Does GFI plug work with no ground wire?

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Hi All: I have an older home which has a lot of wiring that is the very old romex? with two wires (black and white) and no ground wire. The bathroom has GFI outlets and I noticed that someone tied the bare ground to nuetral (white) assuming this would be eventually connected to ground. An electrician told me that this is bad because there can be current flow in your nuetral side. (makes sense). Altough all of my fixtures (lights etc) use plastic boxes and no fixture has ground wire connected to it, I assume it is safe for now. I was planning on disconnecting the bare gorund wire from nuetral. Does that mean that the GFI outlet will no longer detect current to ground?
These old houses are a real pan in the butt.
M
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Doug Miller wrote:
snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

wire.
bare
connected
can
the
operation.
Doug's right, as you can verify by using the GFCI test button after removing the incorrect ground jumper. The built-in test button leaks current to neutral, bypassing the GFCI detection, so it should always work. However, plug-in GFCI testers will not trip this outlet, as they function by leaking a bit of current to ground.
GFCI's are the recommended quick-and-dirty fix for ungrounded circuits throughout the house, and many now come with little "NO EQUIPMENT GROUND" stickers that you're supposed to put on the faceplaces of the outlet, and on downstream outlets (along with the ones that say "PROTECTED BY GFI").
Chip C
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(Doug Miller) wrote:

what exactly was the point of your post, besides tooting your own horn?
randy
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how about connecting a wire from the ground lug of the receptacle to a nearby cold water pipe?
it appears this would provide an effective saftey ground
would it be legal?
Mark
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snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Hi Doug - I think doth generalize too much. Doug - I think you and I are prior owners - at least you specify "without knowing what they are doing." I built a Lindal Cedar Home in 1973 - did all the wiring myself with no prior experience - in three days - and passed the fire inspection with no errors. Every thing I learned was from a little Time/Life Home improvement book. Each room had 110 and 220 circuits - for electric heat at the time. It was tough using all that 10 gauge copper wire :-) I have 30 circuit breakers :-) We still own that home - never had a problem with it. Harry
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msterspy wrote:

Ignorance, almost surely...
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wrote:

He's right. Neutral and ground are supposed to be connected in the service entrance panel and _nowhere_else_. Anything otherwise is dangerous.

I don't think I'd want to rely on assumptions...

No. GFCIs operate by detecting an imbalance in the current flowing in the black and white wires. The bare wire is not needed for proper operation.

Ahhh, I dunno -- I think prior homeowners who try to do their own wiring without knowing what they're doing are a much worse pain in the butt.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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Thanks Doug. I'm going to get rid of that ground wire connected to nuetral. Don't know why it was done that way. M
On Wed, 20 Apr 2005 15:47:30 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

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Randy wrote: What exactly was the point of your post, besides tooting your own horn?
============ Randy, I had the same question for him. It is extremely difficult to imagine why anybody would want to effectively say, "Ignore the NEC. I have and I haven't killed anybody or burned down my house yet. No harm, no foul. Ignorance is bliss."
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Doug Miller wrote:

You are correct, they will protect people from electrocution without having a ground wire connected to them, but without a ground they NEED to have stickers on their plates warning "Equipment ground NOT connected".
An inbalance in the current flowing in the black and white wires is not *all* they detect Doug.
Most folks who understand that much about GFCIs don't know that nearly all GFCIs will also detect a neutral to ground fault downstream from them.
How do they do that?
Sam Goldwasser has done an excellent job of describing "everything" about how GFCIs work on this page:
http://www.codecheck.com/gfci_principal.htm
Interesting reading for all who can follow the simple circuit diagrams and understand how transformers function.
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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NO!
Water pipes are no longer considered an acceptable or safe ground, due to the proliferation of plastic plumbing. It is not to be used, even in a building with all copper pipe, as someone could change some of it to plastic 20 years from now and be killed.
rusty redcloud
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Indeed, that makes *all* the difference. I have no problem with electrical work done by homeowners who *do* know what they're doing. It's the ones who *don't* know (but think they do) that are the pains in the butt.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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No. Not safe, not legal.

Appearances can be deceiving. You have *no* assurance that the water pipe makes an effective ground. None whatever.
Furthermore, a ground fault in a device plugged into that receptacle would then electrifiy the metal water pipes. I hope it's clear to you that that is a very dangerous situation.

Absolutely not.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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Hi Randy -
Don't want to argue - I don't like to toot a horn either :-)
I just wanted to comment that home electrical systems are not rocket science. It is something that can easily be learned.
Many electricians - not all of them - like to make on that it is some mysterious thing. It is a logical study. People gain hysterical fear of it from experts that try to make it seem more difficult than it is. Doug generally does a good job explaining electricity on here.
My point was - that even a duffer like me - can do a whole home from scratch - if they study it first - and second have it inspected.
I was a school teacher 33 years - seventh grade science. You do not have to be a genius to do that either :-) It is easy teaching one new lesson everyday. Try doing the same lesson six times a day and do that for 33 years :-)
There I go tooting my own horn again :-)
Sorry. Harry
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Indeed.
But they probably didn't realize, as well, that a gfci outlet is about the only thing to wire improperly this way relatively safely. (Not that it should be done).
The danger, the way I understand, with hooking the neutral to ground anywhere but the main panel is that if the neutral would stop functioning for some reason, it would then allow the bare ground to be used as a neutral, which in this case would immediately trip the gfci.... instead of waiting for somebody who is grounded to touch the fixture in this state and zapping them (since it would still be functioning 'normally').
I think it's odd that the gfci would trip in this situation anyway. They are pretty sensitive, and if there is a path for the electricity to flow through the ground to the neutral it will to some extent.... it would seem. Which should trip the gffi.
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I had all kinds of surprizes when I bought this house. For example the prveious owner decided to "save money" and not bother with the big 3 prong plug for the clothes dryer. They simply connected the romex right into the dryer. No way to unplug it if there was a problem. Got rid of that mess in a hurry. Same way with th garage door opener. No breaker or shutoff nearby (detatched garage) . They also buried the power cable to the garage under 12" of soil.
The previous owner was a licensed electrician.
On Wed, 20 Apr 2005 13:04:01 -0500, Duane Bozarth

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Uh, I mean would NOT trip in this situation. As soon as something is turned on that's plugged in to it.
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wrote:

The real problem is that this device was not installed by a professional electrician. If you knew what you were doing, it would work. Obviously you are incapable of doing this yourself, and the average homeowner should never touch any electrical wiring. Leave it to the professionals to insure your safety. Besides that, tampering with electrical things will void your homeowners insurance.
A general rule of thumb is this: A homeowner should only flip light switches, and plug UL Approved electrical things into outlets. That's ALL you should do, except to turn off a circuit breaker in an emergency. You should hire a Union Electrician for all wiring. Hire an electrician to change light bulbs, and hire an electrician to turn ON or OFF all circuit breakers in non-emergency situations. Also, if you have the old fuses instead of breakers, DO NOT touch them even during an emergency. They are extremely dangerous and can explode if handled by an inexperienced home owner. Even light bulbs are capable of exploding and killing people. Thousands of persons die every day as a result of electricution and fire caused by non-certified people tampering with electricity. Just last week an entire family consisting of three adults and seven children died as a result of an inexperienced homeowner attempting to change a light bulb, which exploded and released toxic gasses, killing the entire family, and causing one of the worst fires in U.S. history
Learn not to burn.
John Walters Professional Electrical Consultant and Union Certified Electrician 1030 Market St. Los Angeles, California snipped-for-privacy@EccElectricalServices.net
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050420 1739 - msterspy posted:

Just goes to show. Another example is the licensed driver. There the ones who have all the accidents.
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wrote:

That one is actually OK per code under certain conditions. (120V @ 20A max with GFCI)

Some jurisdictions have very lenient licensing standards. Or you may have been lied to.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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