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I have moved into an older home. All of the outlets are two prong only. Is there an extension cord that will plug into the wall with a 2 prong, but has 3 prongs in the extension part? If not, how am I going to make things work in this old place, lol?? Thank you for any help!

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    Is safety important to your family? There are many ways to resolve that situation safely and legally. Wackadoodle extension cords are not one of them. Apr 23 '20 at 14:23
  • How old is it, and do you know what it was wired with? (old, likely cloth-covered NM, K&T, BX/AC, conduit)? Apr 23 '20 at 23:28
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You can legally change the outlet, as long as it is “GFCI Protected” and marked “No Equipment Ground". You'll get the safety benefits of a third wire ground, though not all the surge protection benefits of your power strip. The GFCI units do use some 'vampire' power, about 1 Watt, 24/7.

Section 406.3(D)(3) of the 2008 National Electric Code covers this situation.

GFCI no equipment ground

Consider also a whole house surge protector, and if you have K&T wiring, an AFCI on the K&T. That said, if any of this sounds unfamiliar, hire a home inspector to check out everything and provide advice as to priorties.

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  • A whole house surge protector protects equipment from certain types of damage. But it really doesn't do much for personal safety. May 27 '20 at 20:56
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There are adapters like this:

enter image description here

By screwing the green tab into the outlet faceplate, you are theoretically providing a ground. There are also models with ground wires you can attach to known grounds like water pipes.

I would get a circuit tester like this to insure the adapter is actually safe.

enter image description here

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  • Downvoted (sorry!) because cheater plugs are just that -- cheaters. It might be different in places like Chicago with tons of conduit, but I never find a ground on an old outlet. And I know you said to get the tester, but that's just the path to heartbreak. Apr 23 '20 at 18:55
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    Thanks for explaining your downvote. I expected that from certain types of people. I'm sure completely rewiring her house is a much more practical and realistic solution...OK, that was a bit sarcastic (sorry!) Apr 24 '20 at 4:39
  • Well rewiring isn't the only way to fix the situation, you can also use GFCI receps or breakers and then legally and safely convert to grounded receps. I think your answer is worthwhile though, since you specifically mention the need to verify that a ground is present. May 27 '20 at 20:25
  • This is better than violating an extension cord that you're likely to still have, and use, lying around after you do upgrade. Like that's ever going to happen anyway, +1
    – Mazura
    May 28 '20 at 12:48
  • Do think those adapters have been illegal in Canada for years. Someone can check and add if I am wrong.
    – crip659
    Feb 25 at 22:33
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No, they no longer make those because they are dangerous. What you really need to do is call in an electrician to update your wiring so that it's safe.

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  • Unfortunately, i don't own the home and trust me she's not going to do anything to change it! Apr 23 '20 at 15:14
  • Thank you for the information. I will talk to someone at the home improvement place to try to get these items. I certainly don't want to do anything unsafe! Apr 23 '20 at 15:16
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    According to the internet these grounded plug adapters are indeed still made and available in the US. All cautions still apply.
    – Tim Nevins
    Apr 23 '20 at 15:19
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    "ground-wire style of cheater plug was discontinued when it was noted that a loose unattached grounding wire could by accident become inserted into the "hot" ". - However, even the type w/o a wire are "illegal in some jurisdictions, in particular throughout Canada"
    – Mazura
    May 29 '20 at 23:40

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