Un-grounded wiring with three prong outlets

Hello all.
I’m an inspector in Utah and my boss and I have a question about un-grounded wire with three prong outlets. I am aware that according to code you can not put them on un-grounded wire. But we all know that happens anyway. We had a client today say that the inspector that inspected the home that they are selling either wants them to re-wire the house or to put in two prong outlets.

Is it really that much of a difference when it comes to the shock hazard to have two prong instead of three? Because of the lack of grounding wire it’s still going to shock the same correct? I can see how people assume it has a grounding wire when they see the three prong outlet and that’s why it’s against code.

I guess I’m just looking for other opinions. Usually the way we handle it is inform the client that it is un-grounded so that they are aware of the safety risk that it has. And not really make a big deal about changing the outlet back to two prong. What is your opinion and how do you handle this when you see it?

Looking forward to your responses an thank you in advance.

Cameron Fullmer, Alliance Inspection Services.

[FONT=Times New Roman][size=2]There are three ways to repair an ungrounded 3-slot receptacle, listed below from most-expensive to least-expensive: 1) Install a ground connection to the receptacle, typically done by running a ground wire to the receptacle, which can be difficult to accomplish. 2) Change out the receptacle for a GFCI-receptacle. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. Essentially, if there is a ground fault (you are being shocked), the circuit is interrupted (shut off to prevent your death). The receptacle should be marked with a sticker, which comes in the box with the receptacle, stating “NO GROUND CONNECTION.” The reason is that some appliances, such as televisions and computers, require a ground connection to work properly and should not be connected to an ungrounded GFCI-receptacle. Also, surge protection devices do not function properly without a ground connection. 3)And last, the cheapest remedy is to change the offending receptacles back to 2-slot, which are still available at most hardware stores.

You forgot the "Harry Homeowner method…

Send this with report.

The NEC allows 3 prong receptacles on ungrounded wiring if they are gfi protected.

Do not forget the shipping!

Why would anyone want two prong outlets?

I was going to ask if you can even buy two prong outlets, but I just googled it, and apparently, yes, you can. :shock:

If you leave the three prong outlets in place, they have to have a plug in the ground slot, so as not to imply they are grounded. To people that don’t know better. Someone may come over with a PC and think that their equipment grounded, but is not. The GFI fix, is a Hokey way of fooling people. But acceptable.

install GFCI breakers it is so much easier that way.

Would putting gfi breakers in the panel on all circuits that had 2 prong outlets changed to 3 prong work instead of replacing all the outlets with gfi outlets. I am not sure that switching back to a two prong would be a good solution either since the homeowner is probably going to have adaptors in every outlet which make poor connections and pose a fire hazard.

You do not have to replace all out lets Just the first Receptacle in each string .
Receptacles I think are much cheaper then breakers .
You also need to put labels on each plug .

You mean like this. It is acceptable but the equipment is not protected…

If the down stream Plugs are fed from the GFCI outlet then they are protected .

They of course will still not have a ground

That is a total abortion.

Why do you say that .
What would you do ?.
I see nothing wrong with this method .
You at least are sure you got the first plug in the system to protect the rest in each string

While there are some issues like the unsecured cables, the gfi protection can be provided by gfi receptacles at a much lower cost than breakers.

It is just plane goofy and very unprofessional.
To have a sparky add all those GFCI outlet would most likely cost more than adding appropriate GFCI breakers.
I would never add all those GFCI outlet over the panel.

Canadian Prices are at Lowes
GFCI |breaker $109.00
GFCI plug $14.89

Schneider Electric - Homeline
Homeline CHOM GFI 15-Amp Single Pole Ground Fault Plug-On Circuit Breaker](https://www.lowes.ca/breakers/homeline-chom-gfi-15-amp-single-pole-ground-fault-plug-on-circuit-breaker_g1447382.html?searchTerm=GFCI-Breaker)

Lowe’s Item #: 48969
Model: CHOM115GFI

[FONT=Calibri] ](https://www.lowes.ca/products/review.aspx?family=1447382)[/FONT]


Pass & Seymour/Legrand
Pass & Seymour/Legrand 15-Amp Decorator GFCI Electrical Outlet](https://www.lowes.ca/electrical-outlets/pass-amp-seymourlegrand-15-amp-decorator-gfci-electrical-outlet_g1201480.html?searchTerm=GFCI-receptical)
Lowe’s Item #: 158890
Model: 1595-WCC10

I guess we will differ. The receptacle is about 1/3 the price of a breaker. The breaker may not be available to fit the panel. It is also easier to add the receptacle in the larger box and it saves time by not needing to find the first receptacle in the string which makes it even more cost effective. It also avoids any further need to disrupt the old insulation in the device boxes.

I found this comment on a forum a few years back during electrical school. This is how I explain to the buyer that installing GFCI’s or GFCI CB’s is a good idea even if the outlets don’t actually have an EGC. Most people don’t want to change back to 2-prong, and most don’t want to run a ground to each receptacle.

"Let’s look at a scenario… You replace a 2 prong outlet with a standard 3 prong. No equipment ground is present. Now I plug a 3 prong vacuum into the outlet and the motor shorts to the metal parts of the vac. The handle of the equipment is energized and now if you touch a grounded object it can cause serious injury.

Now same scenario with a GFCI. When you touch the grounded object the GFCI senses the current is not the same coming in as it is going out and trips."