AFCI breakers and appliance protection

I have question about the AFCI breakers as a fix for two prong outlets. The fact that there is no physical ground wire from the NEW three prong outlets back to the main panel ground, will the AFCI protect three prong appliances plug into them from surges, spikes, or static electrical charges? Flat screen tv’s, computers, gaming systems and the like are all very sensitive to over current issues. These would normally get shunted to ground, but with no ground wire, how can they protect?? This is why (I believe) the IEC states that the out outlet should be labeled as “Non-Grounded Outlet”.

For example, the ground wire in a plug is connected to the metal casing of a PC desktop. If the hot lead somehow comes in contact with that metal casing and then a person touches the casing, they would complete the circuit to ground.

One is not allowed to replace a 2-prong with a 3-prong by using AFCI, it must have GFCI protection OR a functioning EGC (equipment grounding conductor). Neither GFCI nor AFCI require a ground to function.


AFCI protection is not the same as surge protection. A dual function AFCI breaker can be used to protect an ungrounded 3-prong replacement receptacle because the CB will also provide GFCI protection. GFCI protection is not a substitute for grounding so a device, like the aforementioned PC that requires connection to an equipment grounding conductor, cannot be used with an ungrounded 3-prong receptacle.


Welcome to our forum, Rick!..Enjoy! :smile:

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That statement is right on the money.

The ungrounded receptacles are identified as “no equipment ground” for a reason. If I find an ungrounded 3 pronged receptacle that is GFCI protected device/receptacle or not, that is not identified as “No Equipment Ground” it get written up as open ground.

This is a good diagram that clearly describes what to look for.



Thanks guys!! And thanks Kevin for the diagram.

I agree, it’s very good that this is mentioned in your reports. :+1: