I live in an apartment, where NONE of the outlets are actually grounded although they're all 3 prong... my landlord is a slumlord, fundamentally. He has fixed absolutely nothing electrical (lighting is going serially down the hallway). I am moving, obviously ASAP.

But in the interim is there anything at all I can do to protect my electronics? I have lost a computer, several microwaves, etc. to what I'm pretty sure are surges. I have these running through protectors, but I understand that these do not work in the absence of a real ground...

I have opened up the outlets and connected the ground wire to where it's supposed to go... because it's an apartment bldg. I can't audit it actually going to the ground itself...

I know there is no replacement for a proper ground. Do I have any good options to mitigate surge potential to blow up my computer and peripherals? This is my livelihood... so I want to protect it and be able to upgrade components without worrying that they're just going to get destroyed.

  • 2
    A small UPS may provide more protection than a simple surge protector. – Spehro Pefhany Jun 11 '15 at 16:01
  • Are there any copper water lines going to a sink, toilet? Or base board heating with copper lines? Either of those would give you a ground. – George Herold Jun 11 '15 at 16:06
  • 4
    @George Herold - I probably wouldn't do this. He might end up providing the entire building's earth connection through his sink. – Jon Jun 11 '15 at 16:55
  • This would be a better fit on the DIY stack exchange. – Adam Lawrence Jun 11 '15 at 19:35
  • @Jon Mind you, he wouldn't need a kettle if there ever was a major electrical fault - the sink would do a nice job of boiling whatever was in it! :) – Adam Lawrence Jun 11 '15 at 19:37

Just use a surge protector and ignore the open ground light -- the line-to-line protection will still work. Also, where the heck did you actually connect the ground terminals to?!

  • Note: most consumer surge protectors will only protect against 1 or 2 surges before they stop protecting your equipment. I'm not sure if there's any way to check if the protection is still active, but if you've had your surge protectors since before you moved in, get new ones. – user3757614 Jun 11 '15 at 22:53
  • @user3757614 -- that is true, MOVs can only take so many Joules before they go bust. – ThreePhaseEel Jun 12 '15 at 22:15
  • Shake them. If you hear a rattle, they're bad. If you don't hear a rattle, that tells you nothing. – Billy C. Dec 13 '16 at 5:46

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