Does GFCI Work without a Ground Wire

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Are you planning to put a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter in your home but worried that you don’t have a grounding system? And your GFCI might not work?

Well, forget all your worries because this article will explain how a GFCI will still work even without the use of a grounding system.

Most of old houses and some of the new ones might not have a grounding system, and it might cost  much and can be bothersome if they will still put one.Installing a GFCI without a grounding system doesn’t mean that the GFCI will not work. It will! Why?

Here is what DOE High Voltage Electrician Specialist has to say about this:

GFCI will work correctly without a ground wire. The GFCI is looking for the return current to come back on the neutral. If the return path of the current is any other path other than the neutral, then the GFCI will trip. “

To put it in a layman’s definition, if the current path takes any other path other than the normal return path, then that is a ground fault. Instead of following the safe path, electricity passes through a person’s body to reach the ground.  The ground path does not need to be back in the ground in order for the GFCI to work. So before it affects our bodies, the GFCI will detect as low as 0.006 amperes (6 milliamperes) and it will automatically trip.Studies show that females and children, who usually have lower body resistances, can adversely be affected by as low as 6 milliamperes of ground fault current.

meiji-gfciUsing a GFCI is enough to protect our family and our loved ones against electric shock that normally happens in the wet areas of our homes like comfort rooms, kitchens and laundry areas. In case your GFCI is not grounded, just be sure to label your GFCI with “GFCI Protected, No Equipment Ground”. But it  is highly suggested that we put a grounding system in our homes. But like what I said earlier, this might be costly.

So whether you have a ground wire in your homes or none, the GFCI can do its job. Just be sure that it is properly installed and tested. It is better to ask a professional if you are planning to install one in your home. In this way, we can be assured that our family’s safety will not be compromised.

3 responses to “Does GFCI Work without a Ground Wire”

  1. Manuel says:

    Do you sell GFCI extension Cord?

    • John says:

      Hi Manuel,

      We do sell GFCI and Extensions, but not a GFCI extension Cord.

      But there are ways we can work with you on that. I will email you the details. Thank you.

  2. Jimmy says:

    Hi JOhn,

    Does it work the same way to RCDs, RCBOs?


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