It's still not completely clear to me if these are 2 prong or 3
prong. If they are 3 prong then they need to have a proper ground.
Doesn't matter if the wiring is grandfathered in, you can't install 3
prong outlets and not have the correct ground for the third leg. It's
Go find some 2 prong outlets or pull grounded wire. If you have an
attic above that's not really that hard to do.
No, they don't. NEC explicitly allows use of 3 prong receps to
replace ungrounded receps w/ no ground available if connected to GFCI.
Yes you can. You are, however, required to label them "GFCI protected
- No Equipment Ground." The stickers come with the GFCI. No
grandfathering required, this is straight out of 2008 NEC (I have a
copy at my desk.)
You tried to do that lately?
This is the 1st floor of a 2-story house, and walls and ceiling are
plaster. It's not easy at all, otherwise I would have done it.
If they are 3-prong they do *not* need a proper ground if they are
GFCI-protected and have the little sticker that says so and a "NO
EQUIPMENT GROUND" sticker.
If the buyer asks for $1500 to correct the problems, I would counter
with "Your home inspector is an idiot." (show them the electrical code)
"There's nothing to fix. If you don't want to buy the house at this
point, you can sue me to get your earnest money back". Then maybe offer
to replace the 3-prong receptacles with less convenient 2-prongs if
that'll make them feel better.
If only it were that simple. The deposit is almost always held in
And whoever is holding it in escrow, can't just release it unless both
parties agree to it. Depending on exactly what the contract says
the inspection contigency, the buyer could be within their contractual
rights. Or it could be unclear. Also, the above approach could make
sense in a hot market, or even a reasonable market, but now?
Also unstated is what the buyer has asked to
be done about this, if anything. All we know is the
home inspector flagged it. Usually, the contract would
say that after the inspection, the buyer has X days to
notify the seller in writing of any issues they want
If they have done that, then I would probably call in a
licensed electrician and have them
take a look, then write me a letter stating that the wiring in
question is safe and meets NEC. Send a copy of that
to the buyer, along with responses to any other issues.
Even though what you already have sounds like it is code compliant, I think
I would just go with my plan of switching to GFCI receptacles at each or the
two locations that were cited. There is nothing that says that you can't
have a GFCI at each location instead of just one GFCI that covers all of the
receptacles on a circuit. Then if one trips, the rest of the circuit will
still be live. I would also change the first one so it is independent and
doesn't protect the downstream receptacles -- each GFCI would just protect
that one receptacle. It just costs more to use all GFCI receptacles rather
than one per circuit.
You know that you do not have to add a ground to those receptacles in order
to be code compliant, but if you change them to GFCI receptacles it will
look like you did something in response to other home inspector's note --
and you won't have to explain or prove that the current outlets are already
protected. Also, the home inspector's job is to note what he finds, and he
can recommend whatever he wants (such as "provide ground"). The same was
true about the door he cited -- he noted what he found and he wrote what he
recommended. But, what he finds and recommends is not necessarily what is
required according to your agreement of sale. Your agreement of sale says
all systems must be in working order, and your electrical system is.
However, it is the home inspection contingency clause that you would have to
read carefully. Usually that clause says something about the buyer only
being able to use that as a basis for getting out of the deal if the item is
a significant defect. Your electrical system does not have a significant
defect and it meets the code as is. But, I would still change the existing
receptacles to GFCI's (with the sticker) just to placate the buyer in the
same way that you went ahead and fixed the door problem.
Unless any protected receptacles have 3-wire connections and only have two
(Hot/Neutral with no earth ground receptacle pin), everything is fine and
there's no problem. I suspect he may be objecting to the lack of earth
ground where you have 3-wire receptacles NOT marked. f they're marked as no
ground, then I think you have to go down and talk to them - something's
rotten in Denmark.
If a test needs to be done as you describe, that's the inspector's job to
do, not yours. No tester will do anything any better than the 'test" button
on your gfci; as should ANY decent gfci tester. And to prove what it
protects, just push the TEST switch and see what goes out; everything
protected will not have any power to it. Push the RESET switch to turn them
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.