Found out apartment is incorrectly grounded


OK just moved in a place with a friend and found out it was incorrectly grounded. It's an old building with mostly two prong outlets. Some outlets have apparently been adapted to be three-pronged, yet no proper grounding, according to the outlet tester I've used. I'm guessin that this is against most building codes, even for old buildings and the landlord is obligated to fix it? Even so, is it worth staying around...doesn't this require an electrician tearing up the house to fix it up? How long does it take to get a groundwire in?
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Don,t know if this is the right way but I put 3 prong plugs and used bare copper wire from the ground screw to the box and it seems to work snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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No and no if it is grandfathered

From what I see from here, it will be a bitch of a job. Take a look to the left of the panel and you'll see what I mean. As for timewise, 12 to 14 hours.
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It is more likely the apartment is ungrounded as opposed to improperly grounded. Years ago that was the standard. You are not allowed to install grounded outlets on non grounded circuits, however there is no violation of electrical code to have non grounded outlets.

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Damn, OK, so nothing is grounded in the home, including the fridge and window air conditioners. How much should I actually worry? Are there any safety measures (I may just move) that we can take to be safer in the circumstance that the outlets can't be properly grounded?
RBM (remove this) wrote:

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For personal safety, you can install GFCI outlets to replace the non grounded outlets. They come with stickers marked Non grounded, and will protect against possible electrocution

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Thanks for the info...I know how a GFCI outlet works, but thought it needed a proper ground. So what's the safety difference between an ungrounded GFCI outlet and a properly grounded one?
RBM remove this wrote:

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The GFCI works on an imbalance between the two wires, that the outlet has. A ground in this case would serve as protection for the equipment plugged in

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

You SHOULD worry not at all. Thousands of people have lived in your apartment house over the last half century with no ill effect. If, however, you personal security checklist includes radon, asbestos, lead paint, ozone, mold, global warming, DDT, Alar, and the availability of handguns, you should move.
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HeyBub wrote:

True, but I have friends with bad experience, and so i have a little unrational paranoia with electricity compared to all the other things that that could go wrong with an old home.
One more question. I'm unsure if the outlet boxes we have will hold a GFCI. There's no particular risk to using a portable GFCI on top of a non-grounded two-to-three prong adapter, right? Except for the hassle of those external adapters hanging out.
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Not at all, a portable would work fine

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RBM (remove this) wrote: - It is more likely the apartment is ungrounded as opposed to improperly - grounded. Years ago that was the standard. You are not allowed to install - grounded outlets on non grounded circuits, however there is no violation of - electrical code to have non grounded outlets.
Well, first I'll get picky with the terminology used here:
"You are not allowed to install grounded outlets on non grounded circuits"
It's not a matter of beng allowed or not, it's physically impossible. If there is no ground, how could you have a grounded outlet? An outlet isn't a "grounded outlet" until it is attached to a ground, regardless of how many prongs it has. Perhaps what you meant to say was:
"You are not allowed to install 3 pronged outlets on non grounded circuits"
Assuming that's what you meant, that is incorrect. Code allows for the use of 3 pronged outlets on non-grounded circuits in residential wiring if there is a GFCI outlet or GFCI breaker upstream of the 3 pronged outlet. In these cases, humans are protected although the devices may not be.

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I meant to say exactly what I did say, except the proper term is grounding receptacle, and yes you can install grounding receptacles on the load side of a GFCI if properly marked "GFCI protected" and "no equipment ground"

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On 23 Dec 2006 18:58:00 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

IMHO:
This is a potential danger to life and equipment, contact your landlord, and inform them.
There could be a GFCI feeding it, which makes it 'safe' for humans, but equipment often requires that ground plug to work for voltage regulation.
Talk to your landlord.
tom @ www.Consolidated-Loans.info
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your answer would be depending on the building inspector who knows the code as it applies to the building. someone less experienced may have changed a broken outlet if it tests reversed hot-neutral. you might buy some portable gfi's if shock is a concern. these hadn't been invented when the house was originally safely wired with its permit. you may be surprised at how often codes are changed over the years to make new homes and new construction safer. additional safety devices are often mandated by local laws and embraced by owners. but it would be quite an expense to expect every 100-year-old home in town to be completely rewired or remodeled at each code update. sometimes gfi's will not fit into older existing shallower electrical boxes. see much more at: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/electrical-wiring/part1 /
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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I had a two-wire house that had been built in the '50's with several three-prong receptacles around. I learned why when I went out to get two-prong receptacles to make it right: two-prong receptacles were hard to find, even in the '70's, and considerably more expensive. They were like $1.95 as opposed to around 39 cents for standard three-prong receptacles. I think the latter just gradually make their way into the house as people replace receptacles for whatever reason with those that are in the stores.
Joe

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