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Bill Brasky
Electrical Outlets


I'm somewhat ashamed I don't understand electicity very well since I did major in EE for a few years in college - I guess that's why I switched majors.

Here's my dilemma:

I recently purchased my first home which was built around 1953 with an additional bedroom added-on at a later date (just my guess).

My house has a mix of two-prong and three-prong outlets. Using one of those nifty testers, I discovered that the three-prong outlets in the added-on bedroom/bathroom are correctly grounded as are the outlets in the kitchen. The other three-prong outlets are not properly grounded.

I would like to have properly grounded three-prong outlets throughout my house. What are my options?

I have heard you can replace with GFCI outlets but certain electrical appliances and surge protectors can trip the outlet and wont work. Is this true?

Also, what are the hazards of having the three prong outlets that are not grounded? Does this mean my surge protectors and computers, etc. are not protected from power surges and lighnting strikes?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!!:)


Re: Electrical Outlets

If your outlets aren't grounded, you will have things burning out. there may be a simple fix here. The outlets could be bad if old. Its been a long time since I've seen a 2 prong outlet.
You only need GFI's near water source, and only one on a run of outlets is needed.
Your appliances connected to a surge protector should be fine, but you do need to get the outlet fixed asap.

Re: Electrical Outlets

1.Grounded outlets do not protect you from lightening.
2.GFI outlets protect you.
3.Surge suppressors and some electronic equipment need ground to filter electrical noise.
4.Highly capacitive loads can trip GFI's.
5.Check the wiring in the outlet boxes. Even though the receptacles may not be grounded you may have the ground available in the box. If not you can run new cables or run a bonded wire to the outlet.
6.A missing ground will not burn out equipment.
7.Ground bonding is a safety feature but is not required for appliances to operate.
8.Most small appliances and lamps only have 2 prong plugs so adding a ground will accomplish little.

Re: Electrical Outlets

What Jack said.
Anybody notice a trend here ?:D

Re: Electrical Outlets

This is asked so often that it should be a posty and Jacks explanation pretty much nails it.

I'll add that a grounded receptacle could prevent an electrical shock hazzard as well, (in the case of a fault current being present in equipment that requires an equipment ground)

If the outlet doesnt have an equipment ground conductor dont use a "3 prong" outlet unless its a gfi (even then I have some reservations)

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