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I live in a condo/apt. Two of my three prong electrical outlets were not showing up grounded when I plugged my surge protector in. I think from lightning or something. I need to plug computers and an air conditioner in, so we called the superintendent. In the end, he came over with some wire from Canadian Tire and attached a ground wire from the one good electrical outlet to the other one outlet. The wire he attached goes around the walls of the room like a cable wire to the other outlet.

Since he has done this, I keep noticing weird lighting on peoples faces when I watch T.V., but I can't put my finger on it.

Should he have fixed the problem using a ground wire from a good outlet, to fix the other two? Is it safe? Can it cause problems with my T.V. or other electrical equipment?

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You have two things going on here:

  1. The superintendent's repair may or may not be acceptable -- if he used a bare or green wire, or single conductor MC cable (unlikely), it can be considered OK in jurisdictions that have adopted the 2014 NEC (you'll have to check to see if the Canadians have caught up to this change).

  2. Do you have a tube-type TV? If so, you have an objectionable current flowing on the superintendent's ground wire, which is causing magnetic field emission which is interfering with your TV. I'd have the superintendent pull the outlet(s) that test as properly grounded and check for a "bootleg ground" jumper between neutral and ground; trying to use the "ground donation" provisions in 250.130(C) point 4 with a bootleg ground jumper present could cause this as stray currents circulate through the EGC and bonding network back to the main ground/neutral bond jumper.

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I'm reasonably certain that this is not an acceptable repair method even though Canadian electrical code and US electrical code are not the same. I'd suggest complaining (or asking for them to check out this "repair" that was performed) to a higher authority (municipal inspector) to get the problem corrected, correctly and to applicable codes.

  • It might be ok if the outlet he stole the ground from is on the same circuit. – Chris Cudmore Apr 17 '15 at 13:04
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    It's running on the exposed surface of the wall, not with the rest of the wires. I don't think so. – Ecnerwal Apr 17 '15 at 13:08
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    @Ecnerwal -- it's allowed under the 2014 NEC provided the "donor" branch circuit is fed from the same enclosure as the recipient branch circuit -- see 250.130(C) point 4 for details. – ThreePhaseEel Apr 18 '15 at 2:17
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    To add a grounding conductor to a circuit the "donor" ground does NOT have to come from the same circuit, just a valid ground of the proper size. Thing is, with this repair it does definitely sound dodgy. Just running a wire around the room like that is almost certainly not acceptable. – Speedy Petey Apr 18 '15 at 21:46
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    Even if code allows an active house wire on the floor, I'm not going to find it for you, @BruceSmith or suggest that that's OK. – Mazura Apr 18 '15 at 22:16
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Sorry for the delayed response. My T.V is not a tube T.V. It has definitely been affected by something he has done. I would describe the picture as, Greyer faces and a bright picture. Tiny bits of distortion at times. Although, I'm sure when he comes back, he will look at the T.V and say it's fine.

I'm not as concerned about whether he was allowed to do it this way as much as I am how it can be corrected. Of course I want it to be safe. I have to plug an A/C into one of these 3 prong plugs.

You guys obviously know about electricity. I just want my amazing T.V back. And it was amazing.

He's not an electrician, but they say he is like one or something..

  • If you can't get any satisfaction from the building super, you might consider getting a line-interactive pure sine wave UPS and running your TV through that. In the absolute worst case, you will have protected your awesome/expensive TV from surges and brownouts, and there's at least a chance that the device will mitigate unwanted noise since it conditions the power 100% of the time. – Craig Jun 21 '15 at 21:24

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