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How to Work Around with 2-Prong Outlets With No Ground?

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Posted by Jay Chan on August 3, 2004, 12:53 am
I would like to know how someone can work with power outlets that only
have 2-prong and no grounding.

My brother-in-law is buying an old apartment (a co-op). The apartment
is fine except for the power outlets that only have 2-prong, and the
inspector told him that the power cable is old (the cable is covered
with fabric coating, not metal jacket) and need to be replaced in the
next 2 to 3 years. He cannot replace the power cable because the co-op
manages that area. I am wondering how someone can work around the
limitation of not having grounding in the power outlets. Can we use a
3-prong to 2-prong adapter and run a wire from the adapter to a
baseboard heater? Any other option?

Thanks in advance.

Jay Chan

Posted by Vaughn on August 3, 2004, 1:25 am

     You are probably going to find a newsgroup dedicated to construction or
home improvement to get a reasonable answer.  It might also help to name the
city/county you are dealing with.  The specific solution allowed will depend on
the agency involved, but first I would question the requirement that 3-prong
outlets be installed.  Is that inspector going to show up again in two or three
years?  I doubt it.

     On the other hand, things like this can turn into a real headache when you
are trying to sell a property and it won't pass inspection.  Or worse,  the new
buyer can't get insurance because of the wiring and therefore can't get a
mortgage, effectively killing the whole deal.

     From my code class 20+ years ago, I don't think a baseboard heater will fly
for a ground.  They usually want a cold water pipe.


Posted by Robert Bates on August 3, 2004, 2:30 am
 In Oregon it is permitted to connect the ground to the neutral.  If you look
in the panel, they both go to the same block.

depend on


when you

the new

will fly

Posted by sno on August 4, 2004, 12:25 am

Robert Bates wrote:

Cold water pipe is no longer considered a "good" ground....do to the
danger of it changing from metal to plastic....you no longer know
how much of the metal pipe is buried under the earth.....

have fun.....sno

Posted by daestrom on August 4, 2004, 9:00 pm

NOT anywhere except at the service entrance.  That is the *only* place that
the EGC (equipment grounding conductor) and the 'neutral' properly called
the 'grounded conductor) can be tied together by the NEC.

Water pipes are no longer considered valid grounds (too much risk of

It *is* permissible to replace a two-prong outlet with a three-prong outlet
and leave the ground unconnected *IF* it is protected by a GFCI and is
labeled to indicate GFCI protected, no ground.

The guys over on alt.engineering.electrical can discuss for hundreds of
messages all the ins and outs of the NEC.


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