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?
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.
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:
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:
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
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.
RBM (remove this) wrote:
- It is more likely the apartment is ungrounded as opposed to
- grounded. Years ago that was the standard. You are not allowed to
- grounded outlets on non grounded circuits, however there is no
- 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
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
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
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"
On 23 Dec 2006 18:58:00 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
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
Talk to your landlord.
tom @ www.Consolidated-Loans.info
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
see much more at:
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.
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