GFCI receptacle questions

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by DIY, May 16, 2014.

  1. DIY

    DIY New Member

    Messages:
    153
    Location:
    Florida
    Hi all, Today I finally got the chance to take a look see at this 2 bedroom/ 1 bath duplex for sale. It all looked to be in good shape inside and out, for being built in the late 50's,It has numerous upgrades, but the thing that seemed odd was at all of the 14 outlets per 2 bedroom was a GFCI receptacle. After some more poking & looking around I found there was no ground wire at any of the 14 GFCI outlets either.(just a black hot wire, and a white neutral wire) Does anybody out there know if a ground wire can be run from a bus bar in the fuse box to each GFCI receptacle? or Is a label needed like GFCI PROTECTED OUTLET/NO EQUIPMENT GROUND or something to let a user know what he or she is going to plug into. Thank you
  2. Stuff

    Stuff Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    You are correct that the stickers need to be applied since the GFCI has no real grounding conductor. Yes, you can run a grounding wire back to the main panel but usually the effort involved is almost as much as running a new 14-2 w/g cable.

    For bedrooms, etc. it would have been cheaper and code compliant (for most locations) to buy some two prong receptacles.
  3. houptee

    houptee Member

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    182
    Location:
    Monmouth County, NJ
  4. DIY

    DIY New Member

    Messages:
    153
    Location:
    Florida
    Thank you , Stuff and Houptee for your replies to my GFCI question.

    Stuff, in answer to your suggestion about installing 2 prong outlets. The GFCI outlets replaced 2 prong outlets the owner told me.

    Houptee,That was a great read about grounding and GFCI outlets you sent me. Many thanks
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,831
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; For bedrooms, etc. it would have been cheaper and code compliant (for most locations) to buy some two prong receptacles.

    ANd then buy a bucket full of "3 to 2" prong adapters and cut the ground wire off of them. MUCH Safer, right?
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,143
    Location:
    New England
    I replaced nearly all of the 60-year old 2-prong units at my mother's house with quality 3-hole receptacles...with enough GFCI versions to cover all of them in the house...I think it ended up needing about 7 gfci units and about 20 'normal' ones. It took some detective skills to see which ones were on which legs, and to find the first one (last is always easy!), but by doing that, saved a huge amount by using the daisy-chain protected output of the GFCI units. There were a few places where there were ground wires (like when they updated the kitchen), but I replaced them anyway...years of in/out and some heavy current uses had made them poor connections. When new, the armored cable may have provided a reasonable ground, but buried in the plaster and decades of seasonal changes, and that was essentially useless. So, the only way to plug in typical grounded plugs was an adapter, and less than reliable safety. The GFCI protection is much better than nothing, and much less than a major rewire.
  7. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,249
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Installing a GFCI in the place of a 2 prong receptacle is code approved. In the case that there are multiple receptacles on the same circuit, it might be cheaper to install a GFCI breaker on the circuit if the panel will accept one.
    The ungrounded receptacles should be labeled as such.
  8. Stuff

    Stuff Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    hj - Outside of kitchen and basement there are few devices that have a third prong/grounding pin. Even most modern power tools are double insulated and have two prong plugs.

    The MUCH Safer thing to do is re-wire the entire house.
  9. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Well.....most cheap power tools.
    Almost all my Makita, Milwaukee, Porter Cable & Bosch tools have 3-prong plugs, with a few DI thrown in.

    But you are right, VERY little in a home will have 3-prong these days. I say leave the GFI's and be done with it.
  10. DIY

    DIY New Member

    Messages:
    153
    Location:
    Florida
    I got some side info. on the GFCI outlets. The owner had the receipt of the 14 GFCI's he had gotten at lowe's (most were in a 3 pack) for 14 cooper GFCI outlets he paid $37.67!
  11. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Which for all intents and purposes is free.
    Man, that's one hell of a score.
  12. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,327
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    A GFI does not require a ground. But the ground wire provides a path to trip the breaker in event of appliance failure, If it has a three prong plug.

    Not much comes with 3 prongs, Most all computers do. Under water stuff will have a real ground also.


    The Ground may provide better protection for a device, but may not help when it comes to a Human electric shock, unless the neutral becomes open, Then it should not put out power if it is a good GFI.
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
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