Two Prong Outlets

Do any of you have a blanket disclaimer for a house, say 50 years old using two prong outlets/receptacles? I do not count it as a defect, the home is 50 years old. But what could I add for a nice disclaimer for that?

How about Knob and Tube wiring? Thank you in advance for your help.

I think it would be significant to point out whether a grounded wiring method was used. Some old Romex did have a small grounding conductor long before the 5-15 receptacle came into general use. You could also have a metal wiring method. I suppose you could use an adapter to test the boxes. If that passed swapping out the receptacles is trivial.
Do you get adapter kits with a SureTest? My Ecos has 3 or 4 adapters for checking grounding paths, 240v stuff and such

From my [Interactive Report System]( for NACHI members.pdf):

"**Two-prong outlets present. **Two-prong outlets are outdated, are not grounded, and are generally considered unsafe. Recommend having 2-prong outlets upgraded to 3-prong outlets. Recommend further evaluation by a licensed electrician for upgrade options."

2 prong outlets ARE safe.
They are grounded.

Now go to any lamp in your home and tell me how many ‘prongs’ are on the plug?

They are not outdated and are safe.

Greg, the newer SureTests have 3 fixed blades, the older ones (Ihave an old ST1 as well) have a very usefull telescoping ground blade that can be retracted when testing 2 prong outlets. I wish they had retained that feature on the newer models, having said that most of the time I use the 12inch flex cord anyway on the newer ones. I still regularly dig out the oder model when evaluating 2 wire outlets.



A regular 3 prong adapter works fine with the advantage that if it shows OK with the strap tied to the center screw it is an indication that the box is grounded. My Ecos also had an adapter with a long pigtail connected to the Ecos ground and the plug prong floating to test outher ground paths. There was another adapter I didn’t use and I am not sure I remember what it did.

Another handy adapter is a 2’ heavy duty cord that is the 14ga or 12ga zip cord type. You can safely split out the conductors for your clamp on.
That is the one you use to show people why their washer, fridge or pump trips the GFCI. Clamp it on the center conductor while the appliance is plugged into a grounded non-GFCI and measure the ground fault current. You can also clamp either of the phase conductors to see current used.

“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.”

I have to go with what my insurance company and my attorneys, as well as other resources (electricians, plumbers, etc.) in San Diego tell me since I consult with them often.

Mileage in your area might be different, so as I have said many, many times on these boards, consult with your business advisors (attorneys, insurance providers, etc.) to determine your business, inspection, and writing protocols.

I personally like what Joe has better than what I have and shall approach my attorneys and insurance company to see if I might substitute Joe’s for mine.

Thanks, Joe.

You’re welcome RR. :slight_smile:

Hey, Joe.

Done got appropriate approval, and the report for one of today’s inspections will be the first with the new verbiage.

See, that’s why I continue to stick around here at NACHI. I get benefits from the membership, too.

Russel, just noticed a spelling error. Safety should be “safely”.

I caught it before I sent it to my attorneys and insurance providers. Thanks.

Excellent language, better too than I was using! Kudos!

There ya go, Joe. Ms Margarita and Dr Cuervo invite you over for a congratulatory margarita. :margarit:

Hmmm…Parks says they are grounded. Funderburk says they’re not. As I recall, Parks is an electrician. This might call for a poll.

Chris, I think it’s just terminology…

The way I understand it, the “grounded” (neutral) conductor is a circuit conductor that carries current in normal operation to earth and the “grounding” (ground) conductor carries current under fault conditions to earth.

A timely article from Barry Stone:

Real Estate Articles from Inman News

Electrical outlets should be disclosed by inspector

Outdated design legal, but problematic

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

By Barry Stone
Inman News
Dear Barry,

We recently purchased a 50-year-old home, and no one mentioned the 2-prong, ungrounded outlets. The sellers didn’t disclose them, and our home inspector didn’t list them in his report. Shouldn’t the sellers have upgraded these outlets to current code requirements before they sold the property? Shouldn’t our home inspector have reported this defect? Won’t this be a problem when we eventually sell the home? --Bob

Dear Bob,

Sellers are not required to upgrade old electrical systems when a property is sold. They are merely required to disclose any defects of which they are aware. Since most sellers do not regard the normal characteristics of an older home as defects, it is common for 2-prong electrical outlets to be omitted from a seller’s disclosure statement.

For home inspectors, disclosure expectations are much different than for sellers. Making no comment about ungrounded outlets in an old home is an example of professional negligence. An inspector’s job is not merely to report conditions that require repair, but to disclose all observable conditions that could be of concern to a buyer, especially where safety is involved. Even though these outlets are “legal non-conforming” – having been installed according to code at the time of construction – buyers still need to know that such outlets are substandard. You should have been advised that future upgrade would be beneficial. An important disadvantage of ungrounded outlets is that most surge protection devices on computers are ineffective without grounding.

As a future seller of the property, you will not have to list 2-prong outlets as faulty or defective. However, now that you are more informed about these outlets, it would be prudent to disclose that they are legal but substandard due to the age of the building.

I kind of assumed as much, Larry. We describe in our Reports that the outlets are functional, but recommend that the client consider upgrading to “safer and more functional” three-prong type (or GFCI, depending upon location) outlets.