2 Prong Receptacle Houses

Running in to this more than I care. I reccomend upgrading to
3-pronged rececptacles that are properly installed with a ground
wire. Should there be any mention of safety.

Im new to Home Inspection and have 7 paid inspections under my
belt. I need to make a report on a house with 2 prong receptacles.
What is the NACHI verbage for this ?


Info to share with your client.




Here in Alabama, I have run into these little buggers too. If the electrical outlet that you are referring to is three prong with no ground, then write it up accordingly. If it has two prongs, leave it alone. You could make an improvement suggestion to upgrade to a three prong with ground, but there are no faults if they are working at time of inspection.

I recommend having an electrician install a GFCI receptacle at the upstream receptacle on two-wire ungrounded systems as a safety measure. I stress that there is the increased possibility of shock hazard with these systems, and that my recommendation is the choice of the client, that the home’s system was the norm when the home was built. That way, I fulfill my duty to the client, and not making a catastrophe out of it makes agents happy.

Why is there an increased shock hazard with a 2 prong receptacle? If a two prong plug is used there is no problem with it.

Two prong appliances (lamps, vacuums, etc) fall into many types:

  1. Double insulated - Two protective barriers would have to fail to shock someone, very safe.
  2. Polarized - Preventing the ‘hot’ from ever touching any exposed surfaces, but still pose a risk to safety if there ever is a floating neutral.
  3. Unpolarized - The ‘hot’ has no restriction on the flow electricity, and metal parts can be energized.

With a three prong plug, you know the ‘older’ ways of wiring appliances, such as #3, are gone. This way you meet the safest condition for appliance users.

Also, some added features, three prong plugs seem to be more secure once fully inserted, so children have a harder time playing with them. Three prong plugs are cheaper so home owners will be more apt to fix broken ones sooner.

I didn’t cover all of the pluses, but these are enough for answering why?


I don’t recommend upgrading because it is accepted by the NEC and I don’t consider it unsafe, as long as the appliances in use don’t require a ground (which is most household appliances). I suspect you’ll eventually find yourself in hot water with someone for recommending the spending of lots of money to upgrade a house that isn’t necessarily a hazard.

I empower my clients with information: “The house is wired mostly with 2-prong ungrounded receptacles. While common years ago and still acceptable today, the lack of a grounding conductor will limit the use of certain appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, computers, etc. that require a ground. Dedicated circuits may have to be run to properly and safely use such appliances.”

Jae brought up a good point on this a few post back.


Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

The point Jae makes in his post is the main reason I mention installing GFCIs. People do stuff, and installing GFCIs in those ungrounded systems is inexpensive, and will at least help protect people from themselves.

Speaking as a person who often gets tasked with remediating electrical issues found by home inspectors, I’d recommend caution with regard to talking about costs. In a home with all ungrounded receptacle circuits, the cost for GFCI protection can sometimes be startling due to various factors.

The suggestion to add GFCI receptacles is a solid one. Continue to do so.

Thanks, Paul…coming from you, that means a lot!!:mrgreen: