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Open ground or not open ground?  XML
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scottlseaton
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Joined: 06/19/2014 09:39 AM EDT
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Question for electrician experts. This may sound stupid. Why would 3 rooms in a home show on my outlet tester as being open ground, then an electrician comes out 3 days later and says the house is AOK? None were bath or kitchen locations so none were GFCI's. This is the second time this happened in this same subdivision all houses built by the same builder.

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Mike Casey
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Did you try another tester? Those little plug-in circuit testers go bad and usually by providing false readings.

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scottlseaton
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Mike Casey wrote:Did you try another tester? Those little plug-in circuit testers go bad and usually by providing false readings.

I used this same one on other houses, but no issues. It's not even that old. I'll try my other one. the next time I see this and see if the results are the same.

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Mike Casey
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Were they the safety type receptacles? I have had some issues with those getting a good connection with my tester, sometimes I have to wiggle it for a proper reading.

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scottlseaton
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Mike Casey wrote:Were they the safety type receptacles? I have had some issues with those getting a good connection with my tester, sometimes I have to wiggle it for a proper reading.

Not sure but I'm going to get another tester and use both if I have an open ground in a newer home. Thanks

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Juan Jimenez
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You should get a multi meter to confirm your findings.

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SheehanThomson
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Which one Juan?

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Mike Casey
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Might keep a circuit analyzer in the truck as a back up, or for more complicated jobs. I have a Sure Test, http://www.grainger.com/product/9TE53?gclid=Cj0KEQiA1dWyBRDqiJye6LjkhfIBEiQAw06ITohOTH_ABnP21l3KpyJt5E98aisZB43rBxT68FyPXO4aAi3o8P8HAQ&cm_mmc=PPC:GOOGLEPLAA-_-Test%20Instruments-_-Electrical%20Power%20Testing-_-9TE53&AL!2966!3!50916686157!!!g!82166494197!&ef_id=VdU8EQAABbxDLlRA:20151125180909:s


there is also the below.

http://inspectorshop.net/product/extech-ct70-ac-circuit-load-tester/

This way you can test with a more sophisticated instrument to double check, and they are handy in old houses, and homes with AL wiring.

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William Chandler
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no home inspector should be using the gfci tester to test the whole house.

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SheehanThomson
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William Chandler wrote:no home inspector should be using the gfci tester to test the whole house.


What do you mean William?

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William Chandler
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SheehanThomson wrote:
William Chandler wrote:no home inspector should be using the gfci tester to test the whole house.


What do you mean William?


You should be using a circuit load tester which will test for reverse/open grounds, voltage/amperage drop and gfci circuits. The Extech CT170 is a good example. It will also alert you to over current. The little $7 gfci tester is a toy.

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Philo
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I recall when all-the-sudden I was getting more "open grounds" as usual; until buying a new little tester. So I carry extras.
I use an Ideal tester for back-up and "bootleg grounds."
Similarly, I find the Raytec IR temp gun readings eventually go awry; and need replacing.

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A_Carl
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Bottom-line is, an inspector should have a back up for any of his test equipment. Call it a toy back up for another toy back up or a he-man super tester. Whatever the opinion on type of gear, just have a back up. If using a cheaper one, then why not have a few more cheaper ones for verification.

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Dbadvanced
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I'm new to the forum and this will be my first post. As a master electrician and home inspector, I'd say that we should indeed always use a multimeter to test outlets, and also know how to use the meter to conduct all 3 tests that a plug tester does. Test for voltage between hot and neutral and voltage between hot and ground. I like to also check between hot and the coverplate screw while I'm here to ensure the frame of the outlet/switch is grounded. Then, check resistance between ground and neutral. It should be close to zero.
Removing the cover plates and digging around can also tell the tale. I've seen electricians that simply cut the ground wire out of the cable, or don't connect it at all. It could be as simple as a loose junction. I've even seen a jumper installed from the neutral lug to the ground lug of receptacles, just to try to fool me.
I like to use a plug in tester for most outlets,too but I don't rely solely on it. We are taught to test redundantly for safety reasons as electricians. It also applies to being thorough.

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