _really_ needed a ground.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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Chris Lewis wrote:
trim

I've done this. I have a GFCI and nothing is connected to the green ground screw on the GFCI.
I understand what a GFCI does. But I can't help but wonder. They tell you that a GFCI is grounded to the box by just the grounding screws. What if the box itself is grounded to nothing? It is screwed to the drywall.
That outlet is not grounded at all. I'd rather be safe than to code. I'd like both. But I wonder if I should use the RED wire marking it green, the hell with a code and connect it in the entrance neutral bar and mark it green.
Would I be safer, although out of code? Or this is overkill and not necessary.
This issue is so simple. Yet, I got around 10 different answers from all those I spoke to about it. 3 of them Licensed Electricians. Disagreeing. One says the water pipe is good. One says it is not. Another says no need at all to ground. Yikes. If Licensed people can't agree, what the heck the average person is to believe? The City Inspector wanted both cold water and hot water pipe AND the gas pipe bonded together. Others say he is out of his mind and one day I get killed because of him. Makes one's head spin.
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More correctly, the GFCI ground pin is interconnected to the mounting screws. That doesn't mean it's grounded. If the box is plastic without bonding straps, it won't be. If the box isn't connected to a grounding system, it won't be.
Besides, you are _required_ to make ground connections to outlets (where you do install grounds) with a wire under the grounding screw. Implicit grounding via grounded boxes is _only_ (legally) applicable to switches (where you're usually only grounding the cover plate mounting screws). This is why outlets always have ground screws, but switches usually don't.

Probably safer. Once it's on a GFCI, it's overkill in any event, so why violate code?

It seems simple, but, it actually isn't, unless a qualified person _sees_ your system. There is a lot of judgement sometimes required for individual situations, and the only thing you can say for certain is that the code-approved way is sufficient for approvability/legality and insurance. Short of getting an inspector to your house and telling you to use the red wire, or a pipe ground, the only legal option is the 2-wire GFCI setup _alone_.

The city inspector is right. If by "others", you're thinking of me, that's not what I said. I said that the gas pipe should NOT be used as a grounding conductor (path back to ground). It MUST be bonded TO the grounding system, but NOT used as a grounding path. In other words, if there are two grounding connections to the gas pipe, you may have a dangerous situation. [These days most underground gas lines are plastic, so that doesn't count]
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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