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KLH

join:2001-09-24
Vincennes, IN
reply to Bob Anderson

Re: ungrounded wall outlets

Something I've never understood, and maybe someone here can explain to me.
Most people when faced with a 2 pronged outlet will simply buy a "cheater" 3 to 2 prong adapter. Wouldn't just connecting the neutral to ground to safer with a 3 prong outlet? I know it's not allowed, N to G connections, only in the main panel. But I'm just not seeing why this method wouldn't be safer then using one of the 'cheater' adapters. I'm sure there is a reason, and hopefully someone can explain (and no I didn't do this or recommend this, just in my head it seems safer, and no I'm not an electrician or pretend to be either).
--
Fiber to the Home, gotta love it!



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
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2 recommendations

Connecting the neutral (grounded conductor) to the ground pin makes it "super extra" dangerous. In the event of an open neutral, any "grounded" parts could become "hot" parts. Any meat sack that happened by and completed the path to ground would be shocked and / or killed.

It's very common for LL's and hacks to do this little "trick" to pass inspection. When you plug in a tester, it appears all is right.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.



tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
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1 edit

1 recommendation

reply to KLH

said by KLH:

Wouldn't just connecting the neutral to ground to safer with a 3 prong outlet?

Safety ground is designed to provide a low impedance path to trip the over-current device in case of a fault to normally non-energized part - typically a metal chassis or tool housing.

Think about the ramification of your suggestion. If you tie Neutral and Safety ground together and Neutral ever faults open now those parts are at line potential.

In a dwelling without safety ground the best you can do is use Ground Fault breakers or outlets. They will trip if there is an unbalance between hot and neutral.

/tom


Subaru
1-3-2-4
Premium
join:2001-05-31
Greenwich, CT
kudos:1
reply to KLH

said by KLH:

Something I've never understood, and maybe someone here can explain to me.
Most people when faced with a 2 pronged outlet will simply buy a "cheater" 3 to 2 prong adapter. Wouldn't just connecting the neutral to ground to safer with a 3 prong outlet? I know it's not allowed, N to G connections, only in the main panel. But I'm just not seeing why this method wouldn't be safer then using one of the 'cheater' adapters. I'm sure there is a reason, and hopefully someone can explain (and no I didn't do this or recommend this, just in my head it seems safer, and no I'm not an electrician or pretend to be either).

I know someone who has a Yamaha keyboard, a motif 6 long story short his whole thinking of those cheater plugs is crazy.. He plugs his 3 prong cord into the cheater and then it into a 3 prong outlet.. And he says it's grounded..

People I guess don't seem to understand why that tab is on the adapter and where it's meant to go.

I tried to explain but
--
It's NOT Ni-kon It's NE-KON!




LG is NOT Lifes Good It's Lucky Goldstar!


Bob Anderson

join:2001-05-05
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1

I'm going to have to think carefully before informing the LL. He's been a friend for decades and gave me a break on the rent for that reason and because he knows I am a not a complainer. He's a lawyer but he has no technical sense whatsoever when it comes to building code or computers. It took me some time to convince him to get a cordless home phone so he wouldn't have to go from sitting in his back yard to into the house to answer his landline. He hates computers and doesn't have one.

I think I'm going to emphasize the GFCI solution and not mention the liability implications of the current electrical situation. Like I said, he's a lawyer so he will understand the liability implications. This house probably contains dozens of wall outlets so even the GFCI solution is going to cost a bundle. I think I'm going to explain that under the current situation if an electronic device develops an internal short the device would become energized thus potentially electrocuting someone (I hope this is correct).

But then again I could just leave things alone. I think I'll wait until next summer when we are sitting in his back yard having a beer when I will bring up the subject casually as a "for your information" item. As you can see I am very wary about rocking the boat.

-Bob


Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1

Unless you are a licensed electrician there is no reason to expect you to be aware of a problem with the outlets. I would leave well enough alone. Do not put anything in writing about this matter? But you already did. The following suggestion will solve your concern if you are using appliances with a three prong plug without a properly grounded receptacle. Purchase as many of these GFCI's and adapters you will need:

»www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/sto···02510241

and one of these for each of the above:

»www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/sto···00356839

Plug the GFCI into the existing receptacle two prong or three prong and the adapter into the GFCI if the appliance plug is three prong. You are protected.

You might want to warn your land lord friend about the issue because there is the potential of lawsuit if a future tenant is electrocuted.



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
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reply to Bob Anderson

LL's generally have more responsibility than an average home owner. This is usually brought on through municipal codes.

Asking the LL to correct a potentially dangerous situation isn't whining. It's basically asking him to do his bare minimum job; a job he's obligated to do since he decided to go into the LL business.
If you have a limited understanding of how building systems work, you should always default to professionals for repair and upkeep, hire a management company that is liable, or sell out.

If someone breaks into your house and steals everything, do you call the police? Or, do you just forget about it because you don't want to bother them?
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


Bob Anderson

join:2001-05-05
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1
reply to Mr Matt

I will go to my local Home Depot and consult with them. The items in the Home Depot links look promising.

I will tell the LL after I find a solution for my TV and computing equipment.

-Bob



bobrk
You kids get offa my lawn
Premium
join:2000-02-02
San Jose, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to Subaru

said by Subaru:

People I guess don't seem to understand why that tab is on the adapter and where it's meant to go.

Of course, that only works if the box is grounded somewhere, which most K&T boxes aren't.


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
reply to Subaru

said by Subaru:

People I guess don't seem to understand why that tab is on the adapter and where it's meant to go.

That little metal strip with the hole? I always cut those off. They just get in the way and no one ever screws them in place anyways.


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
reply to bobrk

said by bobrk:

Of course, that only works if the box is grounded somewhere, which most K&T boxes aren't.

I'd take an outlet plate off and see what's what behind it. I've replaced several switches in my house (built in '79) where the switch was never grounded, despite having a ground screw. The ground wire from the NM cable was just folded up and sat in the back of the outlet box unused.

My sister's house also had several outlet boxes where the outlets were 2 plugs, but there was a grounding wire clipped to the metal box. There was no reason that a grounded outlet couldn't have been installed.

kamin

join:2003-03-30
Puyallup, WA

said by cdru:

said by bobrk:

Of course, that only works if the box is grounded somewhere, which most K&T boxes aren't.

I'd take an outlet plate off and see what's what behind it. I've replaced several switches in my house (built in '79) where the switch was never grounded, despite having a ground screw. The ground wire from the NM cable was just folded up and sat in the back of the outlet box unused.

My sister's house also had several outlet boxes where the outlets were 2 plugs, but there was a grounding wire clipped to the metal box. There was no reason that a grounded outlet couldn't have been installed.

Oh, halfassing jobs... I had something similar a couple years ago when my mom inherited my grandma's house. I went to install GFCI's and change out a couple "loose" outlets, and came to find that 90% of the 3 prong outlets were not grounded, even though every box had proper grounding wires in them (the ground was not hooked into the boxes either). Only ones with the ground hooked up to the plugs was at the end of a circuit. House was built in 1966.

So, a quick job turned into redoing every outlet and switch in the entire house, which honestly wasn't in vain since I found some aging backstabbed connections (grandma did complain of flickering but never wanted me to fix it). At least all the wire was copper!


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

said by kamin:

At least all the wire was copper!

1966 House.
A lot of things were only copper
Drain stacks, water pipes, you name it! COPPER GOLD MINE!

However, you got unlucky that a 1966 has no ground for the receptacles. My 1964 house was wired with copper romex with ground.


dennismurphy
Put me on hold? I'll put YOU on hold
Premium
join:2002-11-19
Parsippany, NJ
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

said by alkizmo:

said by kamin:

At least all the wire was copper!

1966 House.
A lot of things were only copper
Drain stacks, water pipes, you name it! COPPER GOLD MINE!

However, you got unlucky that a 1966 has no ground for the receptacles. My 1964 house was wired with copper romex with ground.

My last house was built in '61. It had copper romex with ground to each outlet box -- but not the outlets themselves.

I replaced all those receptacles with 3-prong ones and a pigtail to the box ground. I was so glad that the ground was actually there .... Made the 2-to-3 prong upgrade cake.

kamin

join:2003-03-30
Puyallup, WA
reply to alkizmo

said by alkizmo:

said by kamin:

At least all the wire was copper!

1966 House.
A lot of things were only copper
Drain stacks, water pipes, you name it! COPPER GOLD MINE!

However, you got unlucky that a 1966 has no ground for the receptacles. My 1964 house was wired with copper romex with ground.

Cast iron water pipes, sadly. Those were abandoned for aquapex a few years ago. If it was copper I'd be crawling under there and removing what was left!

The ground for the receptacles is there and functioning, it was that when the original electrician who wired the house never bothered to pigtail from the bare grounds in the receptacle boxes to the 3 prong outlets or to the box itself. So for years, most of the things that were thought to be grounded weren't. Definitely not legal now to do that, and, I have doubts that it was legal to that in 1966.

kamin

join:2003-03-30
Puyallup, WA
reply to dennismurphy

Looks like we both got lucky to not have to rewire!