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Installing A GFCI Outlet Without A Ground Wire

   
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Installing a GFCI Outlet Where There is No Ground Wire – A GFCI Outlet can be installed even if a ground wire is not available in the existing electrical circuit. The GFCI outlet must be marked with a provided label that the outlet is not grounded.


GFCI Outlet Without a Ground Wire

Electrical Question: I work in a lot of older homes with a 2 wire circuits. Is a GFI outlet able to be legal on a 2 wire system ?If not how do I make it work?

Additional Comments: I’m glad I found your site, I’ve learned a few things and refreshed on a few things.
Background: Donald, a Handyman from Lackawanna, N.Y.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Donald.

How To Install A GFCI Outlet Without a Ground Wire

Application: Wiring a GFCI Outlet.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best installed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Tool Pouch and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the number of GFI outlets that will be installed.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before wiring the GFI outlet.
Notice: Installing additional outlet circuit wiring should be done according to local and national electrical GFCI Codes with a permit and be inspected.

Installing a GFCI Outlet Where There is No Ground Wire

  • Yes, a GFCI Outlet can be installed even if a ground wire is not available in the existing electrical circuit.
  • The GFCI outlet must be marked with a provided label that the outlet is not grounded.
  • The GFCI will still protect the user against ground fault just the same.
  • This method is legal and compliant with the electrical code.
  • This is ideal for these locations:
    • Kitchen outlets
    • Bathroom outlets
    • Garage Outlets
    • Outdoor outlets
  • PLEASE NOTE: The outlet will not create or provide a ground path for three wire grounded devices.

I have provided the following resources that lead to fully detailed information on this website that will assist you with your electrical question:

GFCI Wiring
GFCI Wiring

GFCI Outlet Wiring

  • This list of articles will help you learn about the features and benefits provided by GFI
  • GFCI Receptacles
  • and how they are wired

Electrical Outlets


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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.

Comments

4 Responses to “Installing A GFCI Outlet Without A Ground Wire”
  1. Sonia says:

    If im installing a GFCI receptacle with no ground wire do i put the black hot brass wire on the green screw where the ground would go if i had one?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Sonia,
      If there is no ground wire available then nothing connects to the ground terminal on the GFI outlet.
      The Black wire of the 120 volt circuit attaches to the Brass screw terminal, designated LINE.
      The White Neutral wire of the 120 volt circuit attaches to the Silver screw terminal, designated LINE.
      If the GFI outlet will not have a ground wire then the label which states this must be attached.
      Electrical Codes may apply for specific areas.
      Dave

  2. Ray McGee says:

    Can I use a gfci for a 230v 30a A/C ? The house I’m in has an outlet for the AC I had before , but my new unit has a different plug , so I got the correct outlet and I haven’t saw a ground wire ( I just removed the cover I haven’t gone any further yet ) unless the ground is hooked to the metal box I don’t see one. How can I fix this?

    • admin says:

      Hi Ray,
      Using a GFCI will not create a ground, so I would not recommend this. A typical air conditioner unit does not require GFCI protection, however it does require an equipment ground so I would investigate the circuit further to see if a ground wire is available, and if not then one should be added.
      Alternatively, a new circuit may be installed which provides the necessary ground wire.
      Dave

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