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Old 09-11-2012, 06:13 PM   #1
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Ungrounded outlets in a student room [Ontario]


I recently started renting a room and my 3-prong outlets may not be grounded. I bought a surge protector power bar last week and it has an LED light on the front that lights up when plugged into a grounded outlet. Of course for 3 of my 4 outlets it doesn't come on. I have an expensive computer, ps3, a fridge and guitar equipment so I don't want to take any chances... I've read a lot of different information on the internet ranging from ungrounded outlets being very dangerous to not an issue at all. I emailed my landlord about this a week ago and she said she would look into it but I haven't heard from her since.

Any advice/recommendations would be appreciated.
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:27 PM   #2
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Ungrounded outlets in a student room [Ontario]


Ungrounded outlets really aren't a terrible thing. They can damage ejquipment though. So a grounded plug though if you get a good surge. Assuming you have a good powerbar for your computer I would plug that into the outlet that shows a ground. Plug your comp, ps3 and amp into this outlet(i've heard stories about ungrounded outlets giving off a tingle on an amp if the inverter switch on the back is in the wrong position but I've never experienced it myself). The fridge can go anywhere. If one plugs showing a ground though it may just be a bad connection somewhere. Technically your landlord doesn't have to fix anything as ungrounded plugs are legal unless you add to them but if there is a ground and its not showing then you definately need a sparky.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:24 AM   #3
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Ungrounded outlets in a student room [Ontario]


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Technically your landlord doesn't have to fix anything as ungrounded plugs are legal unless you add to them but if there is a ground and its not showing then you definately need a sparky.
Two prong plugs are legal. Ungrounded three prong plugs are not legal unless they are GFCI protected. The lack of ground will not damage your equipment. However surge protectors will not function properly without the ground, so you are only in danger if there is a surge.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:04 AM   #4
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Ungrounded outlets in a student room [Ontario]


Thanks for the replies.

My landlord had a 'handyman' come over today to take a look at the outlets. He said that they are properly grounded but the wiring is aluminum so that might be what is causing the power bar to say it's ungrounded. He told me that it's fine to use them.
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:25 PM   #5
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Ungrounded outlets in a student room [Ontario]


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Thanks for the replies.

My landlord had a 'handyman' come over today to take a look at the outlets. He said that they are properly grounded but the wiring is aluminum so that might be what is causing the power bar to say it's ungrounded. He told me that it's fine to use them.
Wow. That's a new one. So I guess that means the thousands of houses wired in aluminum across the country are doing the same thing. Me thinks your landlord is feeding you a load of crap.

Also, the key word here is "handyman". Tell him to hire an electrician.
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:24 PM   #6
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Ungrounded outlets in a student room [Ontario]


Your landlord can't legally hire a handyman for this. He's now liable for any equipment damage. Also the handyman is on crack if that's what he thinks.

What province are you in. I may be able to give you a number to call if you need to escalate things.
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:26 PM   #7
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Ungrounded outlets in a student room [Ontario]


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Your landlord can't legally hire a handyman for this. He's now liable for any equipment damage. Also the handyman is on crack if that's what he thinks.
Actually, I would assume the "handyman" is a meth-head.
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:36 PM   #8
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Ungrounded outlets in a student room [Ontario]


He said he is in Ontario. In Ontario handyman can NOT do electrical work.
Aluminum wire will not cause a ground to show as not present unless the ground is actually not present. There is still a problem with the wiring unless your power bar is possibly defective.
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:11 PM   #9
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Ungrounded outlets in a student room [Ontario]


Yeah this in southern Ontario. What the handyman told me exactly was that the wiring was aluminum and that was over his head, so he was going to let my landlord know this and let her decide what to do. He did tell me that it's grounded properly though and safe to use. Just for further info my landlord is a real estate agent so I kind of doubt they are trying to pull a fast one on me.

It seems unlikely to me that the powerbar is defective because it can detect the ground in other outlets in the house.

Thanks again for the help, I don't have that much knowledge about this kind of stuff. This is the first place I've ever rented.
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:18 PM   #10
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Ungrounded outlets in a student room [Ontario]


A real estate agent should know better. Whether the wire is aluminum or copper changes nothing in regards to grounding although it does incline me to think that it will have a ground because aluminum was used primarily here in the 70's (ish) and grounds were mandatory then. You could pick up a receptacle tester for 5 bucks at princess auto or Canadian tire if you want confirmation of what your bar is telling you.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:47 PM   #11
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Ungrounded outlets in a student room [Ontario]


Use the one grounded outlet for any sensitive equipment,
Use gfci's on the other outlets for not so sensitive equipment.

As for the aluminium wire theory - "CRAP".

I dont beleive it for 1 second,
neither will any electricains beleive it !
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