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wolverine

Apartment Safety

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Hey all, UP members seem to know everything so I'll pop a question and hopefully someone will know. I recently moved into an apartment with all 2 prong outlets. I have a lot of sensitive devices...computer, external hard drive, extra monitor, etc, and I'm not sure how much this puts them at risk, as well as myself. I know I can get an adapter plug, but I'm wondering if I should ground the plug from the surge protector through a wire to the building's plumbing since I'm thinking it reaches the ground at sometime. Or else I'm just going to hook a ground wire up to the fire escape since 1 pole on it continues all the way down to the ground. Does anybody know if this will work?

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The third prong was added to electrical circuits in the USA in later years as a safety device. It's there to prevent electricution if equipment is faulty. It is not there to conduct power and the only connection of the third wire to the rest of the electrical system must only be made in the breaker box where it tied to the neutral wire and to a rod buried outside in the ground. The third prong should not be connected to earth elsewhere as you will get a ground loop.

In addition, what you suggest could lead to a potentially lethal situation depending upon how the house is wired. If you do this, and there is a short in the equipment you could energize the fire escape and possibly kill someone. I know people do this in old places, but people also put coins in fuse boxes and end up burning down their homes. Even if this doesn't happen, connecting your equipment to a ground that does not connect at the electrical box will, as I mentioned above, cause a ground loop which can lead to all kinds of obscure problems.

If you want to do this properly, then call in a licensed electrician who can look at the specific wiring in the place and recommend the correct solution to the problem. It shouldn't cost that much money and is worth it over the risk of a homebrew solution.

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Thanks monsoon. I noticed a few other apartments had their ground wires attached to the fire escape. I'm worried that if they had a problem, the current would then be transferred to my outlets. I called an electrician and I'm having a few of the outlets replaced today.

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