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Old 01-08-2011, 05:06 PM   #1
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Changing to 3-prong outlet


Hello, I started out today moving my computer desk to my spare bedroom - this was no small task and my house is sort of a disaster still. After reassembling the desk and moving in my computer I discovered the room only had 2-prong outlets and everything I need to plug in has 3-prong plugs.

I searched around this forum to find some information how to fix this and it's pretty clear to me that I am no where near qualified to attempt this! I am 100% okay with hiring a professional to help me, but I was just wondering if I could get a quick overview of what they would be doing and possibly how much it might cost (I know rates vary all over, so a vague ball park would be super).

Here's what I know... In 2003 I upgraded my fuse box to all switches (it used to have those screw in fuse things) when I added a little box outside to wire a hot tub. Otherwise I haven't done any other electrical things in my house which was built in the 50's and I have owned for 10 years.

I did a quick inventory and found out that my living room, bathroom and part of my kitchen have 3-prong outlets, but I still have 2 prongs in my 2 bedrooms, my dining room and one in my kitchen.

From what I've read here, just because I have 3-prong outlets doesn't mean they are safe if the person didn't do things the right way and don't have the right wires. I don't know how to check them, but if they are okay, it's possible that I could upgrade my other 2-prongers without too much work if they are connected by other correct wires?? Otherwise I will have to have new wires going right to my electrical box?

Would now be a good time to update all of my 2-prongs? (I have 8 but really need 2 of them for my computer stuff)

And advice or guidance would be terrific.

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Old 01-08-2011, 05:11 PM   #2
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Changing to 3-prong outlet


You would have to take one apart and see if you have a round wire in there! This wire would be bare copper or green. If not you would need to install either GFCI outlets or have new wiring ran to those receptacles!

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Old 01-08-2011, 05:12 PM   #3
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Changing to 3-prong outlet


One way to test your existing 3-prong outlets is to get a fancy surge-protector power strip, with monitoring lights. It can tell if there is a grounding connection or an empty hole in your outlet. You'll get a red light indicator if the ground is non-existent.

As far as replacing your other outlets, depending on the wiring methods used when your place was built, it may be as simple as replacing the devices, with grounding pigtails to your metal outlet boxes.

A qualified electrician should be able to tell you if you will need rewiring for grounding connections or not.
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Old 01-08-2011, 05:14 PM   #4
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Changing to 3-prong outlet


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You would have to take one apart and see if you have a round wire in there! This wire would be bare copper or green. If not you would need to install either GFCI outlets or have new wiring ran to those receptacles!
GFCI outlets, while providing protection for personnel, do nothing to protect equipment, such as computers and other electronics. I do not recommend using that method for computers, etc when equipment grounding is absent.
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Old 01-08-2011, 05:16 PM   #5
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Changing to 3-prong outlet


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GFCI outlets, while providing protection for personnel, do nothing to protect equipment, such as computers and other electronics. I do not recommend using that method for computers, etc when equipment grounding is absent.
I agree, just given her all options! I would rewire them all personally.
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Old 01-08-2011, 06:55 PM   #6
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Changing to 3-prong outlet


Given the older circuitry, IMO I would run a run grounded circuit for the computers and leave the old stuff alone.
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:19 PM   #7
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Changing to 3-prong outlet


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One way to test your existing 3-prong outlets is to get a fancy surge-protector power strip, with monitoring lights. It can tell if there is a grounding connection or an empty hole in your outlet. You'll get a red light indicator if the ground is non-existent.
Well, shoot, I have 2 surge protectors plugged in right now and they both have red lights on...so that means that none of my 3 prongs are grounded?

What exactly does a "grounded outlet" mean? Should I be worried that I might not have any?
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:15 PM   #8
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Changing to 3-prong outlet


Sparky,

I have a surge protector with two indicator lights; one green (indicated for grounded), and one red (indicated for protecting). I know this receptacle is grounded, because I installed it, so I'm not sure this is a good indicator.

A receptacle tester can be had from Home Depot for a few bucks which will indicate whether or not there's a ground.
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:18 PM   #9
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Changing to 3-prong outlet


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Well, shoot, I have 2 surge protectors plugged in right now and they both have red lights on...so that means that none of my 3 prongs are grounded?

What exactly does a "grounded outlet" mean? Should I be worried that I might not have any?
the grounded outlet supplies protection for your equipment, and you should verify whether or not it's grounded. Get yourself one of those little testers from Home Depot and check it out. If there's no ground, then yes, you should get it updated.

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