While I don't recommend it, I have seen the ground used to serve as the neutral for a switch like that. Completely non-code compliant, but it 'works.' I have also seen people ground a three prong receptacle through the neutral to get it to pass a plug tester inspection. We started requiring no face plates and 'receptacles must be left out of the box for inspection' after somebody got caught doing that.I don't think I can do it myself. Do you know what would be the approximate price range for this kind of work if I hire an electrician?
I agree completely, and don't recommend it at all. I think it should be mentioned under the 'never do this' category of advice. NEVER use the ground wire for anything other than an Equipment Ground. The service ground (AKA neutral) must be completely separate from the EG.Using the ground as the neutral HAS killed people before. Don't do it.
Then WHY say: "While I don't recommend it, I have seen the ground used to serve as the neutral for a switch like that. Completely non-code compliant, but it 'works.'" ????I agree completely, and don't recommend it at all. I think it should be mentioned under the 'never do this' category of advice.
Well, point taken. I wasn't very emphatic in my statement, I grant you. Perhaps I'm jaded, as I work in the regulatory field and see people do stuff like this a lot. It would get flagged on a field inspection and the inspector could have the utility company cut your power off until you fixed it, wired it correctly.Then WHY say: "While I don't recommend it, I have seen the ground used to serve as the neutral for a switch like that. Completely non-code compliant, but it 'works.'" ????
NO, it does NOT work. It creates a situation that is potentially VERY dangerous and needs not be mentioned.
This was a well documented case that got a lot of media attention. LOTS of finger pointing. The ones ultimately responsible got jail time as well if I remember correctly.We had a case here about 7 years ago where somebody used the ground as the common in a three way switch. It 'worked' in the sense that the switch performed as intended. Unfortunately, there was a short somewhere else (garage door opener) and since the ground had been bypassed/removed, an open short was created that resulted in a fatality.
Probab;ly an open neutral rather than a short.Unfortunately, there was a short somewhere else (garage door opener) and since the ground had been bypassed/removed, an open short was created that resulted in a fatality
i think you're right about the open neutral, actually. It was some years ago and as I recall the child was wet and touched the garage door. I remember it was because the ground was used in a three-way switch, but it was probably an open neutral. In any event, this was a 'no permit' pulled job done by an unqualified person.Probab;ly an open neutral rather than a short.
The real danger here is if you get an open neutral, the current will follow the ground path and energize anything plugged in or gooked up to a ground wire. In the garage door/wet kid case the current likely flowed thru the ground pin on the GDO, thru the metal components, thru the kid and into the wet cement driveway.
Don't use ground for a neutral.
I would completely agree! I just found a nightmare in my new house, trying to figure out how everything is wired. Some idiot took a 12/3 piece of wire to feed a downstairs hallway light (ok overkill but not the issue). The light is connected with the red and the white wires while the black wire is stripped, but not connected to anything, and the ground at the light clipped off (also a 100 watt bulb in a socket rated for 60 watts). In the switch box, I find a SWITCH LOOP feeding the other fixtures in the basement and the neutral wire from the light connected to the ground wires!!! Oh and the black wire is just taped up in the box (the one not connected at the light) and the red wire is actually wrapped around the screw on the switch (where the switch loop wires are backstabbed).Anyone who even suggests using a ground for neutral should be banned from posting in the eletrical forum.
Be careful! I was tracing a door bell wire in my basement and found some old BX cable coiled up on the top of the HVAC duct work. I started to grab it for a closer look, then thought better of it. Abut 8 inches of wire was out of the metal cable so I checked with a pen tester. Beep! Beep! Beep! Yep it was hot alright! No telling how long it had been up there, just cut off and coiled up on top of my duct work.its been a nightmare opening the boxes to see what I will find next!
after I capped and taped the hot and neutral.