I did an inspection today and found one of the oddest things I’ve ever seen: 4 of the circuits had old cloth-covered wiring with an insulated hot wire and bare neutral that looked like a grounding wire typically does.
I thought at first the neutrals had been clipped off, but upon closer examination the bare wires were the neutrals.
I traced one of the wires, and surely enough, the bare wire was wired to the neutral terminal of the outlet and – get this – bonded to the metal enclosure.
While this is definitely a bad configuration, the worst thing seems to be to be connecting the enclosure to a current-carrying wire, which I told the client should be disconnected, with the bare wire just wired directly to the neutral terminal of the outlet, and not touching any other metal parts to make it less unsafe.
The main functional problem appears to be the increased likelihood of a short circuit due to penetration of the outer sheathing.
I recommended the client have a qualified, licensed electrician look at it, of course.
Have any of you seen this sort of wiring before?
What do you make of it?