Grounding Plug Outlets
Converting plugs from 2-pin to 3-pin

grounding plug installation

When do you need a grounded plug??

Most small appliances have a 2-prong plug. Check your clock, TV, iPad, cell phone or other small appliances. You will notice that most of them have two prong plugs. Two wire cords don’t have a ground wire.

Modern Appliances

Modern appliances are “Double Insulated” They are all plastic on the outside and the wires are insulated. They come with two-prong plugs.

When You Need Grounded Plug

When you are using a surge strip to protect high end home entertainment equipment or computers. Most surge arrestors/protectors use the ground to drain away the surge.

Code Requirements

To convert a 2-prong wall outlet to a grounded 3-prong outlet, the electrical code requires a #6 copper ground wire almost the size of a slim pencil to be run all the way to either the main panel or a subpanel. $300 or less is a typical fee for the first one and about $100 for each additional plug in the same room. Of course, it costs less if you mass-produce of them. But wait! - There is a better way.

Metal Appliances

Grounding used to be used to prevent shocks from the metal chassis in case a wire came loose and touched the metal shell. Some old vacuum tube radios, old appliances and refrigerators had metal covers.

Maybe you just thought it was a good idea to use three prong plugs?


The National Electrical Code has an exception that allows us to change the 2-prong plugs to a GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter) plug. The “U” shaped ground hole will not have a connection, but you’ll be able to use 3-prong plugs without having to use a “cheater” (2-prong to 3-prong, gray or orange colored adapter with a short green wire and a spade end.) The result is the same.

Ground Fault Interrupter

A GFI outlet kills the power instead of killing you. However, the fear of getting in electrocuted (not just shocked) by electricity is a little overrated. For you to get electrocuted, several things must happen at the same time. Not only do you have to get shocked, but you must be in a place where you can’t get away from the shocks, such as a child in a bathtub or a workman in an attic laying across the grounded metal pipes or other situation where you can’t get away. The other way that people die from electricity is the fall from a ladder perhaps landing on their head.

GFIs are required by code in rooms with running water, in unfinished basements and outdoors.

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