electrical code question


can you use metal switch plates and receptacle covers on an ungrounded circuit protected by a GFCI, or ONLY on a grounded circuit?
I think SWMBO has changed her mind on decoration for the living room, and I happen to have a stack of the good 40 thou beveled edge brass plates (leftovers from "my" room) but am unsure if it's copacetic to use them...
nate
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It's fine.
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"Nate Nagel" wrote in message

New code for "new wiring" is that all metal associated with electrical devices is grounded.
With that said, it is safer when using metal plates if the outlet or switch is grounded. And it is safer if the circuit is on a GFCI if it is not grounded.
What happens is sometimes wires can melt and come loose. Then touch a metal object inside an electrical box. For the times when this may occur, it is best that all metal parts be grounded or the circuit protected by a GFCI.
So yes people have in the past been shocked by touching metal plates when certain malfunctions occur. Thus the reason they want these to be grounded - just in case!
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Bill wrote:

I understand that it would be far preferable that the circuit be grounded; I'm just not certain if that is even practical in all locations, at least not without pulling the baseboards and channeling the plaster. Hence my question - I don't want to do anything that doesn't at least meet code.
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

I'm not sure about the interaction w/ GFCI-protected circuits and how the nuances of new Code might read. The one area that has been updated is 380-9 that is specifically geared to switches, not receptacles.
Here's a link to a little info amplifying the changes; I don't have full copy of new code (nor time nor inclination :) ) to dig through to unequivocally answer the question wrt to GFCI but I think it is safe to say they're prohibited for new construction on ungrounded circuits w/o any exception. There's the exception noted for ungrounded switches in replacements.
<http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_illustrated_changes_nec_6/
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"Nate Nagel" wrote in message

Well so far as electrical codes go, usually you are covered by "grandfather" rules for older electrical work. Not technically required for old work to be up to code. An electrical inspector is not going to come out and inspect just the new wall plates you have installed. (So far as I know.)
Then there is the kid's playground thing. New playgrounds assure that no kid will ever be hurt. Well you can't protect kids from everything!
Sort of the same with electrical things. There are plenty of metal wall plates installed out there which are not grounded and there are no problems. I grew up in a house without grounded wiring, no GFCI's, etc and am still here.
Basically there is not safe, sort of safe, safe, more safe, and very safe. (So far as electrical wiring goes.)
New code for new wiring installed would insist everything be in the "very safe" category. And over time, electrocution accidents will be drastically reduced. That is the idea. As electrical wiring is replaced/upgraded, it is done so in a "very safe" manner.
So "very safe" would be plastic wall plates, or grounded, or circuit on GFCI.
There are also GFCI breakers which can protect an entire circuit. This would provide protection, yet be less expensive than running new wiring.
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In typed:

The final word is going to come from your local code enforcement office and the inspector, regardless of what the NEC o r anyone here thinks. Give them a call & see. You don't hav eto ID yourself just to ask a question.
HTH,
Twayne`
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re: "With that said, it is safer when using metal plates if the outlet or switch is grounded. And it is safer if the circuit is on a GFCI if it is not grounded. "
Please re-read what you wrote and notice how it could be taken the wrong way - especially the second sentence:
"And it is safer if the circuit is on a GFCI if it is not grounded"
The first time I read that I did a double take.
It could be read as "It's safer to have an ungrounded GFCI than a grounded GFCI."
I know that's not what you meant - I know you meant that a GFCI is safer than an ungrounded circuit - but I think you can see that it could be read in a slightly different way.
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On Mon, 9 Nov 2009 09:32:10 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

Actually, I he may have meant an ungrounded GFCI is safer than a grounded non-GFCI circuit, which may me true for many (most?) instances (kid fingers in outlet/lamp socket, toaster falling into the sink, etc).
An internal wire breaking and touching the case may be a tossup -- with a grounded circuit it may short to ground and trip the circuit breaker, or at least provide an *additonal* path to ground besides your body (but depending on the resistance in the ground wire to the real ground vs the path your body has, and the amount of current, you could still get a fatal shock from the case). On the other hand, an ungrounded GFCI won't trip until your body makes a circuit, but will do so *very* quickly and at a very low current.
A grounded GFCI is the best of both, as even a small current flowing through the case would trip it before you even touch it.
Josh
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re: "...he may have meant an ungrounded GFCI is safer than a grounded non-GFCI circuit"
Sure, but either way, I'm sure he didn't mean what the sentence could be construed to mean.
It's that pesky English language of ours!
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As to GFCI wording...
Not safe: Metal plate, not grounded, and not on GFCI.
Safer: Metal plate, not grounded, and circuit on GFCI.
Very safe: Metal plate, grounded, and circuit on GFCI.
How's that?
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On Wed, 11 Nov 2009 08:37:23 -0800, "Bill"

And don't forget:
Metal plate, grounded, and not on GFCI. Where does that fit on your list above?
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