Louisville KY Home Inspection Reveals ‘Open Ground’ Electrical Issues

Outlet

On an inspection Friday I discovered that several basement outlets tested as having an ‘open ground’. If you inspector tells you that you have an outlet that has an open ground it is more than likely a three prong outlet that has a loose ground wire. The three prong outlets have a Hot, Neutral, and Ground and if any of these wires becomes loose it show during the inspection.

An open ground occurs whenever the ground wire is not correctly attached to the outlet or in some cases the wiring for the house does not have a ground wire. In some older home the wiring only had two wires, the hot wire and the neutral wire. If there is no ground wire present in the house wiring, then a three prong outlet is not a solution and should not be used. The only exception would be to install a GFCI outlet and place a sticker that states “NO Equipment Ground”. The outlet will still not be grounded but with the GFCI protection, it will be safer than a regular two prong outlet or a three prong outlet with an open ground. An electrician can make this repair for you.

If your home has a three wires system the repair can be easier to achieve. Remember also that it is not uncommon for more than one outlet to test as an open ground as the outlets are usually installed in a ‘stream.’ This stream will cause outlets that are between the offending outlet and the end of the stream to also test as open.  It could simply be a lose wire on the outlet or it could also be a loose ground in the electrical panel.  While this is can be an easy repair on a three wire system, it is always best to consult and electrician to make any needed repairs.  One wrong more in an electrical panel could be your last.