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Old 03-28-2010, 05:30 PM   #1
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GFCI Common And Ground Question


Ive got a home that was built in 2004 with a GFCI outlet that burnt out in the bathroom.

When I test for continuity I get that the white/common feed (from the breaker box) is connected to the ground (solid copper).

My question is.... Is it normal for the white to touch the ground in a GFCI circuit?

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Old 03-28-2010, 06:39 PM   #2
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GFCI Common And Ground Question


As far as I know the white neutral wire is gorunded together with the "bare copper ground wire" in the main braker box always.

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Old 03-28-2010, 09:43 PM   #3
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GFCI Common And Ground Question


The white wire is not called "common". This phrase is only used in three way switches. The white wire is neutral and the bare copper is ground.
I am not an electrician but to my knowledge the neutral and ground are only together in the main breaker panel. There is a terminal for each on a GFCI and if they contact, the receptical will trip. A correctly wired GFCI will trip if you check voltage from the "smaller" hot leg to the "round" ground leg.
Again, I am not an electrician and someone may correct me.
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Old 03-28-2010, 10:22 PM   #4
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GFCI Common And Ground Question


It is very possible or likely that the neutral and the ground are landed on the same bar in your panel, hence the continuity. They should not be tied together in any other way but as long as the panel is the one that contains your MAIN disconnect, it is normal for them to be landed on the same bar (in different holes).

What caused the device to "burn up"??? Can you give some more detail about what happened and what led you to start checking for continuity between the neutral and the ground?
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Old 03-29-2010, 08:31 AM   #5
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GFCI Common And Ground Question


Disconnect the GFCI from all the wires in the box and then retest it. If ground and neutral (or hot and neutral) for the GFCI unit are still showing continuity between them, then the GFCI unit is now defective. With the GFCI unit still disconnected, push the reset button. You should have continuity between line hot and load hot. You should have continuity between line neutral and load neutral. At no time should you have continuity between hot and neutral.

Low load continuity (as measured by a continuity light or meter or by an ohmmeter) will be registered between neutral anywhere in your house electrical system and ground anywhere in your house electrical system unless the neutral is severed or missing connection back to the panel or the ground is severed or missing connection back to the panel.

Proving that neutral and ground are connected somewhere they should not be (later you have to find the exact spot) is accomplished by disconnecting (or unbonding) neutral and ground at the main panel (may be as easy as undoing one green screw) and then testing continuity between ground and neutral elsewhere in the house.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 03-29-2010 at 08:40 AM.
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