Very Old Electrical system

Interesting electrical system in today’s inspection. The Service drop had one leg attached but had the neutral leg going to the grounding electrode. The other leg was not attached to anything, so I guess that the whole system is restricted to 120 volts and is not properly grounded. The panel was an old fuse box complete with direct taps to a locked sub-panel. Two 30 amp fuses in series - does that make it a 60 amp box? Not a grounded outlet in the place except for one gfci that tested ok with my plug in tester. How is that possible? False ground?Needless to say I recommended a complete electrical evaluation.

PS- The picture of the stove is included just to give an idea of the age and condition of the house.

Yikes! but again, no evaluation needed, just rip the whole thing out and start from scratch.
And I hereby confer upon you an official certificate welcoming you into the hallowed circle of recipients of the ‘Jeff Pope Electrical Wackiness’ award.

BTW, was this our friend in CSH?

Hi Ray-

No, this was in the town of Huntington, just off 25A on Woodbury Rd. A 1920s colonial. Our friend in CSH had a textbook house - one of the nicest I’ve ever seen. it was owned by a Contractor and everything was “textbook”. The panel in that house was a pleasure - every conductor bent at military right angles.
BTW - send me your address. I’d like to send a thank you.

Bill, send this in to Nick - he may want it for an East Coast “House of Horrors!”

I remember a stove like that when I was growing up, in north Jersey.

The GFI will work even when there is no ground. Actually, it is still safer to have a GFI than to not have a GFI, when there is no ground. However, there is a requirement that a sticker be place on the GFI that states “No Ground”. These stickers come in the box with the GFI. This is to alert someone that the ground prong is not wired back to the system ground.

A GFI monitors the current flow between the hot and the neutral legs. When there is a difference between these legs of more than approx .005 amps the GFI will trip. The ground hole is to provide an equipment ground for the device which is being plugged in.

So if you find a house which has only two wire branch circuits (no grounds) it is still a safety upgrade to recommend GFI’s in the usual locations.

You are correct that there is probably a false ground because if there is no ground then the handheld GFI tester will not trip the GFI. This is because the tester uses the ground to divert some of the current and create an imbalance between the hot and neutral legs.

Russell - here’s another image from the same house. Have you ever seen a shorter spout on a faucet?

Neal- Excellent information. Thanks.


Well, if you were to ask my wife :oops: . . .

Yep, I remember them in NJ, '50’s


:mrgreen:…reminds me of some of the swimming I’ve done in Lake Michigan.

That sink joined the Polar Bear club . . .