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Old 01-13-2013, 04:48 PM   #1
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Common to ground on outlet


I just pulled an outlet out and found a jumper going from the common to the ground on the plug. I have never seen this in my limited electrical experience. Seems kind of sketchy to me. Any thoughts?
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:50 PM   #2
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Common to ground on outlet


it is called a "bootleg ground", illegal.

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Old 01-13-2013, 05:16 PM   #3
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Common to ground on outlet


Illegal, and DANGEROUS!

This setup imposes one of the current-carrying circuit conductors onto the grounding connection, setting up a potential electrocution hazard.

But a 3-prong, 3-light plug in tester will show "proper wiring" on such an outlet.
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:22 PM   #4
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Common to ground on outlet


Just removed the wire and it still shows grounded. This is in an addition that seems around 10 years old. Any way that I can test it to find out if it really is grounded?
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:24 PM   #5
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Common to ground on outlet


I would pull out all receptacles in the addition. There is no telling how many devices were wired this way.
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:29 PM   #6
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Common to ground on outlet


I looked at the panel and the ground wire is ground at the panel. Any idea why they would do this? There is no way an inspector would have passed that, right?
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:34 PM   #7
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Common to ground on outlet


Generally, an inspector does not see how the receptacle is wired. They will stick their plug in tester in and if it reads correct, that is what they assume. On rough inspections, the receptacles are not installed. On final inspections the receptacles are installed and the plates are on.
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:43 PM   #8
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Common to ground on outlet


That is a big dangerous NO NO!

And yes DO check all other outlets.

There is a BIG added safety factor where there is just one neutral ground "bond' (connection) at the main panel, then all the ground wires are run separately to each device/outlet.

Using the neutral as ground can cause the metal frame of a 3 prong appliance to become "hot" should the neutral connection become disconnected, cut by someone drilling a hole in the wall, come loose in a "back-stab" outlet, etc. If you think about this, with the appliance turned on, you are connecting the "hot black wire" to the metal frame of the appliance! The only thing keeping the metal frame near "ground potential" is that neutral wire - lose that wire and ZAP!

And quite common for electrical wires to come loose, be cut, etc.
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:14 PM   #9
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Common to ground on outlet


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I looked at the panel and the ground wire is ground at the panel. Any idea why they would do this?
I've seen that done with old homes (non-grounded wiring) and partial rewiring work done. Maybe a new room addition with new wire, then they later replace the main panel and wires going to that. Use the jumper to pass inspection or sell a house before the main panel is replaced.

Or could be a ground wire is broken somewhere.

Or maybe the ground wires are not tied together at a junction somewhere - maybe in the attic.

Easier to place that jumper there than to track down the problem and properly fix it!

If it is the case that was "temporary" until a new panel was installed or the wiring work was completed, then maybe all grounds will now work fine with that and any other jumpers removed?

No telling! Just need to carefully check all outlets. A test that no more jumpers are present would be to remove the ground wire at the panel and see that the outlets no longer have ground with your tester.

That is a more "advanced" sort of electrical work. If you are not comfortable or experienced with working on an electrical panel, might want to have an electrician do that testing for you. Or have him remove the grounds while you go around testing with your tester.

Be safe!
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:29 PM   #10
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Common to ground on outlet


I see a ground wire on the ground screw also. Problem could be a defective neutral connection somewhere that was "repaired" with the jumper. If the circuit still functions with the jumper removed then maybe the problem neutral was repaired and the jumper was never removed.

Remove the jumper and use the receptacle. Check all the other receptacles and see if they have jumpers as well. Remove them if they do.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:19 PM   #11
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Common to ground on outlet


Thanks for the info everybody. On my list for next weekend.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:20 PM   #12
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Common to ground on outlet


Grounded to a separate bus bar? Meaning all the white neutrals are on one bar and the bare ground wire on another?
If not, I would get this fixed first. The reason for this is to eliminate a parallel path for the neutral current.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:22 PM   #13
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Common to ground on outlet


Grounds are required to be bonded with the neutrals in the main panel.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:41 PM   #14
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Common to ground on outlet


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Grounded to a separate bus bar? Meaning all the white neutrals are on one bar and the bare ground wire on another?
If not, I would get this fixed first. The reason for this is to eliminate a parallel path for the neutral current.
They can share the same bar in a service panel.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:52 PM   #15
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Common to ground on outlet


Hard to tell, my eyes aren't what they use to be, but it looks like the brass tab between the screws is missing.

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