A fan plugged into a GFCI works fine. The same fan does not work when plugged into a two pronged outlet. This fan will work when plugged into a surge protector that is plugged into the same two pronged outlet.

Where is my problem?

  • 3
    It could be the outlet or the fan. If the prongs on the fan are slightly bent the 2 prong may be worn enough that it is not making contact. Is the 2 prong polarized? 1 hole taller than the other? If its not polarized it is an antique and needs to at least be updated to a polarized outlet and that will probably solve the problem even if the prongs are bent on the fan.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 24, 2017 at 19:48
  • Can you take a photo of the fan plug? curious the condition of the fan. @Ed Beal, the polarization shouldn't make a difference (right or wrong) even if its not to current code - (right or wrong) :D
    – noybman
    Aug 24, 2017 at 23:53
  • 1
    Older non polarized outlets didnot have the same amount of contact area. And at this age it may be opened up internally its not about the polarization itself.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 25, 2017 at 11:46

1 Answer 1


What your are saying is that you have a broken neutral and its shorting across the ground. That's why it won't work unless you have a path through the ground prong. This is potentially a dangerous situation. So get rid of the fan or have it repaired, but whatever you decide. Don't use this fan in this condition.

  • i don't follow this. The fan has a two prong plug presumably, unless we assume the OP left off a critical detail as to how he plugged it to a two prong outlet.
    – agentp
    Nov 29, 2017 at 14:49

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