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Old 10-08-2016, 09:36 PM
 
293 posts, read 657,326 times
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we bought a home built in the 50's and the whole house has ungrounded 2 prong outlets, and a few faulty GFCI outlets.

If you had an older home, did you upgrade the electrical to ground all outlets, or did you leave it as is? any issues so far?


besides rewiring the house, is there a more affordable solution? I heard it's pretty expensive to rewire
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Old 10-08-2016, 10:31 PM
 
7,283 posts, read 8,112,371 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semidevil View Post
we bought a home built in the 50's and the whole house has ungrounded 2 prong outlets, and a few faulty GFCI outlets.

If you had an older home, did you upgrade the electrical to ground all outlets, or did you leave it as is? any issues so far?


besides rewiring the house, is there a more affordable solution? I heard it's pretty expensive to rewire
I'm not an electrician so my overarching advice is to pay an electrician to give you professional advice.

Leaving some things out, like Arc-Fault Protectors, balanced power etc., for brevity in order decreasing safety:

1. 3-prong power with GFCI
2. 2-prong power with GFCI
3. 3-prong power
4. 2-prong-power

I would work with an electrician to make sure all power runs contain GFCI protection where possible.

I'll try to find something from the NEC or maybe an electrician explaining all of this.

Can you take a pic of your breaker box and post it? These are statically very unsafe relative to new equipment.
http://www.unsafepanels.com

Found something.......

Replacing 2-Wire Ungrounded Receptacles

Last edited by EDS_; 10-08-2016 at 11:03 PM..
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Old 10-08-2016, 10:43 PM
 
Location: The Windy City
5,163 posts, read 2,843,175 times
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I lived in a house for a while that still had knob and tube. The landlord had it rewired while I was living there and I think the cost was around $5000. And that was for a small 2br bungalow house.

My dream is to own an older home one day, but I am not ready for the maintenance expenses.
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Old 10-08-2016, 11:12 PM
 
3,293 posts, read 1,729,301 times
Reputation: 3651
Quote:
Originally Posted by EDS_ View Post
I'm not an electrician so my overarching advice is to pay an electrician to give you professional advice.

Leaving some things out, like Arc-Fault Protectors, balanced power etc., for brevity in order decreasing safety:

1. 3-prong power with GFCI
2. 2-prong power with GFCI
3. 3-prong power
4. 2-prong-power

I would work with an electrician to make sure all power runs contain GFCI protection where possible.

I'll try to find something from the NEC or maybe an electrician explaining all of this.

Can you take a pic of your breaker box and post it? These are statically very unsafe relative to new equipment.
Unsafe Panel Boxes - Important Information About Federal Pacific Electric, Zinsco and Outdated Electric Panel Boxes

Found something.......

Replacing 2-Wire Ungrounded Receptacles
I would add a number five to the list, and it's the only one that would actually be a code violation: fake three-prong outlets. Some sellers do this to older homes to make them appear updated, but it is a major no-no.


OP: I have some electrical experience, but I am also not a professional, so take my opinion lightly. I personally do not consider two-prong outlets to be a safety hazard outside of kitchens, bathrooms, garages and outdoor applications. I am pretty certain they aren't a code violation, either. They are inconvenient at times, but they are not particularly cheap to remedy. I would, however, insist on having properly-function GFCI outlets in all the the right spots.
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Old 10-08-2016, 11:24 PM
 
7,283 posts, read 8,112,371 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wittgenstein's Ghost View Post
I would add a number five to the list, and it's the only one that would actually be a code violation: fake three-prong outlets. Some sellers do this to older homes to make them appear updated, but it is a major no-no.


OP: I have some electrical experience, but I am also not a professional, so take my opinion lightly. I personally do not consider two-prong outlets to be a safety hazard outside of kitchens, bathrooms, garages and outdoor applications. I am pretty certain they aren't a code violation, either. They are inconvenient at times, but they are not particularly cheap to remedy. I would, however, insist on having properly-function GFCI outlets in all the the right spots.
I think that's called a "bootleg" ground. IIRC there are 3 main problems.
A. It's fraud
B. Equipment can become energized
C. Can't remember why but sometimes GFCIs are rendered useless because of bootleg grounding.

I'd agree 2-prong power isn't dangerous per se but two 2-prong power + GFI is much safer and usually very easy to install.
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Old 10-09-2016, 06:39 AM
 
Location: Grapevine, Texas
9,504 posts, read 19,506,212 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lepoisson View Post
My dream is to own an older home one day, but I am not ready for the maintenance expenses.
BTDT. It's not for the faint of heart or wallet!
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Old 10-09-2016, 10:50 AM
 
134 posts, read 81,170 times
Reputation: 237
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wittgenstein's Ghost View Post
I would add a number five to the list, and it's the only one that would actually be a code violation: fake three-prong outlets. Some sellers do this to older homes to make them appear updated, but it is a major no-no.
That's where the home inspector should be able to catch that. All plugs should be individually tested during the inspection. Even if it weren't done as fraud there exists the possibility that there is another problem in the wiring that should be caught.

To the OP: There's no easy way around doing a full re-wire. It's not required if the home has not been remodeled where electrical changes are required. I personally would invest in the change for personal and future investment reasons.
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Old 10-10-2016, 07:55 AM
 
Location: North Texas
23,599 posts, read 31,143,716 times
Reputation: 26656
Quote:
Originally Posted by semidevil View Post
we bought a home built in the 50's and the whole house has ungrounded 2 prong outlets, and a few faulty GFCI outlets.

If you had an older home, did you upgrade the electrical to ground all outlets, or did you leave it as is? any issues so far?


besides rewiring the house, is there a more affordable solution? I heard it's pretty expensive to rewire
Our house is 60 years old and still has its original copper 2-wire system.

I have had a single grounded outlet installed but that's it. It was expensive enough on its own (several hundred dollars).

I personally wouldn't bother changing the wiring unless you're doing a full gut job or unless the wiring is unsafe. Plenty of houses in this area have 2-prong outlets and they're fine.

I have yet to lose a single appliance or piece of electronics to a surge; I've been here 7 years. I have replaced a lot of outlets because they were old and had been painted over several times and the sockets had become loose over time. It's not a big deal replacing them.

HOWEVER....

I did not replace two-prong outlets with three-prong outlets. You can still buy 2-prong outlets at Home Depot and Lowe's in the same colors that three-prong outlets come in. As others have said, replacing 2-prong with 3-prong is, simply put, BS.

In 7 years I've experienced only one issue and that is with a light fixture in the kitchen. The wires in the ceiling are quite short and hard to work with, and we had to remove the fixture and re-tape the wires when some electrical tape came loose. No biggie. We've replaced almost every light fixture in the house since being here and it was pretty easy.

We also don't have issues getting the house insured. No problems there either. And the house may not meet current code, but there's LOTS of things about this house that don't meet current code. It's grandfathered in just like any other old house would be. (We haven't been forced to get rid of the asbestos in the attic either.)

Bottom line: Replace the wiring if you want to, but don't feel like you HAVE to. And if you do, be prepared for it to be a messy and expensive endeavor.
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Old 10-10-2016, 09:12 AM
 
293 posts, read 657,326 times
Reputation: 66
Thanks. I was leaning towards not rewriting the entire house either, but was curious about the home's the 2 or 3 outlets that my TV and computers will be plugged into. Not sure if there was an alternative way to keep them safe
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Old 10-10-2016, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX and Las Vegas, NV
5,074 posts, read 3,770,509 times
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I owned a house built in 1954 with copper wiring but 2 prong outlets except I did have GFCI protected outlets for kitchen and furnace. I had an electrician review and he advised me to leave well enough alone. Since I was born in the 1950's and grew up in homes with such wiring, I did recall a couple of "shocks" but no one died! I sold the house last year and it fully passed a VA loan inspection -- and they put safety above everything in granting VA loans to buyers. I did buy several "grounding adaptors" to use tho they are not recommended. Never had an issue other than the house wasn't wired to handle the extra load of today's electronics and I did wind up replacing the old fashioned fuse box with a conventional breaker box for about $1500.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheater_plug
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