I have an outlet for the air conditioner, not GFCI. I purchased a GFCI outlet (Leiviton GFWT2) to replace it (the outlet was old, with marks and painting). Upon opening, to my surprise, there are two hots and no neutral. The neutral is connected to ground with a short wire, to make the outlet work. It has been working like that for years.
I researched about these two hots. One is hot from a (most likely) dedicated breaker labeled "AC", but was not used (!). Turning on the "AC" breaker, brings power to that hot end. No other outlet in the whole apartment is affected by this "AC" breaker, only this hot end (and it was off all this time). The other one is also hot but coming from another circuit breaker labeled "Living Outlets". This "Living Outlets" hot end was the one installed in this AC receptacle (and neutral connected to ground as I said previously).
- I assume this was a totally wrong installation, correct? You can't just connect neutral to ground (even though it works).
- To make it worse, I have no idea why two hots ended up there. If there was one already, and it is working (the "AC" circuit breaker), why did they put another hot there (from the "Living Outlets" breaker). Any idea? Since there is no neutral anyway, the "AC" circuit breaker seems to have been a better option since it's dedicated.
- I read that a GFCI outlet might be OK to be installed in this case (with no neutral wire available) - is that right? If this is correct, what would be the correct way to "connect" the neutral?
- If I misunderstood about the GFCI outlet with no neutral available, then the only option is to bring the neutral all the way from the breaker? Because as far as I know I can't take a neutral from a nearby outlet, it has to be a neutral from the same circuit (either "AC" or "Living Outlet" breakers). I would rather not "extend" the Living Outlet circuit to the AC (even though this is how it was working). To make it worse, pulling any new wire would be a headache because conduits seem to be on their accepted limit already. Would require a full rewire probably.