I recently purchased an older home in New Jersey and am trying to pass a certificate of occupancy inspection. Part of the requirements is to update all outlets in bathrooms/kitchen/basement to GFCI. However, there is no ground wire in any of the panels so my GFCI electric test still reads "open ground" and the outlet doesn't trip when I hit the "test" button. However, the "test" and "reset" buttons on the GFCI receptacle themselves are working properly and I put the blue sticker on the face plates that says that the system is ungrounded.

Does anyone know if this is up to code or if I will have to pay an electrician to run ground wiring throughout my system for me to all of these outlets?

3 Answers 3


You don't need an electrician if you have basic electrical skills. Code allows for old , non-grounded to be substituted with GFCI outlets provided you put a tiny little sticker on them and all downstream outlets saying "GFCI protected, no equipment ground".

Remember that a GFCI outlet's function is to measure supplied amperage to return amperage, regardless if it's grounded or not. If the difference between supply and return by more than a few milliamps (hardly anything) the outlet will trip, ground or no ground.


That's acceptable. If you can't actually install a ground, a GFCI is the recommended safety precaution, providing much of the same protection (and arguably a bit better).


Those 3-light testers are not able to test GFCIs if there's not a valid ground. This is normal.

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