opinions on GFCI outlets for non grounded oputlets

Would like you opinions on adding GFCI outlets for non grounded existing outlets.

The NEC take on it is “better than nothing”. If you can’t get a ground there it is an option.

GFCI’s can protect non grounded circuits if installed properly. I’m now waiting for one of the 'Sparky’s" to explain it so that I can understand it. Thanks

More specifically, GFCIs “give some protection” to users when a ground is not present. If there is a ground fault, probably through the user, the GFCI will trip. This certainly adds a level of safety for any outlet. If 3 wire attached equipment develops a “hot” to case failure, the GFCI will trip. The thing it won’t do is give your surge protector a grounding path so it won’t help much on your electronics.

Christian, here is the non-sparky version: A gfci measures the difference between the supply voltage on the hot (ungrounded conductor) and the return voltage on the neutral (grounded conductor). where there is a difference the GFCI trips it is assuming another path for voltage to ground exists (probably through some one holding a piece of ungrounded equipment and providing that path to ground through their body).

Does that do it for you?



Wrong Gerry. Current not voltage.


Starting in Oct. the new GFCI’s will not work without an equipment grounding conductor.

I spoke to a rep from NFPA and a rep from UL about this.

I believe you are correct as this ensures a better internal test function.

On the comment from Gerry…lol…that’s why electricians explain it fella…lol…man I hate the term sparky…lol

What are your thoughts on Reddy KilowattPaul?

lol…do you mean what do I think of the little lightning bolt fella…lol


Gerry your answer is wrong - (Think I better check your online electrical course for errors)

Small current difference between neutral and hot trips the breaker. If there is a lack of balance it must be going to ground - thus a ground fault

Just a thought – many two prong outlets are mounted in GROUNDED metal boxes. Just install the GFCI and ground it to the box. If there is enough ground wire run it up to the GFCI and take a jumper to the box.

In this area of Florida one has to look to find two wire homes

lol…I think the online one it correct…lol…

Good ghost writer

I think most of Florida actually had this in the code for decades. My 1963 house in Lee County has grounded Romex (16ga). We also have the EMT sleeves on all the outside walls and 1.5" x 1/8" steel hurricane straps in the bond beam. That exceeds current code.

I stand corrected, only goes to show that one shouldn’t post on the way back from the pub :wink:



Dun that be 4

lol…I just bought a HP IPAQ 2495B Pocket PC and now if they have wireless I can POST while at the PUB…now that should be interesting…lol

I have avoided going that route due to the demonstrated problem of engaging keyboard while brain is disengaged.

Must be beer O’clock somewhere by now :wink:



A previous post in this thread indicated that beginning in October, GFCI’s will not function in the absence of an EGC. This would eliminate the ability of people with homes with ungrounded systems to add GFCI protection without runnning an EGC. I looked into this a bit, and all I could find is that the revision to UL standard 943, which becomes effective July 28 of this year, requires GFCIs to have an end-of life provision and to not function in the event of a line-load miswire. If someone can point me to a pending provision purportedly requiring the presence of an EGC for the GFCI to operate, I’d appreciate it.