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Old 06-20-2012, 01:53 PM   #1
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Dangers of no Ground Wire


Thanks to this forum, one problem has been solved last night (discussed in my other thread). But a new problem has arose.

There is no ground wire in the house, as far as I know.

My intention was to replace the 2 receptacles in one bedroom. One of the receptacles was a 2-prong (I replaced this one last night with a new 2-pronger). The other one is a 3-pronger. I was going to replace this one, but when I pulled it out, I found that there's only 2 wires in the box. One black, one white. No ground wire. The ground screw on the 3-prong receptacle is not being used.

Question 1: How bad is this for my devices? I have a brand new MacBook Pro (very expensive) and I don't feel safe plugging it into this outlet. Or should I?

Question 2: Will a surge protector help in this case? I have a Monster brand HTS700.

Question 3: What kind of cost am I looking at if I wanted an electrician to install a ground wire? It's a small 3-bedroom home in Southern California (Los Angeles county), maybe 2000 to 3000 square feet. One floor only with a crawl space under the house.

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Old 06-20-2012, 02:27 PM   #2
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Dangers of no Ground Wire


Ground is a safety issue and will not affect you macbook operation. A surge protector may not work in that receptacle since most of them require the ground to shunt the overload spike.

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Old 06-20-2012, 04:25 PM   #3
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Dangers of no Ground Wire


As joed says, a surge protector relies on the ground wire for operation so it's not helpful, but a laptop doesn't need to be grounded. Does it even have a 3-prong plug? Most laptop power supplies I've had are ungrounded anyway. If you need to plug in 3-prong devices, you can legally install GFCI protection and 3-prong receptacles on the ungrounded circuits. This is not equivalent to actually having a ground. Adding grounding to the existing circuits is only slightly less work than rewiring the house with new circuits, so you might want to consider that. It's not an easy or cheap project but having a crawl space makes it less difficult. You would want to upgrade to a modern 200A panel at the same time.
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