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Old 01-01-2013, 10:15 PM   #16
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GFCI vs Grounding a two wire house


Depends on the price of the upgrade if it was an very inexpensive upgrade then you got what you paid for but if you paid a large amount I would expect a 40 space panel for room to expand in the future. And possibly arc faults depending on your code cycle.

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Old 01-01-2013, 10:20 PM   #17
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GFCI vs Grounding a two wire house


Ground fault circuit interrupters provide almost perfect protection against electrocution but does not protect equipment from power surges (power line overvoltage irregularities).

Proper grounding of branch circuits provides some added protection to plugged in equipment in case of a lightning strike and makes possible the use of surge protectors for electronics, and in the absence of GFCI units provides a small amount of protection against electrocution.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:50 AM   #18
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GFCI vs Grounding a two wire house


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Here's issue #1. We requested that all the ungrounded three prong outlets be connected to ground as part of our repair agreement. ... What he did was add a GFCI outlet (still ungrounded) to each circuit. ...Is it up to code on any level, or is it a cheap/lazy hack?
I'm not sure why you're getting the technical answers to your questions, but not the practical answers.

You got ripped off. It probably doesn't matter if you signed anything, you obviously didn't get what you asked for. This is essentially a legal matter now and up to you how you want to pursue it. Personally I'd definitely pursue it.

Is it up to code on any level? Well, yeah, assuming the GFCI have been installed properly, they will meet code as outlets. However, they are not marked "No Ground", therefore they're not completely up to code. Of course they would not label them such, because then you'd know they're not grounded.

Is it a cheap/lazy hack? I don't think so. It's just something different. Depends on the electrician's/previous owner's intent, which you can't know. But you did get ripped off. Ground and GFCI are each safe in their own way, but they each protect against different things, and they can't cover for each other (i.e. grounding doesn't help with GFCI issues, and GFCI doesn't help with grounding issues.)
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:40 AM   #19
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GFCI vs Grounding a two wire house


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Ground fault circuit interrupters provide almost perfect protection against electrocution...
It does not. It provides almost perfect protection against only specific causes of electrocution. For example, if a child takes 2 butter knives and sticks one in each hole of a GFCI receptacle, the child is not protected in any way. As far as the receptacle is concerned, the child is an appliance operating correctly and will let the current flow.

Of course, proper grounding won't help this situation either....
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:14 AM   #20
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GFCI vs Grounding a two wire house


I have read several posts, on this web site about changing 2-prong receptacles to 3-prong receptacles. I am still confused if I can safely do the following: My daughter's recently purchased 1952 home with BX cable (2 conductor) wired (with steel boxes) has all 2-prong receptacles, except in the kitchen where there are GFCIs. With each 2-prong outlet, if I first determine that I have a proper ground between the hot conductor and steel box (by using a 100w incandescent bulb as my tester). Then next, if I affix a ground wire pigtail to the back of the steel box and to the new 3-prong receptacle ground screw, will this serve as a proper and safe grounded 3-prong receptacle?
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:03 AM   #21
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GFCI vs Grounding a two wire house


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I have read several posts, on this web site about changing 2-prong receptacles to 3-prong receptacles. I am still confused if I can safely do the following: My daughter's recently purchased 1952 home with BX cable (2 conductor) wired (with steel boxes) has all 2-prong receptacles, except in the kitchen where there are GFCIs. With each 2-prong outlet, if I first determine that I have a proper ground between the hot conductor and steel box (by using a 100w incandescent bulb as my tester). Then next, if I affix a ground wire pigtail to the back of the steel box and to the new 3-prong receptacle ground screw, will this serve as a proper and safe grounded 3-prong receptacle?
Maybe. Newer BX cable has a copper bonding wire in tbe cable along with the insulated conductors, this will provide a proper ground. Older BX does not have the bonding wire and the only ground is the steel jacket. This is not a reliable ground as the jacket can rust and become high resistance.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:07 AM   #22
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GFCI vs Grounding a two wire house


I'm still mulling this one over.

I definitely didn't get the actual repairs I requested, but I think the price difference between rewiring and what he did would be significant. My original request was to ground all the three prong outlets that were present during the home inspection, which may have been 10 out of the 30 upstairs outlets. Now that everything has been changed to three prong, I don't think there is a good record of which ones were original. I did sign a statement at closing saying I was satisfied with the repairs, so I believe the seller is off the hook. I guess the only liability I could prove is if the electrician misled the seller in saying this repair satisfied the request. But I'm not a lawyer...

I'm starting to think I might run a nice thick ground wire from my electronics outlets to the breaker box and just enjoy my new house.

Anyways... Are there any theories on my second issue, the two circuits testing to the same breaker?
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:22 AM   #23
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I'm starting to think I might run a nice thick ground wire from my electronics outlets to the breaker box and just enjoy my new house.
If you are going to that much work, why not just run a whole new cable with a ground and be 100% . Same a amount of labor, little more material cost.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:24 AM   #24
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I did sign a statement at closing saying I was satisfied with the repairs, so I believe the seller is off the hook.
I don't think so, but it's up to you.

Let's say he painted your house. Your closing is on a nice sunny day and it looks fine. The day after closing it rains, and the paint washes off your house. Turns out it he used watercolor paint. He is not off the hook just because you said you were satisfied. What were you supposed to do, hose down the house before you bought it? No, you assume that, beyond appearing OK, it was painted with an acceptable paint.

If you requested grounded outlets and he installed GFCI outlets and the outlets were not marked "Not Grounded", then he installed them incorrectly (not to code). However, it was not obvious that they were not to code, because you would assume they were grounded. Therefore, either
a) the electrician was incompetent because he didn't install the equipment to code, or
b) they intentionally ripped you off

Those are the only 2 choices. You "accepting" the work as it appeared to be does not change that. There is no way by looking at it that you could tell it's either not to code, or that you got ripped off.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:38 AM   #25
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GFCI vs Grounding a two wire house


"I did sign a statement at closing saying I was satisfied with the repairs, so I believe the seller is off the hook."
I am not one to encourage lawsuits but your reluctance to pursue a legal remedy seems hinged upon your signing off on the work. Ask your attorney (many offer free initial consultations) about the effect of the electrician failing to label each GFCI as ungrounded as required by code. Ask if such a failure constitutes fraud and negates the effect of the statement you signed. And of course, remind him that you lack expertise in the matter of electrical wiring and that as a result of lack of expertise you relied upon the honesty, integrity and professional competence of the electrician.
You could ground every outlet if you prefer but you will be doing a lot of work. Basically the work that you paid for.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:43 AM   #26
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Agreed. If the agreement literally specified that a ground be installed, then that agreement was violated. The fact that he claimed to be an expert-- a "master electrician"-- indicates that he knew the difference between a grounded electrical system and one protected with GFCI and no ground. The fact that he did not apply stickers at each GFCI receptacle denoting "no equipment ground" as specified in several recent versions of the NEC indicates an attempt to conceal the deception.

They must have had absolutely no electrical code in your area in 1968 for a house to be constructed without an electrical ground. This practice had stopped several years earlier just about everywhere in the USA.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:10 PM   #27
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The fact that he did not apply stickers at each GFCI receptacle denoting "no equipment ground" as specified in several recent versions of the NEC indicates an attempt to conceal the deception.
A judge will see only 2 possibilities - intentional deception, or incompetence. And those are actually the only 2 logical possibilities.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:53 PM   #28
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"A judge will see only 2 possibilities - intentional deception, or incompetence. And those are actually the only 2 logical possibilities"
Agreed. End result= breach of contract. Judgement in favor of plaintiff.
I keep thinking or those labels that appear on appliances saying that they must be connected to a grounded outlet as per manufacture's recommendation. I never saw a label that said you could choose between a grounded outlet or a GFCI.
But honestly, I doubt this case will ever see a courtroom. Unfortunately, lawyer fees and court costs, though routinely requested, are not routinely granted.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:55 PM   #29
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But honestly, I doubt this case will ever see a courtroom.
No. But when mediating, the parties discuss how a judge would rule, to come to an agreement.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:03 PM   #30
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GFCI vs Grounding a two wire house


We have become a DIY legal forum

It has been rehashed enough

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