Ungrounded GFCI + Surge Protector - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-15-2009, 02:55 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 10

Ungrounded GFCI + Surge Protector

I have a receptacle in my house with an open ground. Almost all of the house is done with knob and tube wiring, but the boxes are grounded, somehow...

Anyways, this one box is not grounded. I'd like to put my cable modem and router there, but I definately want them to be surge protected, as I live in Tucson, AZ, and we have frequent lightning storms, and I've already had a laptop power supply get fried when it wasn't protected.

I understand that I can "sort of" create a ground using a GFCI. My question is whether this quasi-ground will help the surge protector or not. Will the surge protector be totally ineffective in an ungrounded outlet?

What if I pigtail the neutral wire to the grounding port of the GFCI, in addition to the neutral? I know that in general this is a bad plan, although I'm not entirely clear on all the reasons why, but could the GFCI help in some way?

I know that the best option would be to get an actual ground into the box, but there's no easy way to do that. Should I just skip it entirely and put the cable modem in another room, on a grounded receptacle? Even if this is what I end up doing, I'd like to know the answers to the other questions too.

Thanks for the help!


squigish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2009, 04:36 PM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000

Originally Posted by squigish View Post
Will the surge protector be totally ineffective in an ungrounded outlet?
At best, it will only suppress line-to-line surges, not line-to-ground.


Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2009, 09:49 PM   #3
Electrical Contractor
kbsparky's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Delmarva
Posts: 3,368
Rewards Points: 2,000

Good surge protectors require a properly wired grounded outlet. The use of a GFCI device to circumvent the grounding requirement is allowable for personnel protection. Meaning it will help you to survive a ground-fault shock condition.

It is not much good for protection of equipment, however.

Life is uncertain -- eat dessert first!!
kbsparky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2009, 10:08 PM   #4
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Brooklyn, New York (NYC)
Posts: 1,124
Rewards Points: 500

Confusing GFCI (protection) with ground

To poster #1. You are apparently confusing GFCI protection with Ground protection. To have GFCI protection (for personal safety) where there is no ground is OK. But for the proper functioning of equipment (beside the safety aspect) you need to have a properly grounded power supply.(Now more than ever)Don't Drink and Drive!!!
spark plug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2009, 04:45 PM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 10

What about bonding the neutral and ground in the box? Will the GFCI protection enable me to do this?

Also, why exactly is this a bad idea in general?
squigish is offline   Reply With Quote

gfci , open ground receptacle , surge protector

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Making a ground for a surge protector Resilient Electrical 4 07-13-2009 07:11 PM
Is it a hazard to plug a surge protector into an ungrounded GFI outlet? CuriousWithQuestions Electrical 7 02-01-2008 09:04 PM
integrating electrical surge protector into wall? aznboi04k Electrical 3 11-23-2005 10:01 AM

Top of Page | View New Posts


Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1