Rental home with 2 prong

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  #1  
Old 08-09-13, 07:09 AM
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Rental home with 2 prong

First post here. I just rented a house, and decided not to let the bedrooms having 2-prong outlets be a roadblock for me. All of the tenants are engineering students however, so having desktop computers and other electronics in the bedrooms are sort of requirements for the house. My first question is, can we simply use those adapters that covert 2-prong to 3-prong and ground it out via the screw? One of the electrical engineers living here said he has a few of those, and a tester to test the ground. Is this safe, both for the tenants and the electrical components being plugged in? (They would be hooked to a APC surge protecting power strip if that matters) Secondly, any better suggestions? The landlord said if we want to have grounded 3-prong outlets installed, we are responsible for paying for it.

Thanks guys!

Schuyler
 
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  #2  
Old 08-09-13, 07:38 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Based on the age of the house there may not be ground at those boxes. For those adapters to work properly you would need to check from the smaller slot in the receptacle to the box or plate screw and make sure ground was actually there.

I'm not a big fan of those adapters but they do serve a purpose.
If you had the ground present at the box..... a receptacle change with a ground bonding wire to the box would be ideal.
 
  #3  
Old 08-09-13, 08:07 AM
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Just change the outlet to a GFI. Still no ground but could stop someone from getting shocked.
 
  #4  
Old 08-09-13, 08:10 AM
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I second PJmax's comments.
A lot of older homes (in my area anyway) that had the 2 prong outlets, only had two conductor wiring (no ground wire), so the box was not grounded.

Based on the OP, I'm a bit confused as it sounds like you are a tenant, then it sounds like you are the landlord.
If you are a tenant, I would speak with the landlord regarding the issue before doing anything to the outlet.

The UPS (APC brand as mentioned) will partly protect the equipment (via the way the device is constructed), but will be at risk still with no proper ground. If using a APC Smart UPS (or similar), it will probably complain of a grounding issue. You will be risking you're UPS instead of your equipment by running them on ungrounded outlets.
 
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Old 08-09-13, 08:49 AM
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Sorry for the confusion Mike. We are the tenants, I realize I didn't word that very well. We have an outlet tester, so I plan on using it to test for a ground once we move in and hook up a 3-prong adapter, as well as taking the plate off and seeing if there is a visible ground wire anywhere.

EDIT: fixed grammar issues thanks to autocorrect.
 
  #6  
Old 08-09-13, 09:03 AM
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I assumed you where the tenant by the wording. Just thought I would double check. It really sounds like the house I was in back in college (10 electronic and telecommunications technologists in one house).

Any I would talk to the landlord before moving in if possible. You may get lucky and find they have addressed the issue by the time you moved in.
 
  #7  
Old 08-09-13, 09:23 AM
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I brought it up, but some rental prices had already been negotiated a little, and it sort of came down to "Not something I've had issues with people in the past, you guys can have someone certified do it if you want done." So, if all else fails we'll pay the, I guess here, $200 or so it would take to do the 3/4 bedrooms with 2prong outlets.
 
  #8  
Old 08-09-13, 12:30 PM
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I would plan on having to spend between $100 and $150 per receptacle to have a grounding conductor added if none exists. Installing a GFCI as the first receptacle in each circuit would, as joecaption1 noted, help protect against shock. But it would not, as he also noted, provide the ground required by many electronics.
 
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Old 08-09-13, 04:55 PM
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I would plan on having to spend between $100 and $150 per receptacle to have a grounding conductor added if none exists.
You're kidding me ! I must be in the wrong state.

Remove the outlet, add a green ground wire and a new receptacle ?
 
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Old 08-09-13, 06:30 PM
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There may be quite a bit more to do besides that. It all depends on the wiring method, site conditions etc.
 
  #11  
Old 08-09-13, 07:27 PM
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PJmax,
It was $125 an outlet for new construction with unfinished walls here 14yrs ago. To code grounded plugs today in existing walls...
 
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Old 08-09-13, 09:13 PM
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Remove the outlet, add a green ground wire and a new receptacle?
No,
Originally Posted by Nashkat1
to have a grounding conductor added if none exists.
From the panel to each outlet. Bonded to the GEC. It might be more in some situations.
 
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Old 08-09-13, 09:23 PM
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Oh.....ok.....so we're talking new construction/upgraded cabling. That's different. A renter isn't going to consider running new cabling. I think in this case the renter is considering replacing receptacles only..... if possible.

At this point we haven't heard if there is grounded cable in place.
 
  #14  
Old 08-10-13, 07:31 AM
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It will probably be a week or two before i get the chance to check the outlets out and really inspect the situation. I'll be sure to post back what I've found.
As far as actually paying to have the outlets done, it is certainly something we haven't counted out yet. I guess WORST case is we could run an extension cord from the living room that has 3-prong outlets, or the master bath which has a GFI. Add some white tape and put it on the floor molding and it wouldn't be too too terrible, but it would certainly be a less than ideal situation. That is, if the breaker could even handle that.
 
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Old 08-10-13, 07:37 AM
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Extension cords should NEVER be used as a replacement for permanent wiring.

The living room may have improperly installed 3 prong receptacles on an ungrounded circuit.
 
  #16  
Old 08-10-13, 08:02 PM
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Would definitely be testing the three prong outlets elsewhere in the house. If the extension cords are taped in the corner of the floor, and are ramps are use in any door ways, what are the downsides to using extension cords temporarily in a rental home?
 
  #17  
Old 08-20-13, 08:30 PM
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Alright guys. First major update since I have moved in. I bought and installed a gfci, and grounded it to the box. However, my outlet tester seems to say that the box is not grounded. So, any suggestions from there? Screenshots below
 
  #18  
Old 08-21-13, 03:23 AM
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The GFCI does not make the box grounded, only safer for people. I'm seeing NM cable to the box so your tester is correct. Just because a box is metal doesn't mean it is grounded. It has to have a grounding means such as a ground wire or a metal sheathed cable with bonding strip running to it.

You have a safety issue with the box opening itself. The space between the box and the opening can be no more than one eighth inches. You need to patch the Sheetrock around the box.

Note: for reasons of liability this work should NOT be done by a renter even with the landlords permission.

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Last edited by ray2047; 08-21-13 at 03:55 AM.
  #19  
Old 08-21-13, 06:58 AM
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You don't have to change anything in the walls. Put the cover back on the box with the too wide gap and let the landlord deal with it if or when an inspector shows up.

Get the usual 3 prong to 2 prong adapter. If needed, plug a power strip into this. Attach (suggest using bolt and nut) a long 14 gauge bare copper wire (12 gauge for a 20 amp circuit) to the green tab. Screw or clamp the other end of the wire to a known electrical ground, which could be a fat ground wire (grounding electrode conductor) running between the panel and the main cold water pipe, or a ground rod.

In some states, stapling the bare wire to the baseboard is regarded as acceptable (comparable to haning pictures on walls) behavior in a rental apartment and therefore not permitted as a damage claim by the landlord.

A ground fault circuit interrupter provides more protection for people than a ground wire (equipment grounding conductor) from a receptacle. The EGC provides more protection for equipment than a GFCI does. A separate EGC can be run from a 3 prong to 2 prong adapter even if an ungrounded receptacle is GFCI protected.

You can look for a GFCI power strip instead of installing GFCI units in the walls. This will work whether or not you attach an EGC to the tab of a 3 prong to 2 prong adapter. Installing GFCI receptacles in old work is sometimes a problem because the GFCI unit might not fit in the box.

Although an EGC running along the baseboards is also permitted for 3 prong receptacles installed in the boxes, your landlord reserves the right to not permit you to use that method for grounding the permanently installed receptacles.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 08-21-13 at 07:28 AM.
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