Question on outlets


  #1  
Old 08-24-05, 10:41 AM
imanta
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Question Question on outlets

I was recently investigating our new home and noticed that many of our 3 pronged outlets are not actually grounded. They work fine obviously, but I am curious how big a deal this is. What do I need to worry about? How big a deal is this and do I really need to incur the cost to get all of these wired properly?

Thanks for help.
 
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Old 08-24-05, 01:19 PM
J
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If the house is less than 30 years old, then you likely have grounding that has become disconnected, and you should definitely fix it.

If the house is older than that, then perhaps the outlets were never grounded in the first place. Retrofitting grounding in older homes can be expensive.

Code prohibits 3-hole receptacles that are not either grounded or GFCI protected.

It's like a car without seat belts. It's not as safe as a car with seat belts, but it's as safe as it ever was. The importance of grounding depends on what kind of things you plug in. Some things are more dependent on grounding (e.g., electronics, refrigerators, fluorescent lighting) than others (lamps, toasters, televisions).
 
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Old 08-24-05, 02:37 PM
imanta
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The house was built in 1928 and it is definitely not grounded (I tested) and no ground wires as well. If I don't have it rewired, then I guess my question is what is the difference between using a 2 prong with a 3 to 2 adaptor or just having the ungrounded 3... nothing right?

Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 08-24-05, 03:02 PM
J
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Three-hole receptacles that are neither grounded nor GFCI protected are prohibited by code because they create the impression that protection exists that does not.

If you look at an adaptor, you'll notice that they have a piece of metal used to ground the adaptor to the receptacle plate screw. This is of course ineffective if the receptacle is not connected to a grounded box. Using an adaptor on an ungrounded receptacle is unsafe, and violates the intent of these devices. Just because these adaptors are sold everywhere, and everybody seems to use them, doesn't make it right. Bottom line is that you should not be using them.

I suggest that if you have anything that has a three-prong plug, you should plug them into receptacles that are really grounded, or you should replace the receptacle with a GFCI. The first solution should be used whenever possible, especially for refrigerators and computers.
 
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Old 08-24-05, 04:02 PM
imanta
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John,

Thanks again for the input. What goes into using a GFCI receptacle? Is this basically a self-grounded outlet? Is there additionally wiring required? It seems like this would be a much cheaper way to go instead of rewiring the whole house. Thoughts?

Thanks.
 
  #6  
Old 08-24-05, 07:21 PM
C
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A GFCI wiires like a normal receptical. It will provide personal saftey from electrocution, that's it. It will not protect equipment that need it for their safety or operaation ( such as computers and surge protectors)
 
  #7  
Old 09-09-05, 07:46 AM
LinT
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You said the a fridge should be plugged into a grounded outlet...if I cant "rewire" the outlet..does using a GFI sufice?
 
  #8  
Old 09-09-05, 07:58 AM
J
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Whenever possible, a refrigerator should be plugged into a grounded receptacle. But if the receptacle is not grounded, and grounding it is not feasible, then code allows you to plug it into a GFCI (or GFCI-protected) receptacle. It's not grounding, but it is safe. Unfortunately, you'll then have to live with the risk of a tripped GFCI spoiling your food. In an ideal world, we'd all live in homes with all grounded outlets, but we must play the hand we are dealt, and live with the compromises.
 
 

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