Upgrading A Old Receptacle To GFCI... - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
Advertisement


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

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes
Old 01-06-2010, 08:48 AM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 11
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Upgrading a old receptacle to GFCI...


Hey everyone

Alrighty, I live in an old house with a lot of electrical issues. One of them is the fact there is an outlet in the basement (next to a shower stall) and from what I've been told is not grounded. There is a 3 prong faceplate on it, but like rest of the house (lots of 2 prong only outlets), I believe it isn't actually grounded.

I called an electrician and they had a look and suggested that they be upgraded to GFCIs.

Now I have very limited electrical knowledge but am smart enough to know when something is over my head. Through the various research I've done, it doesn't appear that this task is too complicated.

However, I have 2 issues.

I have a "Screwdriver voltage and continuity" tester. I've tested it and found that it is working properly. When I put the tester tip into the outlet, it does not glow. I don't know why this is. If I plug an entension cord into the outlet and test the plugs on the extension cord, it does glow.

I plugged in a lamp directly into the outlet, and sure enough, the lamp came on.

So I turned off the breaker to the outlet. The lamp goes off, ok good sign.

However, I found with the breaker still off, if I insert the tip into the ground prong, it does glow.

Is this normal? Is the power to this outlet actually off?

Thanks.

Last edited by alexd1983; 01-06-2010 at 08:51 AM.
alexd1983 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 01-06-2010, 08:57 AM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 1,802
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default


Non-contact testers can sometimes show a false positive due to "phantom voltage". If you are going to be doing a lot of work on the the house, I would suggest a Wiggy tester.

Last edited by jerryh3; 01-06-2010 at 09:04 AM.
jerryh3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 01-06-2010, 09:13 AM   #3
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 11
Rewards Points: 10
Default


So in this situation, am I safe to work on this outlet?
alexd1983 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 01-06-2010, 09:18 AM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 1,802
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default


Quote:
Originally Posted by alexd1983 View Post
So in this situation, am I safe to work on this outlet?
If the lamp(I'm assuming you are using an incandescent table lamp) goes off when you turn off the breaker, the circuit is most likely dead.
jerryh3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2010, 03:46 PM   #5
Member
 
Knucklez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 1,120
Rewards Points: 1,002
Default


seems to me you're going about things the right way.

your electrician gave you good advice. the quickest/legal way to "fix" old house wiring is to upgrade the recepticals to GFI. it is not good to have 3 prong outlet when the wiring does NOT actually include the ground wire (common scenario for old house wiring). unfortuantly, the GFI solution is expensive. and also, how easy is it for you to determine which recetpical is the first in the rung. also, GFI can only protect so many items.. on the load side. so it gets difficult and confusing quickly.

and you're still left with OLD WIRING. and if the house is really old... well, your wiring is really old too! so how safe is the GFI solution anyway? ha.

so obviously the solution is to upgrade the house wiring properly.

the quote for a typical 2 story home of 2000 sq. feet in my area is around $7500 for electrician to do this work. expect the pros to take a weekend to complete wiring.

you can do it yourself for about $500 (not including cost of permits and to fix any damage you make in your walls/ceiling during the process). expect DIY work to take at least a month...

Knucklez
__________________
"if you can't be handsome, at least you can be handy" -Redgreen
Knucklez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2010, 08:37 PM   #6
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 11
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Well I did it...


I managed to change the receptacle successfully. Honestly, I was worried about getting electrocuted, as my tester did glow upon contact with the wires. But, I took my chances and ended up without any incidents. I figured if the lamp had no power with the breaker off, then I was alright.

The wiring in this house is really stupid. I have all the receptacles on the second floor on their own circuit except for one bedroom. This bedroom upstairs, oddly enough is also connected to the receptacle I changed in the basement.

This house is full of things like that though. Everything seems wired very randomly. A light over the washer and dryer has its own breaker.

We would also like to add receptacles to the basement, as I have an "office" down here. Currently, I've got my computer and peripherals running off an extension cord. I know this is unsafe, but I still have to figure out how to mount the receptacles. It's an unfinished basement with painted concrete floors, no drywall, open joists and ducts, painted foundation walls. The two receptacles that are down here are mounted on wood boards.
alexd1983 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2010, 09:35 PM   #7
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 11
Rewards Points: 10
Thumbs down


Also, I'm confused now about the whole point of this device. If it detects a "ground fault", my understading is (correct me if I'm wrong) it is supposed to cut the power, before serious injury can occur. Yet, in the instructions it says "A GFCI receptacle does not protect against circuit overload, short circuits, or shocks. For example, you can still be shocked if you touch bare wires while standing on a conducting surface such as cement or grease".

So what is the point, if it doesn't really protect you? What am I missing?

Thanks! Sorry for bein' a noob at this. I sense the facepalmming of the skilled electricians right now....

Last edited by alexd1983; 01-06-2010 at 10:43 PM. Reason: Removed bit about Red Light.... re-wired -- correctly this time! D'oh
alexd1983 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2010, 10:35 PM   #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 9
Rewards Points: 10
Default

GFCI not shock proof


A GFCI is designed to spare your life not prevent shocks. During a fault to ground, and you being the path to ground, the GFCI receptacle or breaker is designed to detect a reduction in voltage between hot and neutral which opens the circuit. During this initial fault (theoretically, and I would hate to be the one personally testing this) you will still get shocked in that millisecond that it occurs, you just shouldn't be dead.

Hope this clarifies things.
texelect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2010, 04:59 AM   #9
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 11
Rewards Points: 10
Default

wel the red light still came back on


Previously, I had the red light come on and I thought I may have wired the receptacle wrong. I double checked my connections and found in fact, I had done it wrong.

I had looped the wires "clockwise" around the screws -- when really they should have been straight and gone into the holes in the back of the receptacle, then secured.

I kept an eye on it for about 10 minutes before I went to bed. Green light on, no red light, good.

But coming down here now, I see the red light is back on (along with green). So I am a little stumped by this.

What should I do?

Thanks

Edit: 12 hours later, the light was still on, but looking up at it now (moments later) it is off.... what is going on?

Last edited by alexd1983; 01-07-2010 at 04:09 PM.
alexd1983 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 01:05 PM   #10
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 11
Rewards Points: 10
Default


anyone? Or are you all stumped? lol
alexd1983 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 02:15 PM   #11
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 1,802
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default


Quote:
Originally Posted by alexd1983 View Post
anyone? Or are you all stumped? lol
Sounds like a loose connection. Is this a three light tester?
jerryh3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2010, 11:11 AM   #12
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 11
Rewards Points: 10
Default


I have attached pictures of the tester I have as well as the receptacle that I bought.

The wired connections inside are not loose.

Would it have anything to do with the fact that there is that second receptacle upstairs on the same circuit?
Attached Images
   
alexd1983 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2010, 04:45 PM   #13
retired elect/hvac/plumb
 
plummen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: south east of omaha/The island of misfit contractors
Posts: 2,921
Rewards Points: 2,020
Default


make sure to hook your supply side wiring to the line side of gfi,load side is to protect down stream plugs fed on same circuit
plummen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2010, 01:40 PM   #14
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 11
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Still having this problem...


This is the third time I've taken apart the receptacle and checked my connections. White on silver, black on bronze, both on LINE.

I turn on the breaker. green light comes on.. great.

About 10 minutes passed and the red light came on again too.

With this receptacle I only have 2 wires, black and white. Upstairs, there is another receptacle on the same circuit. I asked this question previously, without any response.

Is this other outlet upstairs causing this problem? The outlet upstairs has 4 wires going to it.
alexd1983 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2010, 05:13 PM   #15
retired elect/hvac/plumb
 
plummen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: south east of omaha/The island of misfit contractors
Posts: 2,921
Rewards Points: 2,020
Default


check for loose connection on plug that is feeding it.if the upstairs plug is used as a junction remove the wires andpigtail them inside the box before they attach to plug,that way if the upstairs plug quits it not affecting the next in line
plummen is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply


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
Replacing a standard receptacle with a GFCI dsb Electrical 5 05-31-2009 09:08 PM
GFCI and Switched Receptacle cygnl7 Electrical 14 12-01-2008 07:14 AM
gfci receptacle not working peterkim Electrical 2 03-18-2008 07:12 PM
GFCI receptacle gets tripped by hallway light proofer Electrical 10 03-17-2008 07:29 PM
Bathroom Remodel GFCI Receptacle Lilshaving Electrical 4 02-24-2008 10:07 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts