How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Kevin Your Own Question
Kevin
Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3731
Experience:  30 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
71008832
Type Your Electrical Question Here...
Kevin is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I recently moved into a 1926 hours, and I got a tester to see

This answer was rated:

I recently moved into a 1926 hours, and I got a tester to see what electrical plug-in spots are grounded. Most are grounded. (1) However, a few three-prong outlets show "open ground." I believe the best thing to do for that is just switch in two prong plates. Is that correct? (2) Three sets of three-prong outlets are in upside down (i.e., with the third prong on top of the two prongs). When I tested them, the device showed that on two, the hot and neutral were reversed. Is that significant? Do i need to have an electrician fix this, or is it ok for plugging in Ipods and lamps and other such ordinary things?

Hello.....my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question. My goal is to exceed your expectations on Just Answer!

 

1) Since a portion of your home does not have the existing means of an equipment grounding conductor, ie, metal conduit or a bare copper grounding conductor for some branch circuits, the best recommendation is to either use GFCI circuit breakers for those branch circuits in question (if your main panel is a breaker type) or to use a GFCI receptacle and then wire the downstream receptacles from the LOAD side of the GFCI as 3-prong receptacles. The use of a GFCI breaker or receptacle will not provide you with an equipment ground, but these will protect you against any potential shock hazards. If installing either a GFCI breaker or GFCI receptacles, then the "non-grounded" receptacles along the LOAD side path must be labeled as "no equipment ground". If your main electrical panel is not a circuit breaker but using screw-in fuses, then you will need to use GFCI receptacle type.

 

2) Correcting the hot and neutral reversal is a fairly simple process. Turn the circuit breaker or Fuse to OFF. Back out the receptacle. The hot wire (usually a black wire)needs to land on the brass screw and the neutral wire (white wire) needs to land on the silver screw. This will correct the hot/neutral reversal situation. If you feel comfortable in working on electrical, you can easily correct this. If not, then suggest having a local licensed electrician correct the problem.

 

3) The electrical code does not address the orientation of receptacles. They can be installed in either a horizontal or vertical position and the ground plug on a 3-prong receptacle can be in any direction. However, most common in the industry is to have the ground plug in the top position when installed in a vertical mode. If installed in a horizontal mode, the ground plug is usually to the right hand side.

 

4) Even though the tester shows proper grounding on some of your 3-prong receptacles, this does not guarantee that they are really grounded. The 3-prong cube tester that you are using will not detect any "bootleg" grounds. A "bootleg" ground is when the receptacle is grounded to the neutral wire. This is a code violation if installed this way. In many older homes and throughout the different owners, some folks wired receptacles as a "bootleg" ground. The best method to determine if any "bootleg" grounds exist in an older home is to visually inspect if the receptacle has a ground wire terminating on the green grounding screw and splicing into the neutral wire. If the branch conductor wiring is only a 2-wire system and no metal conduit or no bare copper ground and the cube tester shows it is properly grounded, that receptacle was wired as a "bootleg" ground and is not code compliant.

 



Hope this helps.........If you have any additional questions, let me know and I'll be glad to answer them for you.

 

Otherwise, don't forget to rate me before you log Off.

The next time you have an electrical question, you can also request for me at: http://www.justanswer.com/home-improvement/expert-your-electrician
..........Thanks..............Kevin!



Kevin and other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks so much! I'm not worried about the circuits that are grounded according to the tester -- because an electrician just put them in as part of our home renovation. He did not, however, look at existing circuits.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I should have added to my reply: How important is it to have the electrician put GFCI circuits on the non-grounded outlets? Would it be ok to simply put two-prong plates on, or just not plug three plug items into it?

Dave.........Since a 2 prong receptacle has no means of grounding and no means of protecting against any potential shock hazards, it is highly recommended to use GFCI's as the means to protect against any potential shock hazards. If it were my home, I would not use replacement 2 prong receptacles, I would install either GFCI breakers or GFCI receptacles in order to protect any LOAD side 3 prong receptacles. I would also not use 2 prong types. This is the most common method used in the industry where an older home was wired with Knob & Tube. The use of GFCI's and 3-prong downstream receptacles are safer than using 2-prong non grounded receptacles.
Kevin and other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. very helpful!

No problem Dave..... glad to assist.

 

Hope this helps.........If you have any additional questions, let me know and I'll be glad to answer them for you.

 

Otherwise, don't forget to rate me before you log Off.

The next time you have an electrical question, you can also request for me at: http://www.justanswer.com/home-improvement/expert-your-electrician
..........Thanks..............Kevin!

 

Dave...........thank you for the excellent service rating as well as the bonus............much appreciated!

 

If you have any other questions, just let me know.

 

Take care and have a great day.............Thanks................Kevin!