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Older style 2-prong outlets in the home near a sink or in a bathroom can be dangerous because they are not grounded and have no means of protecting you from shock. Not only should outlets near sinks be grounded, but they should be of a type called GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.

However, Code allows you to replace these old outlets with a GFCI outlet if no means to ground the receptacle is available. Converting an old non-grounded 2 prong receptacle into a GFCI outlet like the photo is easy and improves your home's safety. It still won't be grounded but still provides protection from electrical shock because of the outlet's special design.

The tutorial 2-Prong Outlet Upgrade shows you how to easily modernize your old ungrounded electrical outlet. It's shockingly easy!


January 2, 2007 at 6:59 am
(1) Mike says:

I thought you needed three wires for a grounded outlet. I liked the way most of the rest of your series reads on one or two pages not six connecting sites like this.

January 2, 2007 at 10:42 am
(2) homerepair says:

Hi Mike,

Good comments. I clarified the Blog post so hopefully it’s more clear. The National Electric Code Article 210-7 allows a GFCI to be used as an alternative to grounding when there is no way to ground the retrofit outlet. But ideally the outlet should have the third grounding wire also. As for the number of pages in the tutorial, I use the different pages to better illustrate the tutorial. Have a great New Year!


August 7, 2007 at 2:41 am
(3) James says:

Hi. I am looking for an inexpensive way to ground an outlet so I can have peace of mind when I am playing electric guitar. Would installing a GFCI be sufficient in preventing electric shock without running a ground wire?

August 7, 2007 at 9:00 am
(4) homerepair says:

Hi James,
Yes, the GFCI will prevent against current leaking to ground and will do what you are looking for it to do. Now get jamming!

August 26, 2008 at 10:41 am
(5) Light Up Shawn says:

Have a question about installing a lighting fixture. i have an old house and only two wires attaching to my fixtures. I want to install new fixtures, and all have a green or bare copper wire… what shoud I do with the extra wire?

October 9, 2008 at 11:52 am
(6) tony says:

My house ground is connected to the cold water pipe on the bathroom faucet. Can I just disconnect then reconnect when replacing the faucet?????

May 9, 2009 at 6:37 pm
(7) Robin says:

I received an air compressor for Christmas
to keep my motorcycle tires at the proper
pressure. When I read the instruction manual, it said not to use it unless the outlet is grounded. We have only two-pronged outlets in the garage. Would installing the GFCI outlet be sufficient or does it need to be grounded? Thanks.

May 9, 2009 at 9:42 pm
(8) homerepair says:

Hey Robin,
Yep, you’ll be fine by installing a GFCI outlet in place of the 2 prong outlet.

July 22, 2009 at 7:42 pm
(9) Bob says:

i have a house with just hot and neutral in every outlet.The boxes are metal,can i run a ground pigtail from the box to a grounding outlet and have some potential to ground???

November 6, 2012 at 7:25 pm
(10) Leda says:

Hi. My laundry currently has non-GFCI outlets. I plan to add a laundry sink. Does the outlets have to be converted to GFCI outlets?

November 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm
(11) homerepair says:

Hi, you’ll need a seperate 20 Amp circuit for the laundry and if the outlet is within 6 feet of the new laundry sink it needs to be GFCI.

February 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm
(12) dew30296 says:

A gfi device will not protect against overcurrent. Only a gfi breaker will do so. There have been numberous house fires started by heaters running on high and the recepticle cathing on fire. As a lic. contractor I have replaced many.

February 19, 2013 at 11:36 am
(13) homerepair says:

Correct. A GFCI outlet protects against shock at the outlet and overcurrent protection comes from properly sized fuses or circuit breakers in the electrical panel.

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