GFCI Questions

Couple questions.

I have been using the same gfi tester for a couple years, and have never had any problems. I checked out a house today that had new GFCIs installed recently. The house was built in the 50s and has no ground wires. The electrician said the gfis were installed to protect computer equipment…(That is not what I thought gfis were meant for.) They were installed in the den and living room. My tester would not trip them. I would however trip the older ones in the bathrooms. The electrician told me that may tester wasn’t worth…and that they worked fine. Anyone heard of anything like this?

When I pointed out that the 20 amp breakers in the panel appeared to have 14 guage wire, the same inspector told me that I was wrong. I know sometimes that the guage is hard to tell from looking at the wire, but there happened to be what appeared as a 12 guage wire right below it to another 20 amp breaker. Placed side by side, it is easier to tell the size. He still said I was wrong and gave me his strippers to measure. I measured a ground wire on what I thought was 14g and was right. He then told me that the ground wires are always a size smaller thant the hot and neutral wires in the same romex sheath. Anyone have any input on that?

Lastly, he wired two hot legs (12g each and apparently to a ceiling fan) into one 20 amp breaker (an old FPE made for only one wire). When I pointed out a double-tap, he was adament that that was fine so long as they were servicing the same appliance…???

Yes`you need a ground to use your tester.
Test with the buttons on the GFCI.
Not as good a system as having a proper ground but it does offer some protection to the home owner.
You are correct double taps are wrong.
you can not have parallel feeds in a home.

Roy Cooke

If that breaker was not designated for multiple wires he was not correct, no matter what he was running. If he wanted to run two items off the same breaker he could have installed a junction box outside the panel and made the splice in there, and then proceeded with one wire into the service panel and into the breaker. Then it would be to code. One wire breakers are designed by the manufacturer for one wire only…not even an electrician can over-ride their specs.

Yes, it can be done, yes, it works…but it ain’t right!

Also in regards to the GFCI question…Your little 3 lite tester will not trip a GFCI outlet if it is wired with the old 2 wire, no ground system. You will have to rely on the built-in tester to test the GFCI. And they do still give added protection to the home-owners but they are still not grounded, and are supposed to be marked as such to let people know they are not grounded! Just installing a GFCI does not provide ground proctection…for more technical info on how a GFCI actually works, look up the elec. geru (Paul )
It doesn’t have anything to do with the ground, it actually detects differences between the hot and neutral wires and is designed to trip at a certain level of intolerance. The ones that did trip in the bathroom, likely had newer wiring with ground.