Ungrounded Electrical outlets


I live in an old lowrise apartment that doesn't have any proper electrical grounding, although several outlets are 3 pronged. I want to use an air conditioner in the summer, but I'm concerned about the potential safety hazard.
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For personal safety, you can replace the non grounded outlets with GFCI outlets. They may come with a sticker to attach to the plate that marks them as ungrounded

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what good is a gfci that is ungrounded it won't even trip the damn thing stop giving useless advice.

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electrical inspector wrote:

Bullshit
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Eric in North TX wrote:

Yeah, amazing too when the guy uses the name "electrical inspector", which he obviously isn;t. Of course a GFCI will work and trip in an ungrounded outlet. In fact a GFCI will make what was an ungrounded outlet safer than a regular grounded outlet without GFCI.
I also agree with the other advice given, ie to figure out the current rating of the circuit, what else is on it, etc, as that may present a bigger issue.
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what a knob of coarse it will trip the question is are you trippin?
Actually, with a GFCI you don't HAVE to have a ground wire. In fact, according to the National Electrical Code, you can use a GFCI to replace a two wire outlet, so long as you label it as such. It will protect the outlet from lethal shocks but it will not provide a ground connection at the third prong.
you have to watch these imbeciles in ahr it is like a meeting of the mindless.
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GFCI devices do not need to be attached to a grounding conductor to work, and I'm sure, as an "electrical inspector" (lol) you are aware on NEC 406.3-D 3(B), which specifically allows them as replacements for non grounded receptacles

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More important is the current rating of the outlet and the current demand of the air conditioner.
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depending on your insulation in the walls and your climate, your choice of air conditioner for a window could be as low as 5 amps for a 5000btu air conditioner. an energy star rating gives you more cooling per dollar of electricity. your outlet is probably one of several that share a 15 amp circuit. why not explore this by opening the breaker/fuse panel and see how they are numbered, then number each outlet and switchplate in your apartment. this way you will know not to run a microwave on the toaster circuit and not to make coffee when the air conditioner is running on that same circuit, for example. consult the air conditioner installation instructions/manual; large air conditioners want to be on their own circuit as does any major appliance. do not buy a 110volt air conditioner that won't fit in the window opening. don't buy a 20 amp air conditioner if your fusebox only has 15 amp breakers. talk to someone else in your apartments with the same sun exposure who has an air conditioner: do they like it, does it cool the room on the hottest day, what size would they buy next time, if it cools down the room in 15 minutes on a hot day or if it takes 2 hours for its size.
Jeff Sapocinik wrote:

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install a ground wire "pigtail" to the metal box and check to see if the panel is grounded.

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Personally I tire of hearing about ungrounded outlets. Reality check; my bet is that well over half of the dwellings in the U.S. have ungrounded outlets, and people have lived long full lives in them. I'll also bet that your chances of actually having a fatal or even debilitating shock are up there with winning the lottery and getting struck by lightning. This is all just hype, part of the lowest common denominator, lets idiot proof everything thing. I say lets thin out the gene pool, why let idiots live to reproduce more idiots.
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Eric in North TX wrote:

well over the years I have haD SOME APPLIANCES INTERNALLY SHORT TO GROUND, PRIMARILY WIRES BURNING OFF AND HITTING THE FRAME:(
anyhow if these werent grounded someone could of gotten a lethal shock......... children and elderly are espically at risk.
I also see this in my business I repair offce machines primarily roll laminators. At least once a month a wire burns off a switch or similiar.
ground has indeed saved lives
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Thanks for your advice!
Eric in North TX wrote:

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Because then there would be no one left to post some of the more entertaining questions to alt.home.repair....
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Your main concern here I would say should be the size air conditioner you are planning on plugging in and the other loads on the circuit that your air conditioner will be on the line with. Chances are that the circuit will be confined to your apartment and not shared with another so you should have control over what is on at the same time. That said the circuit is most likely 15 Amp however you might check to see for sure and don't use so large an air conditioner that it will tax your wiring.
As far as grounding is concerned many older homes lack good grounding and it hasn't caused a problem. The GFCI outlet is a good idea also as the GFCI monitors the current on the Hot and Neutral lines and if there is an imbalance in the current between the two wires (Hot & Neutral) as small as 4 to 5 milliamps imbalance then it trips the circuit. This protects you if there is a shock situation where part of the return current seeks to pass through your body back. What is dangerous is when you have someone that doesn't know about electricity wire from outlet to outlet and reverse wires in the process. When one outlet is wired with Hot and Neutral reversed to the next outlet setting up an electrocution potential if say you touched a lamp while touching the Air Conditioner at the same time. In circuits that are grounded the Neutral and Ground are tied together at the Breaker Box and therefore are at the same potential, for 110 or 115 VAC circuits. If a three prong outlet is wired correctly and you take a voltmeter you should read no voltage from the ground hole (round hole) to the Neutral hole which is the longer or larger of the two vertical slots. The smaller vertical slot or shorter slot in the plug should be tied to the Hot wire and from either neutral (longer vertical slot) to shorter slot (Hot) you should read your 110 Volts or from the Ground Lug (round hole) to the shorter vertical slot the same 110 Volts... That is when you have a properly grounded plug.
On 12/21/06 5:52 PM, in article snipped-for-privacy@f1g2000cwa.googlegroups.com, "Jeff Sapocinik"

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