Help? 3 prong ungrounded outlets vs. 2 prong

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Old 03-16-09, 12:27 PM
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Question Help? 3 prong ungrounded outlets vs. 2 prong

Am buying an older home and find that many of the three prong outlets are not grounded. The inspector said we should have these either grounded or converted to 2 prong.

What's the advantage to having these converted to 2 prong versus what's the danger of leaving them 3 prong and ungrounded?
 
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Old 03-16-09, 12:46 PM
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My take:It gives the false impression of the receptacles being grounded implying protection that is not there.

BTW from a retail standpoint you may have trouble finding 2 prong receptacles.They aren't part of most retail electrical section planograms any more.If you can't find them go to an Ace Hardware and they can order them for you.
 
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Old 03-16-09, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by rooster View Post
What's the advantage to having these converted to 2 prong versus what's the danger of leaving them 3 prong and ungrounded?
Three-prong, ungrounded receptacles pose an electrocution hazard when using any appliances which have exposed metal shells. They also increase the possible damage to electronics during lightning storms as surge protectors do not work as well.

There are two reasonably cheap methods for fixing this problem:

1) Replace the ungrounded three-prong receptacles with two-prong receptacles. This precludes you from using appliances with three-prong cords; do not use the adapters they are unsafe.

2) Add GFCI protection to the ungrounded circuits. This is a code-legal remedy which provides sufficient safety to install three-prong receptacles. GFCI protection can be installed using a GFCI breaker or a GFCI receptacle as the first device on each ungrounded circuit.

And two more expensive methods:

3) Do option #1 or #2 plus add new circuits in the areas which will benefit from grounding like the kitchen and home office.

4) Add grounding wires to the ungrounded circuits. This method is quite labor intensive.
 
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Old 03-16-09, 12:55 PM
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You could also install GFCI outlets. They come with a label "No earth ground" (or something like that) that can be installed. It will still protect against a shock hazard..but will not help with electronic componants requiring a ground.

Ungrounded outlets should be still be available most places that have older homes...your selection will probably be limited.

You may also want to have an inspection by an electrician. If the wrong type outlets were installed, the prior owner could have done a few other things that could get expensive to remedy later.
 
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Old 03-18-09, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
You may also want to have an inspection by an electrician. If the wrong type outlets were installed, the prior owner could have done a few other things that could get expensive to remedy later.
I'm curious if these receptacles were simply wired up with no attempt at providing a ground, or if the previous installer tried to pass them off as grounded by installing a so-called "bootleg" ground. That's when the ground and neutral are connected within the receptacle box. A simple plug-in circuit tester will show the outlet as operating correctly, when it's plainly not.

I'd be more concerned about other work in the house, if these receptacles had bootleg grounds.
 
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