another question for the "sparkies" .......

Something I am running into in a lot lately…
Older home with SEC, meter, Panel, some new circuits (GFCI - etc) All updated and done correctly. Problem is, many of these fixer-uppers are being flipped and they are only replacing what is necessary to make it reasonably updated/safe.

How concerned do I need to be when say, main floor outlets are still 1950’s or 60’s Romex 2-wire (in decent condition) and not updated to 3-wire. Usually all new outlets and switches…but obviously not grounded. Assuming they test OK as far as voltage, etc. , Is this a problem?

I would point out the 2 wire outlets and let the customer decide. Bear in mind most things people plug in only have 2 prong plugs. In garages, laundries, outdoor outlets and utility areas the grounding outlet becomes important as it will in any place they may want a computer.


‘first floor’ is relative, so I’ll use my first floor as an example. Almost 100% of what I have don’t require a grounding plug. However, when I used a POS surge protector, that has a ground on it, and I remember it stated it would not work correctly ‘ungrounded’. I would suggest to the home owner, if a modern appliance, computer, tv, etc, has a grounded plug, even though it has a plastic case, that ground could be important for the life expectancy of the appliance. Now that would be my comment.



As an HI your job in this case would be to inform your client that the receptacles are non-grounded and explain to them their options as they need to be aware of what options they have if buying this home.

The 2 wire systems are fine as long as you don’t need a EGC as Greg stated…but they do have options…I recently did a Virtual Inspection Training Session online regard it…check my profile and a few posts back.

I am a FIRM beleiver as the HI side of me would say…that you also EDUCATE the client…not educate over their head…but learn to explain the clients options as they may STILL want the house if they know their options.

Explain to them what you have as well as in your report…learn a little about the options the client has…in regards to GFCI’s and so on and the info in the previous post I typed about.

Some believe you just write it up as Non-Grounded and move on…personally I am one of those that needs to take a few minutes and explain their options while I am inspecting…to each his own.

No one SET the golden rule of how you do it…I just happen to like to do it.


When you speak of letting the client know their options, do you mean their options as far as upgrading the system? That would be a messy option if the existing wiring isn’t run in conduit, or are you just saying that they need to be aware that re-running the wire and re building the system would be a possible option but an expensive one.

Or am I missing you al-together? :slight_smile:


Thanks ok…many don’t understand my garbled typing…

I am saying that when you are speaking to YOUR client you can explain to them the options they have…because you have to remember your working for them…and they may still want the house so I call it an educational courtesy to your clients and THEY will think more of you for it…

The options are shown in this post -

Nothing in the NEC would say an older dwelling that may have (2) wire setups need to be updated…so technically while they go in your report…they are not required to change them…BUT you can explain in a brief statement how they can make it safer…via GFCI’s if they want 3 prong receptacles…or if they are already illegally done…as to how to solve the problem.

Also you can explain ( with a little education ) on the options they possibly will have with an electrician…and yes it will cost more than the GFCI option…but could be done if conditions permit it…unfinished basements and so on…

IN fact…we just did a house the other day…cost them about $ 900.00 for the first floor…thats all they wanted…we GFCI protected the second floor until they remodel it…which they intend on doing.

Just saying…know all the options…which is why I did the lesson online…better education make you LARGER than life in the eyes of your clients…

Thanks Paul I read the entire other thread, great info! Thanks so much for youre insight!