Open Ground

This last house had loose electrical receptacles…broken receptacles…FPE panel…etc. So yes I am going to defer to an electrician on these issues…but I still want to know why this may have happened…cuz I like to have the info.

After much searching on the old board and the new board…I found lots of great info and saved it to my HI folder for the future…including a great page at CPSC for 2 prongers…I also saw much debate over cheapie 3 prong testers and sure test and fluke and etc.

I use the cheapie…and on several receptacles in this home it showed an open ground…unless I moved it and held it just right with one leg off the ground and my tongue sticking out the left side…then it would light up just right. Is this because the receptacle is loose…meaning the connection to the actual males…meaning the insides are loose? Or is it a loose connection to ground? What could it be…thanks!

Could be your tester, or it could be the receptacle. Be sure and carry 3 or 4 of those tester with you and verify bad readings with another. They wear out quickly and give poor or inaccurate readings.

I carry several testers. When things start testing weird, I change up for a better reference.

It could be any of those. I also use the cheep tester but I carry at least three with me. They do seem to wear out over time. I had an inspection where my partner was finding all open grounds and I was finding none, she did change to another tester and all was well.
But if you are getting a ground by wiggling the tester than it could be bad outlet or a loose ground wire. Refer to qualified electrician.
Hopefully the homes will get better.


I had several testers…it did the same thing with all of them…I read that tip from others and bought 3 of them :wink:


If the receptacle is loose and the ground is shaky I would suspect they are using the mounting screws as the grounding connection. There are devices designed for that but those that aren’t will act like you describe.

I find it pretty easy to guess the age of a receptical by looking at it. in gereral, if it’s “linnen white” or arctic white, chances are it’s newer.(that color has only been used for a short time, 10 years or so, and they dull fast, especialy in a house of smokers.) if the outlet is older, the heat makes them brittle and the first spot to break is the thin spot below the ground ( closest to the plate cover.). usualy, if the home owner replaces the outlets, they usualy do the switches too. that ones easier 'cuz they get dirty quick from peoples hands and what not. i’ve noticed most outlets loose there “holding” power after about 15 years or so, and won’t hold a plug or tester. I had one house riddled with outlets that kept dropping my tester to the floor.

Ditto, except my “she” was a “he.”