Surge Protector For Ungrounded Outlet [Product + Tips & Tricks]

It happens more often than it should. Someone buys a new electronics device and plugs it into an ungrounded outlet, then gets shocked when lightning strikes the house. We all know grounded outlets came into existence in 1970 to protect us from harm, but what do you do if your walls are devoid of the third prong?

For a quick and dirty solution, you can make a surge protector for ungrounded outlets using nothing more than a power strip and a handful of inexpensive 3-pronged outlets.

How to Use a Surge Protector With an Ungrounded Outlet?

It’s easy to use a surge protector with an ungrounded outlet. Just plug the power strip into an open wall socket, then plug each device into the power strip.

The surge protector will detect when you’re using an ungrounded outlet and shut off power to all outlets, including itself until it detects wiring errors.

If you find your house is still susceptible to lightning strikes because of faulty wiring, there are a few more permanent solutions including installing a GFCI outlet, or a whole-house protection system.

GFCI Outlet: GFCI outlets are very similar to standard outlets except they include a built-in circuit breaker. If an outlet becomes frayed or overloaded, the GFCI will trip the circuit and cut power to itself, as well as any other outlets downstream.

Whole-house protection system: A whole-house protection system is a great investment if you’re planning on remodeling or building a new home. A surge protector installed at the breaker panel will protect all outlets in the house, not just a few.

Whole-house protection systems are especially great if you have an older home with ungrounded outlets and faulty wiring. If you find an outlet that is not grounded, don’t forget to install a surge protector. It will protect your electronics and keep you safe.

And remember: Always test the outlets in your home for faulty wiring before plugging in any electronic device.

Note: The above is not a guaranteed method to prevent electrical shock, and we don’t recommend it. It may cause more harm than good. We are not liable for any injuries resulting from this article.

The Dangers Of Using an Ungrounded Outlet Without Protection:

Dangers of a grounded outlet:

  • An ungrounded outlet does not have a third grounding pin, and therefore can’t dissipate the excess voltage that surges or lightning may create.
  • An ungrounded outlet is more susceptible to electric shock and electrocution than a grounded one.
  • The outlet doesn’t automatically shut off when it fails, so there’s always a risk of shock until you go check the wiring.
  • An ungrounded outlet has no protective coating around the wiring, which can cause sparks and fires if a current overloads the wires.
  • It doesn’t protect its downstream outlets, and may cause them to short or spark as well.

Homeowners often ask if they can use an ungrounded outlet without a surge protector, and the answer is yes – but only if you’re extremely careful.

Here are some tips for ungrounded outlet usage:

  • Unplug all electronic devices if you’re expecting a storm to roll in
  • Avoid using ungrounded outlets in the bathroom or kitchen, where water can cause short circuits
  • Before you plug anything into an ungrounded outlet, test it with a voltage tester

What is a voltage tester? A voltage tester determines if an outlet is properly grounded by reading the amount of voltage running through it.

Once you know what’s safe and what isn’t, there are some situations that require extra caution. If you have to use an ungrounded outlet in a situation that could cause electrocution, consider using an extension cord.

Just make sure the cords and devices go into the outlet and not the wall. If your device is plugged into a grounded outlet and you’re using an extension cord, make sure it’s no more than 3 feet long.

5 Tips For Avoiding Unsafe Practices:

To avoid unsafe practices in ungrounded outlets, you should follow some tips and tricks as follow:

  • Extension cords should be as short as possible, and kept out of high-traffic areas.
  • Do not run an extension cord under a rug or carpeting, as this can make it more likely to trip over.
  • Do not plug one extension cord into another.
  • Use surge protectors to ground your devices.
  • Unplug everything during storms, and make sure the wiring of the house is efficient.
Ungrounded Outlet

How to Ground a Surge Protector?

A surge protector is a device designed to protect electronic equipment from the damaging effects of power surges. It does this by using components that can rapidly absorb excess voltage. 

The best surge protectors also include protection from electromagnetic and radio frequency interference, otherwise known as EMI/RFI.

The common practice for making your home safer is to plug all of your electronics into surge protectors with an ungrounded outlet, otherwise, this can create another problem.

Your outlets can still become overloaded with power. It is important to stop the flow of electricity when you are not using it. 

Also, make sure that your appliances are turned off at the wall if they are plugged into an ungrounded outlet with a surge protector, otherwise, this can cause serious problems over time.

Will Surge Protectors Work On Ungrounded Outlets?

Surge protectors will not work with ungrounded outlets, as they require a grounding wire that an ungrounded outlet does not have. So in this case, it is totally better to use any of your outlets that are grounded through the house wiring or dedicated ground lines.

What are grounding wires?

The grounding wire in an outlet is a safety feature that protects you from electrical shocks. A faulty or missing ground wire can lead to deadly consequences, like electrocution.

It also protects appliances and power tools from damage. So, don’t assume that your outlets are properly grounded just because you’ve never experienced an outage.

If you still think that surge protectors can work with ungrounded outlets, make sure to check it after reading this article.

Do two-prong surge protectors work with an ungrounded outlet?

Yes, two-prong surge protectors work with ungrounded outlets. Since these types of surge protectors do not have a grounding wire, they’re considered ungrounded.

This is due to the fact that most of these types of surge protectors cannot be grounded into a three-prong outlet.

To use two-prong surge protectors with ungrounded outlets, you need some tricks. 

  • The first one is grounding your appliances to a two-wire cable that runs from the outlet through the window.
  • The second method is attaching a ground wire from the surge protector to a cold water pipe in your home.
  • You could also attach an adapter that allows you to use your current outlet.

What is a two-prong surge protector? A two-prong surge protector is a small device that sits between your appliance and the outlet. It absorbs any power surges before they reach your appliance. 

The main purpose of a two-prong surge protector is to protect your equipment from power surges and voltage fluctuations, as well as to stop unwanted line noise from reaching your equipment.

Do wire surge protectors work on ungrounded outlets?

Yes, wire surge protectors work with ungrounded outlets. However, this type of surge protector should not be confused with a two-prong. 

These protectors have an extremely thin wire that connects to a three-prong outlet with a ground. If the wire is broken or has too much slack, it needs to be replaced.

So, if you have a wire surge protector and an ungrounded outlet, make sure to do a quick ground test on your unit. If the test shows that your wire is faulty, you should unplug all of your appliances and contact a licensed electrician to replace the wire.

Is it safe to plug a TV into an ungrounded outlet?

If you have an ungrounded outlet and want to plug a TV into it, use a two-prong surge protector with no connection to the ground wire. 

A two-prong protector will stop any electrical issues before they reach your TV. The next option is to plug the TV into a power strip and plug the power strip into the ungrounded outlet.

However, make sure your power strip is not damaged or broken in any way. If it is, you need to replace the power strip before plugging anything in.

Best Surge Protector For Ungrounded Outlets

If you want a surge protector that works with the ungrounded outlets, check out Belkin’s 12-Outlet Pivot-Plug. 

Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot-Plug Power Strip Surge Protector w/ 8ft Cord (4,320 Joules) & 12-Outlet Power Strip Surge Protector w/ 8ft Cord (3,940 Joules), Gray

$64.98
$61.98
 in stock
Amazon.com
as of September 15, 2021 8:10 am

This surge protector is ideal for home offices, entertainment centers, TVs, and other appliances. The primary reason why you should invest in Belkin’s surge protector is due to the fact that it provides complete protection against any surges, lightning strikes, and AC contamination.  

Why is the Belkin surge protector not grounded?

Belkin always strives to make your home safer and more secure. This is why they offer a wide range of surge protectors that can safeguard all of your appliances from electrical surges. 

Belkin’s line of protectors all has a feature that allows you to test the functionality of the surge protector. This is beneficial for ensuring that your appliances are secure at all times. 

However, if you have an ungrounded outlet with a Belkin surge protector you need to test the functionality of your surge protector before plugging in your appliances.

In Conclusion

In order to equip your home with a surge protector that is going to be able, you need to take some things into account. The first thing you need to do is make sure you are using the correct surge protector. 

If you have an ungrounded outlet, make sure it’s either a two- or three-prong surge protector. If your power strip has too much slack in its wires, replace the power strip before plugging any appliances into it.   

The above surge protector is reliable and works with ungrounded outlets. However, if you need to know more about this topic, make sure to contact a licensed electrician.

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