Boot leg dialog

Hey all. Anyone have a premade comments for describing a boot leg ground, why it’s dangerous in a language that your typical home buyers might understand.? I just can’t seem to get one right, when I try to explain, I see I lost them. Perhaps a walk trough scenario that would demonstrate the danger?

Thanks, Rich

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Try this:

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You don’t need a separate explanation for a bootleg ground. All you need is to state in the report that miswired outlets can result in: dead outlets, electric shock, or fires. Trying to explain how the electrical system works is beyond what most people want to know. If they do want to know they can look it up or you can provide a link.


Richard, I am curious, how do you find bootleg grounds? and how often? Do you remove cover plate to confirm?

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Hi Simon. When I inspect I always start at the electric meter/ main. Easy to tell right there if the home is wired with NM with ground or without. Thats the first indicator Anyting built before 1965 second indicator. Once inside if the general purpose recepticals are 3 prong and the little 3 light plug in tester shows correct wiring with ground, I pull the cover to confirm a false or bootleg ground. Photo it, report it
For others interested I bought the Extech CT80 at the convention a few years ago specifically to check for excessive voltage drops in homes with Zinsco panels, common in our area. Big voltage drop under load is a good indicator of a burnt main buss. This meter can also measure resistance between the grounded and grounding conductors,bootleg ground has very little resistance

I run into bootleg grounds on most homes pre 1965 that are built on a monolithic slab, raised foundation homes usually retrofit with a ground wire from underneath

Dave, exactly what I was looking for. I can easily edit this down for my purposes

David. Thank you for sharing that. Good reading.

This is what I use. Find them often with flippers replacing two prong receptacles with three prong receptacles and try the fool the inspectors.

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From the InterNACHI Narrative Library
[[Bootleg ground- QC]]One or more electrical receptacles in the _____ had bootleg grounds. “Bootleg” ground is the term used to describe a condition in which, in a home with no equipment grounding system and that has had had 3-prong receptacles installed, the grounding lugs of receptacles have been connected with a conductor to the neutral conductor serving that receptacle. This condition is a potential electrical shock/electrocution hazard. The Inspector recommends that before the expiration of your Inspection Objection Deadline, that an evaluation of the home electrical system and any necessary work be performed by a qualified electrical contractor.

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I didn’t even no that we had an inspection narrative library. This is exactly what I was looking for

Kenton sells them at

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Evening, Richard. Hope this post finds you well.
Using the same equipment, Extech CT80 as well an Extech CT70 seeing the Extech CT80 series is no longer sold, I do drop voltage along 15-20 amp lighting circuits along with AFCI & GFCI testing, what to your consider significant enough drop voltage to consider reporting? As well, any articles to correlate you reporting decisions on significant drop voltage anomalies or safety issues beside NEC dV guidelines.
Looking forward to your reply.

Evening once again. May I correct your narrative on this dangerous miswired symptom?
The acronym would be, RPBG or Reverse Polarity- Bootleg Ground. That requires 2 mswired anomalies.
I use a non contact volt tester to locate and verify RPBG.

I report anything over 5% at the 12 amp test load as a potential performance and durability issue. As the lower voltage causes any items in use on the circuit to draw more amperage, potentially overheating

I would use two comments one to describe the reversed polarity and a second to describe the bootleg or false ground as they are 2 separate issues

Why 12 Amps. Lighting Circuits are 15 amp. Cable AWG is 14/2.

Actually I consider Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground a most very-dangerous miswiring instance. EC&M Failures in Outlet Testing Exposed.

Represents 80% loading on the circuit, typically what a circuit is designed to carry as a continuous load

Still not following you.
Skip the 80% load facture. Start by explaining; “How do you follow a circuit.”

Sorry for the edit: This product has been discontinued. Replaced by CT70 - GFCI and AC Circuit Analyzer

To further my explanation of your analyses, Represents 80% loading on the circuit, and as I requested, avoid NEC, Branch circuit conductors shall have an ampacity not less than the maximum load to be served [210.19(A)(1)]. *Note: The term continuous load is in more than one article in the NEC. Article 100. A load is where the maximum current is expected to continue for three hours or more.
So again I ask, for the sake of learning, how do you measure Vd along a lighting circuit?

Just something to note that lower voltage does not cause resistive loads to draw more current it would cause them to draw less current. Something like a heater or hair dryer would still work just at a lower output.