question about surge protection and GFCI use

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Old 11-15-10, 12:23 PM
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question about surge protection and GFCI use

here is the situation. we have an old house, it has the 2 prong outlets so no ground. I want to be able to plug a surge protector in to protect TV and other electronic equiptment. Are either of these options doable and would they allow the surge protector to operate correctly?

1. replace 2 prong outlet w/ GFCI outlet. My understanding is that, even though it is not grounded it will still operate because it will still detect the current surge. But does a surge protector that you plug components into work by detecting surge in current or surge in voltage? would plugging a surge protector into the GFCI outlet w/ no ground still work?

2, just replace 2 prong outlet with 3 prong outlet and don't have a ground. then plug surge protector into 3 prong outlet. I am thinking that this would not work since there is no ground? What is right?

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Old 11-15-10, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by kmeyer301 View Post
I want to be able to plug a surge protector in to protect TV and other electronic equiptment. Are either of these options doable and would they allow the surge protector to operate correctly?
Surge protection is largely ineffective on ungrounded branch circuits. Your best course of action would be to verify that the grounding electrodes (rods, water pipes) at the electrical service entrance are adequate; that your phone, CATV, satellite, OTA antenna and electrical services are bonded to your single-point ground; and, perhaps install a whole-house surge protector at the main panel.

1. replace 2 prong outlet w/ GFCI outlet.
GFCI and surge protection are unrelated. GFCI provides personnel protection (shock prevention) on ungrounded circuits, but adds no protection to electronics.

just replace 2 prong outlet with 3 prong outlet and don't have a ground.
This is a violation of electrical code unless the three-prong receptacle is a GFCI. It should be labeled with a "NO EQUIPMENT GROUND" sticker on the faceplate.
 
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Old 11-15-10, 01:01 PM
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A GFCI does not protect against t surges. A surge protector has to have a ground. A GFCI on an ungrounded circuit only provides increased personal safety. It does not provide a ground so even if you add a GFCI a surge protector plugged into it will not work.

There is a slight possibility the circuit is grounded. If the box is metal using an analog voltage meter measure the voltage between the black wire and the metal box. If you get 120v (5%) you may have a usable ground. Best though to run a new circuit back to the main panel. You could also run just a ground but that is usually as much work as a new circuit.
 
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Old 11-15-10, 01:35 PM
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For all the work involved it is sometimes just as easy to add a new receptacle on a new grounded circuit.
 
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