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Apartment with Ungrounded Outlets - Page 2

post #11 of 16
ahh thx for the explanation. I guess you learn something everyday biggrin.gif so it's a "better then nothing" scenario... i always thought plumbing was enough since the copper pipe ran pretty far underground to reach the water main pipe. but I guess can be different for various scenarios/construction time periods. i didn't even consider galvanized. i thought they've been using copper pipes for ages but i guess that's the "expensive" option.
post #12 of 16
The outlet bodies may still be grounded through either a dedicated ground wire or through metal conduit... My grandmother's house actually had ground wires running into the bodies of all the 2 pronged outlets, allowing things to successfully ground through the middle screw. A UPS wouldn't help in any way. A GFI would at least get you safety, though.


I guess the true answer is an isolation transformer. One big enough to run a computer will probably be expensive, though.
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post #13 of 16
What kind iof wire is in the house. I know at my old mans house he had the ungrounded outlets too. But his wire was inside a metal sleave and it acted as a ground. The outlet boxes were metal too grounding to the metal sleave. I would take a multimeter and check the middle screw see if it acts as a ground. If it does I would just use an adapter and make sure you take out the screw and put it back though the adapters little metal ground loop thing. As an alternative just buy a ground rod and put it into the ground yourself (something like 6-8 feet) I know it was long and the electrician had a power tool that pounded it in in a few seconds.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihatelolcats View Post

just run a ground wire to the plumbing


This ^

Pretty much equivalent to earth ground.
post #15 of 16
Surge protectors work even without a ground connection, only not as well. They'll still protect against line-neutral surges, just not against line-ground or ground-neutral surges, which unfortunately seem to be more common. A GFCI is a good idea in most cases, and you can buy plug-in versions for about $12:

http://www.amazon.com/GFCI-Outlet-Adapters-Single-Adapter/dp/B001OE3JHC

An apartment with only 2-wire outlets is really old, probably pre-1970, and may have wire insulation that's in poor shape and is possibly a fire hazard if it isn't completely encased in metal conduit. OTOH it's possible the outlets are grounded to any metal boxes they're in, so take a wall outlet tester and plug it into a 2-prong adapter with the adapter's ground prong attached to the outlet's center screw. The tester can tell you if there's a ground connection, and so can many surge protectors equipped with a ground check LED. Some backup supplies will even beep if there's no ground connection.

Another test you always want to do with the wiring is plug in a Kill-A-Watt and run a hair dryer or 4-slice toaster at full blast. The Kill-A-Watt's voltage reading drops by more than a couple of volts means the wiring is in bad shape, most likely with some loose connections. At the house where I used to live, I found a couple of outlets that dropped to 90V when I ran a power saw.

Any chance of stirring up trouble by having the city building inspector or fire dept. visit the apartment complex?
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by larymoencurly View Post

Any chance of stirring up trouble by having the city building inspector or fire dept. visit the apartment complex?

if they are grandfathered in... it'll take a fire or something but you really don't want to be an arsonist biggrin.gif so... he's kinda screwed really...
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