Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>Are 2-pronged outlets safe to use?
10 posts / 0 new
Last post
jmoniz06
Are 2-pronged outlets safe to use?

I recently purchased an older home that has a mix of 2 and 3 pronged outlets. Unfortunately, the room I would like to have my tv in only has a 2 pronged outlet. I know that the wiring has been updated and that I have a new circuit breaker, but I was wondering if it is safe to plug the tv into a 2 pronged outlet? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

A. Spruce
Re: Are 2-pronged outlets safe to use?

Any ungrounded appliance will be safe in a two prong outlet. Grounded appliances will work in a two prong outlet with the appropriate adapter, however these units are designed to work with a ground for maximum safety.

Don't trust that the three prong outlets in your home are truly grounded!!!! Often times two prong outlets will be "upgraded" to three prong because of cost or convenience WITHOUT upgrading the wiring to include a ground. You can purchase an inexpensive circuit tester to see if your outlets are properly wired.

NEC
Re: Are 2-pronged outlets safe to use?

TV's come with grounded cords these days? Now that I would like to see.

canuk
Re: Are 2-pronged outlets safe to use?
jmoniz06 wrote:

I recently purchased an older home that has a mix of 2 and 3 pronged outlets. Unfortunately, the room I would like to have my tv in only has a 2 pronged outlet. I know that the wiring has been updated and that I have a new circuit breaker, but I was wondering if it is safe to plug the tv into a 2 pronged outlet? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

If there are 2 blades on the TV plug ...... 2 slot receptacle ............ = just fine

Re: Are 2-pronged outlets safe to use?

What is your definiton of safe? The underwriter of the tv and the outlet the outlet would say yes, this is safe instalation. You said a few thins that put up a few re flgs tho, you said some are "3 prong" "some are "2 prong" thats one big giant red flag there. I'll address that first. There are a few possabilities as to what is existing. Some knob and tube, or nm without an EG, maybe at some point someone replaced the "visable prtions" only and added a few more with nm. Bx instalation, this IMO can be even worse then knob and tube because that outer jacket was neverdesigned to cary a fault curent and the hi impeadance can cause it heat up like the element in an oven.

OP if you could get some pics of some of the wireing maybe in the attic or basement we could get a bettr idea, (panel, boxes any old looking wires)

next red flag,
If you still have 2 prong outlets then all of your wiring was NOT updated (at least not thoroughlly) In that case your pluggng your tv into a circuit that may or may not be in good condition, and could be putting your tv (or any other appliance)at risk.

Its been my experience that wheneer you see both types of rcetacles i the same dwelling tere are almost lways qestionable practices. (no egc on groundig receptacls, flying splices, etc)

I dont ever recomend using a 3 prog to 2 prong adapter. There use was only intended for instalations on 2prong devices grounded by bonding through grounded metal boxes, useing them anywhere is not safe. That s the purpos of the littl loop at the bottom, put it under the screw etc etc, point is dont use them.

You could argue that it would be legal to instll a gfi and put a "NO EQUIPMENT GROUND" sticker on it, and that would make it legal. Once again code is a MINIMUM STANDARD... stickers dont
make you safe...

OP to sum it up you said a few things that make me think you may want to just look a little closer.

Ernie_Fergler
Re: Are 2-pronged outlets safe to use?
A. Spruce wrote:

Any ungrounded appliance will be safe in a two prong outlet. Grounded appliances will work in a two prong outlet with the appropriate adapter, however these units are designed to work with a ground for maximum safety.

Don't trust that the three prong outlets in your home are truly grounded!!!! Often times two prong outlets will be "upgraded" to three prong because of cost or convenience WITHOUT upgrading the wiring to include a ground. You can purchase an inexpensive circuit tester to see if your outlets are properly wired.

And as well all know replacing a two prong outlet with a three prong outlet improperly is most definitely a code violation and should be addressed promptly.

Fencepost
Re: Are 2-pronged outlets safe to use?

Surge protectors plugged into non-grounded (i.e., two-prong) outlets will not be able to provide surge protection. Surge protectors MUST be properly grounded.

Some surge protectors plugged into non-grounded outlets will provide a degree of protection by shunting overvoltage between the "hot" and "neutral" lines, but that may be inadequate and any "equipment warranty" provided by the surge protector manufacturer will likely be void.

Justin Nickelse...
Re: Are 2-pronged outlets safe to use?
A. Spruce wrote:

Any ungrounded appliance will be safe in a two prong outlet. Grounded appliances will work in a two prong outlet with the appropriate adapter, however these units are designed to work with a ground for maximum safety.

Don't trust that the three prong outlets in your home are truly grounded!!!! Often times two prong outlets will be "upgraded" to three prong because of cost or convenience WITHOUT upgrading the wiring to include a ground. You can purchase an inexpensive circuit tester to see if your outlets are properly wired.

Your point concerning false grounds is correct. However, the equipment that you are showing in use in the picture does NOT DETECT A FALSE GROUND. Rather, it will simply show that it is "grounded". You have to have a bit more advaned equipment to determine false grounds.

A. Spruce
Re: Are 2-pronged outlets safe to use?
Justin Nickelsen, CMI wrote:

Your point concerning false grounds is correct. However, the equipment that you are showing in use in the picture does NOT DETECT A FALSE GROUND. Rather, it will simply show that it is "grounded". You have to have a bit more advaned equipment to determine false grounds.

Actually, in the case of a three prong outlet in place of a two prong outlet, or rather, a three prong outlet on an ungrounded circuit will ABSOLUTELY be shown by the tester shown in the picture. It is up to the user to interpret what the light combination means in their situation.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Are 2-pronged outlets safe to use?

As mentioned in another post jumping from neutral to ground on the outlet will cause the device to falsely indicate a good ground.
Jack

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.