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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, the only electrician I know is away and I don't want to bother him with my simple (probably ridiculous) question.

I have a dedicated receptacle on a 15 amp circuit wired with 2 wire (old romex I'm guessing).

Am I OK to add a GFCI receptacle with 2 wire coming off of that one non-grounded receptacle and it will essentially be grounded? I think I need to mark the GFCI "No Equipment Ground". The GFCI receptacle would be the end of the run with nothing on the load side.

I want to put a relatively small refrigerator (about 10-12 cubic ft.) in an unfinished utility area in my basement on the GFCI.

I know it would be best to run new 3 wire romex to everything, but is the above GTG?

Thanks!
 

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Lousy Shot
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The boxes in the run should be grounded, typically with a bare copper wire that runs from box to box. A 3-prong receptacle (GFI or otherwise) should be grounded with a short green wire to a screw in the back of the box. Get a cheap test plug to see whether the outlet is properly grounded.



If you have romex, the ground wire is in the cable and you should be able to see it connected inside the box, grounding it. If you have old braided 2-wire romex, the ground wire might be connected to the outside of the box and you may not see it without opening the wall. If you have BX cable, the shield is the ground.

I think. I'm not an electrician.

I'm sure member electrician will chime in soon.
 

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Unless it changed, you did need a gfi in an unfinished area, but if you used a single receptacle for a specific use, like a refrigerator, it did not have to be a gfi. If the gfi trips, you lose all your stuff in the refrigerator. Either way, code or not, I would not do it in my home. Why risk losing my food over a nusense trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Unless it changed, you did need a gfi in an unfinished area, but if you used a single receptacle for a specific use, like a refrigerator, it did not have to be a gfi. If the gfi trips, you lose all your stuff in the refrigerator. Either way, code or not, I would not do it in my home. Why risk losing my food over a nusense trip.
That's exactly what I thought and I agree about not using a GFI for a fridge. The only problem is, I need a ground. I thought adding the GFI would give me the ground without re-wiring.
 

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No the GFCI does not "add ground". And if you have two wires, you more likely have BX than old Romex. The boxes should be checked for ground with a meter or volt tester. Bridge the hot to the box, should give you a circuit, that means the box is grounded.
Call me in the store today until 5:30 if you want.

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A GFIC does not even need a "ground", because of the way it works and although that may sound counterintuitive bewcause its called a GROUND fault interrupter circuit, the way it actually works is that it senses the current return path, which is the neutral (and the neutral is also a ground of sorts but I'll try not to confuse here). Basically,If the current on the line hot terminal exceeds the current flowing back on the neutral terminal, the breaker will trip. Because that means the juice is going "somewhere else" - a ground fault.

All modern receptacles should have a ground in addition to the neutral. but this just adds an additional margin of safety. A lot of stuff you plug in does not even have a ground lug on the plug, and a GFIC will still work on this. You should probably talk to your electrician about adding grounds, there are a few ways to do this, isolated grounds, grounds back to neutral bus, depending on what service equipment you have and how your home is wired.

If you just "need a ground" a bonding cable may be the way to go. If you can get the bonding cable back to the panel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Done giving my advice (which has turned out 100% correct in the past without even looking at it). No need for the comments so I'll just cut the chase
I completely understand why you are not giving advice anymore. It's a shame though because I always learned something from reading it.
 

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I completely understand why you are not giving advice anymore. It's a shame though because I always learned something from reading it.
Since you asked nicely...

What else is on this circuit? If you are going to use a small refrigerator, it's probably around a 6amp draw when the compressor kicks on. If it is a light circuit, instead of using a gfci, install a single 120v receptacle thus not requiring a GFCI in the unfinished basement. Your receptacle box (most likely metal) should have a bonding wire attached running down the line (if it's accessible to see). If it does not have this, you could always run a bond wire from the box to the cold water pipe (assuming your water main is bonded).

If you panel is close and accessible, I would just run a new dedicated line and be done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Since you asked nicely...

What else is on this circuit? If you are going to use a small refrigerator, it's probably around a 6amp draw when the compressor kicks on. If it is a light circuit, instead of using a gfci, install a single 120v receptacle thus not requiring a GFCI in the unfinished basement. Your receptacle box (most likely metal) should have a bonding wire attached running down the line (if it's accessible to see). If it does not have this, you could always run a bond wire from the box to the cold water pipe (assuming your water main is bonded).

If you panel is close and accessible, I would just run a new dedicated line and be done.
Thanks! There is only one outlet on the entire circuit, nothing else. I tested that outlet, and it is not grounded. I can't see the metal box because it is within the wall on my first floor. Pretty sure the water main is bonded because there is a grounding wire attached to it. I'll probably just end up running new 14-2 from the panel to the outlet on my first floor. I just thought there may be an easier way rather than having to pull the outlet box on my first floor and maybe have to do a little patch work on the wall.
 

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The outlet is in an unfinished room? Any other receptacles/switches in that room? Asking because unfinished to me is bare walls/ceilings. If the other boxes (metal) are grounded, you could run a bond from those to the outlet that you are going to use for the fridge
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The one and only outlet on this circuit is in my finished dining room. There is another wire coming off the other side of that outlet that dead ends into a handy box in my basement. I thought I may be able to just add another outlet for the fridge using that handy box as a junction but then I realized it was not grounded. The fridge manufacturer recommends a grounded circuit. Just trying to be safe.
I tested for ground by sticking that outlet ground tester (pic above) into the outlet and got an open ground. I also tested the hot with the metal box and got no continuity.
 
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