My new apartment has no 3 prong plugs with ground


Just moved, my new apartment has no three-pronged plugs within any distance of my living room. Only old 2 prong plugs with no ground.
I have been using a 3-pronged converter for now.

Anyone think this will effect my system?
Danger in damaging something?
Should I chase new wires up and put in a new outlet?
ejs811
As a firefighter and part time electrician... i would not use anything that will draw a good deal of current on those old plugs.... old plugs= old wires... ask the owner to upgrade the electrical.
It is no big deal.Just make sure the cheater plug is screwed on to the outlet screw. If your equipment draws too much you will trip the circuit breaker before anything else. If you do trip the breaker then you know that you have to upgrade circuit.
What makes you so sure there are circuit breakers?
There are old style screw-in fuses in the basement.
When I move I replace every outlet in the new apartment when I move in.
Apartment owners never swap outlets until they are totally broken down.
So all the outlets IN your apartment are old, loose, and worn out.
Get a pile of $3 heavy duty duplex Pass & Seymour outlets and replace them. I have done so in every place i have lived, all apts.. i am an apt dweller, period.
(this is assuming you are able to physically do this, if you are not handy do NOT try it)

When you do the outlet replacement, add in the standard pigtail groundwire to the back of the box. (drill a small hole or find a small hole in the back of the box, screw down the ground pigtail with a self tapping screw.)

As for worrying about not using power.. Nahh, no problem. The ground is a safety feature in newer codes. It is not 'needed'. IE you will not automatically DIE because it is not there.. LOL.
So do not worry about your amp being plugged in. As long as you are under the total amps for the breaker.. no problem.

And again, if you are not sure about swapping duplex outlets, find a friend who IS good at it.
You do not even have to ask the landlord.. In fact, most will be pretty mystified you want new outlets. so usually asking THEM to do it is not gonna get you new outlets!!

Also, do you have a breaker box IN your apartment?
If not, your allowable amperage is probably pretty small.
Find out how many amps service your apt.
If the box IS in your apt, open it and see haw many various amps your apartment carries.
I will not bother to rent unless the apt has at least 60 amp service, and with a electric stove and air, even more..
The more the better for your stereo..

I remember in college, a tiny efficiency with TWO apts on one 15 amp circuit. If my neighbor would use his hair dryer while i used my tiny microwave, boom, the breaker would open. And since it was in the basement....
There are old style screw-in fuses in the basement.
09-08-12: Ejs811

Ejs811,

How old is the place?

Caution, the wiring could be old nob and tube.... If that is the case the insulation on the wire is cloth cover over rubber. The insulation will be very dried out and brittle.

Do not attempt to change out the old two wire receptacle if the wiring is nob and tube. Disturbing the old wire could cause the insulation to break and fall off the old wires clear back to where the wires inter the metal in wall receptacle box. You would have big problems then....

If the old two wire receptacle contacts are so worn that the female contacts will not hold in the two blades of the male plug call the landlord and ask him to have his electrician change out the receptacle.

If on the other hand the receptacle contact pressure is adequate just buy a decent plug strip and plug your audio equipment into that. Use a ground cheater on the plug of the plug strip.

Not having an equipment ground could be a blessing not a curse.
.

You have an advantage over the rest of us. The screw in fuses are better quality than the cheap metal they use in the circuit breakers and by floating the ground on your equipment you will most likely get better sound. The real challenge will be the room itself.
..just replace the wall outlests (easy to do). The 3rd (ground) might or might not be grounded...usually the box itself is grounded and therefore the plug will be grounded even if the 3rd wire isn't connected. Cheaters are no good..they ruin the sound.
Generally screw in fuses mean low amperage totals for the apartment.
Old buildings had little regard for modern electricity needs.
You may have only 15 amps for your whole apartment.
You should find out.
The house is a duplex, our floor has 100 amps: 2 X 30 and 2 X 20, people below us have 140 for some reason. Maybe its their new kitchen. Looks like the dryer is on its own 30amp wring which is good.

I screwed the cheater into the center screw of the faceplate. Not going to mess with anything for now, the wiring is a nightmare in the basement.
Speak to landlord to go with the building CODE and to replace/rewire them ALL at once. Calling building inspector once in a while will stimulate the landlord's speed of action.
The house is a duplex, our floor has 100 amps: 2 X 30 and 2 X 20
09-09-12: Ejs811


Ejs811,

Sorry it doesn't work that way....
The size of the service is not determined by adding up all the plug fuses amp ratings.

At best I would guess the service feeding your apartment is 60 amp. At worst 30 amp.
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Ejs811, Look at your electrical panel. Sometimes it will state the capacity of your electrical service. Or, you can set up your gear and not worry about it. The only thing possibly drawing a lot of current is your amplifier and it depends on the load presented by your speakers and the volume you listen at. I would not count on your landlord rewiring any time soon.
There will be two mains fuses, at the top of your electrical panel. Read the sizes on those, to determine how much amperage is available, per phase. Outlet boxes in older homes ARE NOT USUALLY grounded. Especially if the wiring is knob and tube. Unless the wires were run through metal conduit(EMT), metallic liquid-tite, Bx cabling or have a third ground conductor to the box; it is NOT grounded. Grounding(running a pigtail) to the new outlet to an ungrounded box would be a waste of time/effort. Besides; the ground terminal on grounded outlets, is already grounded to the box through the mounting tabs/screws.
There will be two mains fuses, at the top of your electrical panel. Read the sizes on those, to determine how much amperage is available, per phase.
09-09-12: Rodman99999
Rodman99999,

Ya in some cases, but not always the case.

For many years NEC had a 6 switch rule.

If the total number of branch circuits fed from the panel was 6 or less, a main was not required.

Outlet boxes in older homes ARE NOT USUALLY grounded. Especially if the wiring is knob and tube. Unless the wires were run through metal conduit(EMT), metallic liquid-tite, Bx cabling or have a third ground conductor to the box; it is NOT grounded. Grounding(running a pigtail) to the new outlet to an ungrounded box would be a waste of time/effort.

I wondered how long it would take before somebody would point that out.
.
Jim
Call an electrician (maybe the owner will split the cost). I live in a 90 year old house and had a dedicated line installed for the HiFi and most of the recepticals replaced.
When the electician found some outlets with pre-war wiring, I said dont bother running new lines as they are not used for high current items. (it would have been expensive). Most of my oulets are now 3-prong and up to code.
Landlords love tenants who complain to the local government about trivial stuff. Best way to get a rent increase i know of.
And if you complain enough, you get evicted. NOT by the landlord, by the same government agency. "This place is 'unfit for human habitation', no one can live here, you have ten days to move out". REALLY. (been there, and had it happen, even though MY apt was fine, they just boarded up the whole building... ) So be certain to really complain loud and often about every trivial thing...

Or, at minumum...
"Gee, we had to get this work done.. so now your rent has to go up 30%. Sorry".

And in my shared 15 amp single circuit apartment I never had any problems for my large stereo. Only my small microwave and the guy next doors' hair dryer seems to not get along.
@Mr J- I should have prefaced/qualified that statement with, "In most older homes:" OOPS!
Pre-war 2-prong wireing imposes a danger of setting building on fire and needs to be rewired new. Any tenant ringing a bell should not be neglected weather landlord loves or hates such. No matter how many amps you've got you may only use it OK for small appliances and microwaves, iron, corded drills may easily set these old wires on fire.
Fellas, we don't know for sure if the wiring in the duplex dwelling is nob and tube or not.

The wire could be old two wire cloth and paper covered thermoplastic insulation covered wire. Which should be noted could be very brittle and crack and break off if disturbed inside the recept electrical box. ( Degree is how much heat the wires were subjected to over the years from connected loads to the receptacle. Heat also caused from poor contact pressure between the recept and the inserted plug and the amount of connected load.)

The wiring could even be the early version NM, Romex is a trade name, with a plastic outer covering with thermoplastic insulation covering the two copper conductors

What ever it is it could still be safe in the eyes of the AHJ, authority having jurisdiction, in the area.

In many AHJ jurisdictions old wiring does not have to be brought up to meet current code unless a new electrical service is being upgraded or a major remodel where new wiring would be installed. Even then it depends on the AHJ.

In my metro area landlords of rental properties must have the property inspected by the AHJ and issued an occupancy permit before renting the dwelling unit to the public.
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EJS, you can easily determine whether or not the screw that holds the wall plate over the outlet is grounded, by using a multimeter or a cheap neon bulb AC tester to see if 120 volts or so exists between that screw and one of the two slots in the receptacle (the smaller one if they are unequal in size).

Obviously, if you do that don't touch the metal tips at the end of the test leads while they are in contact with the outlet.

According to this Wikipedia article, knob and tube wiring was in common use in North America "from about 1880 to the 1930s."

Regards,
-- Al
If your house is not up to code, it doesn't matter...houses are "Grandfathered" without needing updates. I owned older houses for rentals, and that is what I was told by the township.
"If your house is not up to code, it doesn't matter...houses are "Grandfathered" without needing updates. I owned older houses for rentals, and that is what I was told by the township."

Stringreen is 100% correct. There is no rule or law that says an owner has to conform to code changes as they happen. They change frequently.
You can not replace an ungrounded two prong outlet with a 3 prong outlet without running a new 3 wire grounded cable. This would not meet electrical code and is a potential hazard .
My parents' house was built in 1948. It had no grounded outlets and used fuses. It stayed that way until 1996 when my mother died and the house was sold. We never had any problems.