Open ground

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Posted by: from Toronto
9/15/2017 at 9:17:49 PM

Have older home which has 2 wire no ground on some of the plugs. How can this be fixed so the home can pass an inspection in Ontario without rewiring?

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Jarrod from JTB Electric Ltd. in Camrose
Date/Time9/15/2017 at 11:02:09 PM

Install GFCI receptacles or GFCI breakers. You should contact a local electrical contractor tho as these devices MUST be hooked up correctly to function properly.

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Date/Time9/15/2017 at 11:34:20 PM

It's called tube and knob wiring. I would suggest u rewire.

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Date/Time9/15/2017 at 11:44:14 PM

It's a 100% rewire, if you buy a house like that you can't even get insurance on it in Ontario.

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Date/Time9/16/2017 at 8:14:52 AM

I would install new wiring & receptacles for kitchen outlets, the washing machine outlet & any outside outlets.For the remainder of your house I would install a gfci receptacle at the 1st outlet of the circuit if possible. If not, & you have a fuse panel instead of a breaker panel, then I would install a dead front gfci at the panel area for every other circuit that you have & reconnect each of these circuits to the output of these gfci's. Once you do this, then you can replace each of the existing 2 wire receptacles with 3 wire grounded receptacles. This is an approved method accepted by the ESA in Ontario.

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Date/Time9/16/2017 at 9:58:32 AM

Hello Dave,

If your house is wired in old two wire, it might have been wired as far back as the 1940 s possibly even earlier, although not likely.

So while I agree that it would be preferred not to rewire, I suspect the wire has passed its useful life expectancy. So what does that mean? It means that although the wire may appear to be in good condition, it likely has worn out . Typically what we see in this situation is that the insulation (while still intact) has degraded to the point that is likely is failing at doing its job. We also see grounded devices being used on ungrounded circuits, box fill being over capacity (because of the old box design) affecting the ability for heat to escape and the inability to actually apply a bonding method to the metal components of the system such as the boxes.

As indicated, there are a few methods to provide protection (install GFCI receptacle, dead front or breaker); those methods provide protection from shock but do not actually provide a ground for your equipment.

I suspect that if your wiring is that old, you will also have insufficient receptacles and general use circuits for modern use appliances and convenience. Lack of receptacles creates unsafe conditions because people will tend to use extension cords more often and multiple power bars and receptacle adapters; all of those things create situations that could potentially cause electrical safety issues. The wiring in the light is likely only rated for 60*C which is insufficient for today s light fixtures; all wire for light fixtures must be rated for 90*C. The insulation on the wire in the light boxes will literally dry out and fall off.

This all leads to your ability to get coverage for insurance and more importantly what is the level of risk for you and your family...

Putting in the GFCI devices as mentioned will prevent the potential shock hazard, but it is all the other issues that surround this old wire that are actually more concerning to me then the potential of a shock situation.


John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Date/Time10/23/2017 at 6:17:54 PM

Yes installing GFCI receptacles are a acceptable alternative to installing ground wire or rewriting the home...

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