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Electrical Wiring in the Home/2 prong/wire (non-grounded) receptacle, surge protector, and GFCI


I live in a house built in the early 60's with lots of electronics that the house was not designed for.  All receptacles are 2 prong/wire, in other words non-grounded.  For receptacles that need one, in order to use a surge protector, I have been using a 'cheater', aka 3-prong to 2-prong adapter, aka grounding converter.  I attach these 'cheaters' to the wall receptacle by the cover plate screw.  Of course, I have no idea if the cover plate screw is actually grounded, but I doubt it.  I'm just hoping and praying for the best.

Question 1 - Are the surge protectors functioning in any capacity in this manner?

Question 2 - Given the fact I've just invested in new computer equipment, would replacing the standard receptacle with a GFCI (for 2 wire) improve the surge protector functionality?

Question 3 - Does a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply/Battery Backup) fix the issue?

Question 4 - If your answer is no for the above questions, what should I do in short of hiring an electrician?  (To properly ground my whole house which I won't be living in much longer!)

Thank you


I am not a computer or electronic expert, so I may not be able to tell you all the possible problems with the computer.

To see if the system is grounded, but has 2 prong outlets, insert a tester into the smaller of the 2 slots, and on the screw.  If it lights, there is a ground.  If it does not light, there is no ground.

The best thing to do would be to run a new grounded wire from the outlet to the fuse/breaker panel in places where you have computers. You don't need to do it at every outlet, just the ones with computers plugged in.

The surge suppressors may stop surges from the system, but won't stop a surge from one thing plugged into the strip to another. Since the ground has no where to go, a surge would just go from one device to another.

The GFCI will prevent a shock, but won't help with a surge.

As far as the UPS, that is something an electronic expert would better answer.  As far as I know, it prevents overvoltage.  If it would react quickly enough, I don't know.
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Bob Sponaugle


Just about any home wiring question. (not appliance repair) I have done all kinds of home wiring for myself, including adding a new breaker box, etc. Please, questions from North America only. Please be specific with details.

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