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Old 09-24-2012, 12:49 AM   #1
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My house has only 2 prong/ungrounded outlets


What should I do to protect the occupants of my home (family, toddlers)?

I suppose grounding each outlet would be best (but very expensive?)

Next option would be replacing outlets with GFCI outlets?

Which outlets are the most important to replace with GFCI? Outlets that appliances plug into? Near water?

If an outlet has no appliance in it/isn't near water, does replacing it with GFCI add any protection?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 09-24-2012, 12:56 AM   #2
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My house has only 2 prong/ungrounded outlets


Up grading the wiring will add to the value of the home.
If you cut off a breaker or remove a fuse which ever you have you can then check which circuts are effected.
If you can figure out which one is the first in line adding a GFI will protect any of the outlets down stream from that one.

GFI's are needed in any outside outlets, over the counter in a kitchen, in a bathroom, and in a garage.

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Old 09-24-2012, 01:01 AM   #3
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My house has only 2 prong/ungrounded outlets


You have to either GFI it, or keep the 2-prong receptacle (it's illegal to replace it with a 3-prong if it doesn't have a ground wire.) If you use the GFI, place the "No Equipment Ground" label on it. The 3rd option is to run new circuits with an EGC in it.
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:28 AM   #4
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My house has only 2 prong/ungrounded outlets


The most dangerous thing about having only two-prong circuits is the actual wiring that is connected to these outlets. Old homes with the earliest electrical wiring will have what's called knob-and-tube (K&T) wiring, and this type of wiring was done in the late 1920s and to the mid to late 1930s. While K&T wiring is fully functional, you really have to be very careful about how much load you put on the circuit. Too many high-wattage devices can overheat the wires and be dangerous. This will be true regardless of the type of outlets that are connected to the cirucit--GFCI, three- or two-prong.

What I've done working in old houses is to just add new circuits, and retain the existing K&T wherever it is impractical to replace it (typically ceiling lights are extremely difficult to replace K&T with new wiring without tearing the whole ceiling down). With the new, modern circuits you can plug in whatever you want and feel confident. Leave the old wiring for low-wattage things.

As far as as the kiddos, I would just pop in those plastic covers like you'd do for any outlet. (Modern code for new construction actually requires what are called tamper-resistant outlets that have internal plastic shutters that block attempts from kids sticking foreign objects into the slots of the outlets.)
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:13 AM   #5
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My house has only 2 prong/ungrounded outlets


Ground wires (equipment grounding conductors) protect equipment.

Ground fault circuit interrupters protect people.

Either can be installed with or without the other.

EGCs can be added to existing ungrounded locations along with new grounded receptacles as ...
EGCs can be added to existing ungrounded receptacles as a temporary measure until new wiring or new receptacles can be installed. These EGCs must run all the way to the panel, that is, not simply hooked up to the nearest junction box with grounded wiring. They need not follow the exact route of the circuit wiring.

When the various receptacles in one or a few rooms are wired (from one to the next) in a daisy chain fashion, one GFCI unit can provide protection for several receptacles.

Unless your insurance company raises a fuss, there is no timetable for which you are obliged to do anything to your electrical system.

You can upgrade a little at a time but you may not add or extend wiring, using existing knob and tube wiring or ungrounded wiring to provide the power feed even temporarily.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 09-26-2012 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:24 AM   #6
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My house has only 2 prong/ungrounded outlets


What is the age of the house and wiring method?
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:54 PM   #7
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My house has only 2 prong/ungrounded outlets


Quote:
Originally Posted by bobelectric View Post
What is the age of the house and wiring method?
Not sure about wiring method. In having someone replace fixtures, they said there is not colored wire (sheath?) for hot/neutral, just cloth covered, so you have to remember which is which when changing fixture (light).

House was built in 1941 (Oregon).
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:59 PM   #8
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My house has only 2 prong/ungrounded outlets


Thanks Allan. I would like to start by having someone replace ungrounded 2 prong outlets with GFCI outlets. We do not have any fancy electronics, so I am only concerned about personal safety for the wife and kids.

Currently, we have outlet plugs (to prevent the kids from sticking anything in the outlets), but say the wife forgets to put one back in (or a kid gets one out), and one of the kids puts a paper clip, or whatever, into the outlet, they receive a shock (mild, strong, or potentially fatal, correct)?

Due to the potential fatal risk of that, I feel like I should replace any outlet I think a kid could get access to, with a GFCI outlet. Does this sound logical?

Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Ground wires (equipment grounding conductors) protect equipment.

Ground fault circuit interrupters protect people.

Either can be installed with or without the other.

EGCs can be added to existing ungrounded receptacles as a temporary measure until new wiring or new receptacles can be installed. These EGCs must run all the way to the panel, that is, not simply hooked up to the nearest junction box with grounded wiring. They need not follow the exact route of the circuit wiring.

When the various receptacles in one or a few rooms are wired (from one to the next) in a daisy chain fashion, one GFCI unit can provide protection for several receptacles.

Unless your insurance company raises a fuss, there is no timetable for which you are obliged to do anything to your electrical system.

You can upgrade a little at a time but you may not add or extend wiring, using existing knob and tube wiring or ungrounded wiring to provide the power feed even temporarily.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:55 AM   #9
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My house has only 2 prong/ungrounded outlets


Why dont you instal gfci breakers in the main panel ?
This way all outlets on those circuits are protected !
Then add grounds as you can.

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