Ungrounded receptacle reporting question

Hello all,

New to the forums, and I assume this has been asked before, but I saw that there are 175 pages in the electrical section alone, so…

I have been doing practice inspections and have come across some older houses (1920s to 1950s) with original wiring.

My question is regarding reporting open ground (un-grounded) receptacles in rooms that are not near water (bedrooms, basement rec room). Is it necessary to call these out as a safety issue? My reading so far doesn’t seem to be completely clear on this matter, though it is very clear in the vicinity of water, where I will certainly call it out. The paper form I am presently using (AHIT) seems to leave room for discretion.

Thanks in advance,
Tim

The problem with an ungrounded receptacle is that people feel the need to take out the 2 prong receptacle and install a 3 prong receptacle. They then plug in their big screen TV and carry on. The TV is now susceptible to surges in power or lightning. The bonding is an equipment ground not a earth ground. The neutral wire is the ground in the case of a two wire system. That is why it needs to be called out for repair.

Call them out, but go light on the safety issue maybe.

First off, there is absolutely nothing wrong with them if they have two prong polarized receptacle, assuming they are wired correctly. It will be obvious to everyone that is ungrounded, but you won’t be able to plug in say, a TV or some power tools that have three prong plugs.

If, as is usually the case, they have been replaced with a three prong receptacle, it is wrong because people might think they have a ground but don’t. This is more of a problem for expensive electronic devices such as computers or home theatre stuff, which can be damaged by a surge that would have been diverted by properly grounded wiring.

Where it can become a hazard for people is if you plug in some kind of appliance or fixture, such as a table light, AND if you touch metal that is actually part of the circuit, such as the lamp base, AND you are in contact with the earth in some way, such as a touching a metal water line or gas line, you MIGHT get shocked, IF the neutral wire is also grounded, or you will most definitely get shocked if the light or receptacle is wired incorrectly so that the metal you touch is ‘hot’

You can have an ungrounded “3 Prong” GFCI but it should be marked as having no ground. There are stickers that come in the package with the receptacle.

Good to go but try finding anyone doing it.

Do lamps have a ground pin in Canada?

Jeff

Polarized 2 prong plugs but old lamps do not have that feature. You know how it is when you have that one metal lamp handed down from family to family. Place it always seems to go is in the living room.

· **Safety Issue:**Older ungrounded outlets have been replaced with modern three-slot grounded-type outlets LOC; however, it appears the original wiring serving the outlets was not upgraded to grounded wiring. This represents a safety hazard since grounded appliances with three-prong plugs can be plugged into the ungrounded outlet, risking possible shock should the appliance malfunction. In some cases, grounded appliances can be damaged if plugged into an ungrounded outlet. A grounded circuit should be provided for all three-slot outlets.
You should engage a qualified electrician to discuss the best course of action for upgrading to grounded outlets. Repairs should be undertaken as deemed necessary by the electrician.In the meantime, do not plug three-prong cords into the outlet.

· **Safety Issue:**Older ungrounded outlets have been replaced with modern three-slot grounded-type outlets LOC; however, it appears the original wiring serving the outlets was not upgraded to grounded wiring. This represents a safety hazard since grounded appliances with three-prong plugs can be plugged into the ungrounded outlet, risking possible shock should the appliance malfunction. In some cases, grounded appliances can be damaged if plugged into an ungrounded outlet. A grounded circuit should be provided for all three-slot outlets.
You should engage a qualified electrician to discuss the best course of action for upgrading to grounded outlets. Repairs should be undertaken as deemed necessary by the electrician.In the meantime, do not plug three-prong cords into the outlet.

An ungrounded 3 prong receptacle is no more susceptible to a surge than with a 2 prong receptacle.

A neutral is not a ground on a two wire system. It is a grounded conductor. This is different than a grounding conductor.

Thanks to all for the replies. They are about what I was suspecting, with some good terminology for use in future reporting.

Any appliance with a three-prong plug needs to be used with a three-prong receptacle. Appliance warranties will not be honored if the third prong outlet is not grounded. Washers, garage door openers, disposals, microwaves, etc.

short version:
if theres a ground conductor and no ground, write it up.

Fix options, label it- no equipment ground, install a GFI, or put it back to a 2 prong style.
If it meets the criteria for the fix options, you might want to mention it as a note, but it wouldn’t be a defect then.

Not really a big deal, but you should include it in the report, very common in older homes.

This one does :slight_smile:

Same s h i t, different day.

We we speaking of a GROUNDED receptacle or a GROUNDING receptacle? HUGE DIFFERENCE.

Who says that two-prong receptacles are not grounded? You need to look at the distribution cable. It may have a ground conductor, or maybe it’s armor shielded with ground. Has NOTHING to do with the physical receptacle and EVERYTHING to do with the cable connecting it to the serving panel.

Go back to basics, please…

A ground wire or grounding means from the serving panel and bonded to the electrical box is mechanically and electrically bonded to the receptacle vis mounting screws or other means. The third prong on a GROUNDING receptacle simply extends the system ground to an apparatus that requires it.

Want to know if the receptacle is GROUNDED?
Look at what is feeding it first and foremost.

2-prong outlet in 1930’s house. It came that way. No write-up needed.

3-prong outlet in 1930’s house that is NOT grounded. Report as defect (not doing what it looks like it should do).

A 3 prong is allowed on a 2 wire system with GFI protection. It should be labeled “No equipment ground”, but it is code compliant.

Jim …

As a code inspector let me clarify your comment AND my comment.

**My comment is 100% correct. **

Your comment is correct as long as repair OR alteration is done to the “Ungrounded 3-prong outlets”. Until that time its defective.

Dan, I don’t understand. There has already been work done to change these to 3 prong. If GFI protection is in,!place how can you say it is a defect when it meets the code?