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Open Ground Wall Outlet

I recently tested all the outlets in my house. They are 3 prong outlets but they all have an "open-ground". I have all my computer equipment pluged into these outlets. What is the danger or disadvantage of having  open-ground wall outlets. What could be the negative effects of having open-gournd outlets.
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jtwoods4
Asked:
jtwoods4
2 Solutions
 
tmj883Commented:
Subject: How do I convert two prong receptacles to three prong?

      Older homes frequently have two-prong receptacles instead
      of the more modern three.  These receptacles have no safety
      ground, and the cabling usually has no ground wire.  Neither
      the NEC or CEC permits installing new 2 prong receptacles anymore.

      There are several different approaches to solving this:
          1) If the wiring is done through conduit or BX, and the
             conduit is continuous back to the panel, you can connect
             the third prong of a new receptacle to the receptacle
             box.  NEC mainly - CEC frowns on this practice.
          2) If there is a metallic cold water pipe going nearby, and
             it's electrically continuous to the main house ground
             point, you can run a conductor to it from the third
             prong.  You MUST NOT assume that the pipe is continuous,
             unless you can visually check the entire length and/or
             test it.  Testing grounds is tricky - see "Testing
             Grounds" section.
          3) Run a ground conductor back to the main panel.
          4) Easiest: install a GFCI receptacle.  The ground lug
             should not be connected to anything, but the GFCI
             protection itself will serve instead.  The GFCI
             will also protect downstream (possibly also two prong
             outlets).  If you do this to protect downstream outlets,
             the grounds must not be connected together.  Since it
             wouldn't be connected to a real ground, a wiring fault
             could energize the cases of 3 prong devices connected
             to other outlets.  Be sure, though, that there aren't
             indirect ground plug connections, such as via the sheath
             on BX cable.

      The CEC permits you to replace a two prong receptacle with a three
      prong if you fill the U ground with a non-conducting goop.
      Like caulking compound.  This is not permitted in the NEC.

      The NEC requires that three prong receptacles without ground
      that are protected by GFCI must be labelled as such.

      Examine a receptacle, sounds like you are not within code.
The greatest hazard is not to the equipment but to the operator.
T
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jtwoods4Author Commented:
My question was not how to wire a 2 prong outlet to make it have a gournd connection. Let me restate the question.

They are 3 prong outlets but they all have an "open-ground". What is the danger or disadvantage of having  open-ground wall outlets. What could be the negative effects of having open-gournd outlets.
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jtwoods4Author Commented:
SPECFIFCALLY, What is the danger to my equipment. What can happend to my equipment if there is an open ground?
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jarichCommented:
How old is your house? Surge protectors do not have a chance of working with an "open ground".
Jerry
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jarichCommented:
If your house was wired for the grounded outlets and the wires were just connected wrong the ground would show as open or unprotected on a surge protector when you plug it in.
Jerry
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jtwoods4Author Commented:
Yes, it shows as open on the surge protector.
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onedeejCommented:
OK, i fyour have an open circut, then you dont have any ground protection, this will make your Supressor useless as it will only protect your system if it can direct the current to travel somewhere else. If you need ground, and your outlet doesnt offer true ground, get a "continuous" battery backup, then the computer is off of the house power grid, and is literally run off of a battery with some circutry between the two, any spikes or fluctuations will be absorbed unless it is an insanely large spike, then the battery and likely the system will just be murdered. For more info, go here... http://computer.howstuffworks.com/question28.htm
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jarichCommented:
You still need to answer how old the house is, the three prong outlets should be wired with three wires. Did somebody just install new three prong outlets on a two wire house wiring system? If that is the case it can not be up to code or safe. Shut off the power and pull one of the outlets out of the wall to see how many wires you have. Also check the main breaker box to see if the ground wire is connected if you do find three wires. It could be as simple as switching the black and white wires if you have three wires just to make the surge protector happy.
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jtwoods4Author Commented:
I rent so I am not sure how old the house is. I will take a look at my wiring and see what it looks like.
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jarichCommented:
I think you should notify your landlord, as this no ground should not be up to rental code. Check with your city rental building inspector if the landlord will not listen to you. I would not suggest you playing with the wiring in a rental property unless the landlord approved of it.
Thanks for the points,
Jerry
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