Non-Grounded Electric

11 Replies

The house I currently live in has non-grounded electric in certain rooms. I went in the trouble and put in ground for refrigerator, dishwasher, washer and dryer. I did not do so for the outlets I plug my electronics into though. I simply use an adapter on a power surge protector and have never had any issues. Has anyone else in Washington State ever rented a house like this to other tenants? I am wondering if I can explain to them what I do with my electronics or if I am then putting myself in a liable for any non-grounded electrical issues which could arise. Would love to hear anyone who's had experience with this oppinion. Thank You!

Ok, so someone just went over this with me because we have a similar problem with older apartments. You should have GFI in some places like near the sinks but we need to run wire mold on the walls to do it as it is a pain to run it through the plaster. This is code so I advise changing it, it could cause you a problem but probably not. Although a tenant could have a case for asking for it to be changed in these areas. Regular grounded outlets there are also places where it is an issue where you could have a fault and the electric has to find a way out so it goes to the nearest metal like the exterior of the microwave. It is safer to have grounded and for big items probably essential so you don't fry them with a power surge. For a lot of items it is not a big deal. You sound like you did it for the big stuff which is smart. As for explaining it to someone when renting well my husband often says I tell people more then they want to know. This is a case like that. How hard is it in your place to put it in the critical areas and be done with it. That is just how the house is.

A couple of my rentals (and my own house) have a few non-grounded outlets too. They are fine as long as you...

a. don't rewire a 3-prong outlet into them

b. don't use an adaptor

doing either a or b allows a 3-prong appliance to be plugged in without the protection of a ground. Keep your non grounded outlets as 2-prong and nothing that needs a ground can be erroneously plugged in.

I wouldn't share your adaptor strategy with tenants, you're not really grounded, you just made it all fit.

If you use those adaptors, you have to connect the grounding tab to a ground in order for it to be considered safe.

the easiest way to meet minimum code in most areas would be to add gcfi breakers in thru panel. this meets the nec requirements however, some municipalities could have requirements that would exceed the minimum nec code...

Easiest way to know for sure is to call the city inspectors office and ask.

good answers, thanks guys. I will just let the tenants figure it out. I didn't think about it when I leased it - to mention it that is. I don't want to upgrade the electrical more than necessary as I will probably tear down the house in a year or so. appreciate the comments.

A third prong (safety ground) in wall receptacles is for human safety. That safety ground and GFCIs are to protect human life; do nothing to protect appliances and transistors.

Protection of transistors and your major appliances (ie refrigerator, dishwasher) is performed by something completely different, located at the service entrance, and connected low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to a completely different (earth) ground.

Third prong on a power strip is for human safety reasons; is ineffective for protecting electronics. A GFCI installed in the wall receptacle or breaker box accomplishes same.

BTW, best time to install appliance protection is when new footing are poured.

put 2 prong outlets and call it done. that's what i do.

Where I live in NJ to get a CO a non grounded two prong is no issue, a non grounded three prong outlet requires a label on the outlet stating it is not grounded. I literally failed an inspection a few weeks ago for just this issue. Of course I will never show to a CO inspectiion without my labels from now on. $50 lesson learned

@Wes Thom is right about human safety!

@Zach Schwarzmiller If i were you I would consider an upgrade sooner rather than later.

I would sleep better at night knowing that i did my part in accident prevention. What happens if a child accidentally damages/ a cord or a pet bites it, fire starts etc....

With a proper upgrade, you have less of a chance to take some of the liability from your insurance co too. As you guessed they will try to blame everyone, first before they pay out!

If you can not afford a full upgrade, have the master electrician divided it in half of three, in order of priority.

Good Luck!

Ps.to save money, some master electricians are known to give you a significant discount if you run the cables for them, so they just have to connect it.

Just like you would do with a title co.s as an RE investor it is worth to build a relationship with an electrician too as you are going to need one, in the future, and it will be probably a Sunday night at 10pm :)

> a non grounded three prong outlet requires a label on
> the outlet stating it is not grounded.

Just to be clear about this. A three prong outlet on a two wire circuit is a code violation; a human safety issue. Only way for three prong outlets on a two wire circuit is to use a GFCI. With "No equipment ground" labels. Labels must exist on any GFCI protected three prong outlet powered by a two wire circuit.

A three prong outlet on a two wire circuit without a GFCI (as implied) is a code violation and a human safety issue.

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