How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
What can I do about an apartment with only two prong/slot receptacle outlets?
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
There is a solution, assuming you want to plug in a 3-prong cord, and do it safely, without replacing any old 2-slot receptacle outlets and improving your landlord’s property. You will need two components for each location: a “three-prong to two-prong adapter converter” and a “Shockshield GFCI-Plug with Surge Protection.” Both are available online at Amazon or you can try to find them locally.
The 3 prong converter (shown at right above) allows you to plug a 3-prong cord into a 2-slot receptacle, but it does not provide the safety protection of the third (round) slot’s ground connection, which is necessary for any appliances that have a 3-prong cord. The converter has a small metal nub with a hole that can be set under the screw at the center of the receptacle, but that almost never actually connects to a ground.
So you need to add the GFCI-Plug with Surge Protection (shown at left above). GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, and GFCI is approved by the National Electrical Code (NEC) as an alternative to a ground connection where one is not readily available.
Many power cords used in homes today are 2-prong and safe when connected to a 2-slot receptacle. So you may only need a few of these converters. Expect to pay a total of about $25 the pair.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
To learn more about electrical wiring, devices, and receptacles, see these other blog posts:
• What is the difference between what trips a GFCI (ground fault) receptacle and a circuit breaker?
• What is the code requirement for GFCI protection for receptacles near a wet bar sink?
• What is the requirement for a service receptacle outlet for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HACR) equipment?
• Why is an opening in the wall around the side of an electrical receptacle outlet a safety defect?
• When was GFCI-protection for kitchen dishwasher receptacle outlet first required?
• What is allowable voltage range at a wall receptacle outlet in a house?
• What is the difference between an electrical receptacle, an outlet, and a plug?
• Does a washing machine receptacle outlet require GFCI protection?
• What is the building code requirement for receptacle outlets at stairs and stair landings?
• What is a "backstab" receptacle outlet?
• Why are some electric receptacle outlets upside down (ground slot up) in a house?
• What is the height requirement for an electric receptacle outlet?
• Where are GFCI receptacle outlets required?
• When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required?
• Does a home inspector remove receptacle outlet cover plates?
• When was the current receptacle/outlet spacing of 12-feet first required?
• When was the three-slot (grounding) outlet/receptacle first required?
• Why does painting an electric receptacle (outlet) make it unsafe?
• Why are electrical outlets and plugs polarized?
• How many electrical receptacles (outlets) are required in a hallway?
• What problems does having too many electric receptacle outlets on a single circuit cause?
• Is a house required to have outdoor electric receptacle outlets?
• How I can tell if a receptacle outlet is tamper resistant?
• Why is there a GFCI breaker in the electric panel for the bathroom shower light and exhaust fan?
• What is a false ground, bootleg ground, or cheated ground receptacle?
• How can adding wood paneling or a wainscot create an electrical safety hazard?
• How can I figure out what a mystery wall switch does?
• How far apart should kitchen counter receptacles be spaced?
• How far above a kitchen countertop do electrical outlets have to be?
• What is reversed polarity at an outlet/receptacle? Why is it dangerous?
• How high above the floor do electric outlets/receptacles in a garage have to be?
• How far apart should electric receptacles be spaced in a bathroom?
• Is an ungrounded electric receptacle outlet dangerous?
• My bathroom electric receptacle/outlet is dead and there are no tripped breakers in the electric panel. What's wrong?
• Is there an adapter that can be placed on a two-slot receptacle to make it safe?
• How do the new tamper-resistant electric outlets work?
• Why is there no bathroom electric receptacle in this old house?
• How can I tell if the electric receptacle outlets are grounded?
• How far apart should the electrical receptacles be placed?
• What are the most common problems/defects found with electric receptacle outlets during a home inspection?
Visit our ELECTRICAL page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.
of Blog Posts
Top 5 results given instantly.
Click on magnifying glass
for all search results.
Buying a home in North/Central Florida? Check our price for a team inspection by two FL-licensed contractors and inspectors. Over 8,500 inspections completed in 20+ years. In a hurry? We will get it done for you.