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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I get a call from some friends of my wife that need some receptacles added to some rooms. This throws somewhat of a red flag up because I know this house was built before 1920. Nice plaster walls and ceilings, really could be restored to its former glory. Just as I suspected, a lot of hacks have been busy over the years.
The house does have a new 200 amp service courtesy of a fellow EC that was installed so that a new HVAC unit could be added, although the house is not insulated hardly at all?? Sorry, I digressed. Anyway, I take a look at the rooms where the recepts are to go and things start to go downhill. The only existing wiring in the first room is in a closet area, you have to go into the room then the closet to turn the light on. There is also a receptacle there with a 2 wire lamp cord coming out behind the faceplate and stapled to the wall feeding a single gang old work box screwed to the ceiling with a lamp socket and pull chain. The other rooms are similarly wired and much worse. Trunkslammer quality for sure.
Just out of curiosity I checked the receptacles throughout the house and all if them showed "open ground". I pulled the faceplates and sure enough, no grounds. The old BX/AC cable jackets are not continuous anymore. Total rewire just to make it safe. HO installed GFCI' in bath and kitchen, open ground= not functional. Tested just to make sure, would not trip at all with tester.
HO says that an electrician signed off on all of the wiring being safe just last year!!! Thinking this is BS I ask "Who was it?" and they said the one that replaced the service. He is a friend so I called him to see what the story really was. He only replaced the service, with inspection, and pulled one new MC to a new upstairs receptacle. He did no inspections or sign off on anything. He noted to the HO that there were some problems with the old wiring that needed to be addressed.

Not going back to this one. Rant over, thanks for listening!
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Couldn't get any of the GFCI's to trip. On the way back home I wondered if my tester was faulty so I tried it on the ones in my house and they tripped every time.
I asked the HO if they wanted me to troubleshoot the GFCI's and they said they couldn't afford it even though I didn't give them a price.
It concerns me because they have 4 young children with all of these 2 wire extension cords daisy chained together all over the house.
 

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Couldn't get any of the GFCI's to trip. On the way back home I wondered if my tester was faulty so I tried it on the ones in my house and they tripped every time.
I asked the HO if they wanted me to troubleshoot the GFCI's and they said they couldn't afford it even though I didn't give them a price.
It concerns me because they have 4 young children with all of these 2 wire extension cords daisy chained together all over the house.
You're not going to get a plug in gfci tester to trip out a gfci wired without a ground

As long as the test/reset buttons work properly you're good
 

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NJ-IEC
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Propose a fee for figuring out everything that's wrong and how much it'll be to repair. Take installment payments if you must. Reads like routine work to me. But I'd be a bit cautious since the guy has already lied to you about the other "electrician" signing off on everything. Ask him again about that before proceeding with a signed contract to diagnose, not repair, the existing wiring and what it'll cost to make right again.
 

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Regarding 2 wire receptacles with no ground, you can either replace them with a GFCI and put the "No Equipment Ground" sticker on the faceplate, or replace it with a new non-grounded receptacle as that would have been what was originally installed anyway. Open grounds and bootleg grounds are both dangerous.
 

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An ungrounded GFI will never trip when the test button is pressed.. You need to put wiggys/volt-con between hot and a known ground. (normally plumbing in a old house.. In newer houses with Pex and flexible fixture connections and ABS drains that may not be true) GFIs measure the incoming and outgoing current.. If they are not identical they trip.. The ground on the receptacle has no affect on the protection.. But the test button will not work.. (unless the fault current is running though you..) <edit> I felt I should add.. The test button is basically a switch between a high resistance resistor to the receptacle ground. If it does work on a ungrounded GFI that current is either making it though a weak ground in the box or grounding via your body..
 

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HTTR
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since your not going back.. maybe the next electrician they get will explain to them how a GFCI works and how no ground is needed for it to function.

then they will come here and rant about how the last trunkslammer tried to trip the GFCI with his bugeye

Go back and give them a price for adding the new circuits. Then explain to them how a GFCI works
 

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No earth doesn't technically equal "unsafe".

Having an earth might just make it safer !

And some people might even argue that point !

If your really worried instal in the main panel GFCI.s
and make sure that they have an earth, hoping there's an earth
inside the main panel of course.
this will provide protection for the ungrounded circuits.
 

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I tend to believe earthing/grounding makes electrical systems more dangerous.. (other than perhaps lightning strikes..) Here in Canada we have both (in industry) .. 575v delta (ungrounded) and 575/347 wye (grounded) Residential we have 120/240 split phase (neutral grounded..) High rises tend to use 120/208 wye connection. (neutral grounded..)
 

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An ungrounded GFI will never trip when the test button is pressed.. You need to put wiggys/volt-con between hot and a known ground. (normally plumbing in a old house.. In newer houses with Pex and flexible fixture connections and ABS drains that may not be true) GFIs measure the incoming and outgoing current.. If they are not identical they trip.. The ground on the receptacle has no affect on the protection.. But the test button will not work.. (unless the fault current is running though you..) <edit> I felt I should add.. The test button is basically a switch between a high resistance resistor to the receptacle ground. If it does work on a ungrounded GFI that current is either making it though a weak ground in the box or grounding via your body..

No ground is required for the test button to operate. And even with no grounding conductor, the on-board test button will trip the device.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I tested the GFCI's with an external tester, not the test button on the receptacle. I would have used my wiggy as a second test but didn't have it with me at the time.
I offered to diagnose the issues, for a fee, and give them a price on repairing each issue seperately to spread the cost out over time to make it more affordable.
They replied that they just wanted me to show them where the problems were for free as part of the added receptacles estimate and they would "try to get it fixed". I explained that the estimate for the additional circuits would be free but the diagnosis of the existing wiring issues would be my normal diagnostic fee.
Didn't hear back.
 
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