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Grounding prong broken off in electrical outlet



 
 
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  #1  
Old November 4th 05, 01:58 PM
KOA
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Default Grounding prong broken off in electrical outlet

In my house, none of the outlets are grounded, although they are all three
prong. I discovered an outlet which appears to have a grounding prong broken
off in it. I can't tell for sure. All I know is I can't plug in any
three-prong plug.

Is it safe to try to just yank the prong out with pliers?

Or should I just install one of those plug adapters, which convert 3-prong
to 2-prong??

The problem is, there is no way for me to remove the box, since I can never
be certain if I have turned off power to the outlet, even if I shut off the
circuit. The problem is a voltage detector cannot be plugged into the outlet
to confirm no power, since it is 3-prong. Could I just use a multimeter
instead to detect voltage? Or use a circuit finder to verify that both
outlets go to the same circuit? I can't shut off the entire house either,
since some of my circuits might run through my neighbor's circuits, so I
would have to shut off his power too.

Thanks for any help.


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  #2  
Old November 4th 05, 02:04 PM
louie
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Posts: n/a
Default Grounding prong broken off in electrical outlet

A voltage meter could certainly tell you if there's power to the outlet
or not. There are also inexpensive probes that are available that can
tell if a circuit is live or not just by holding the probe near it
(test the probe on a known live circuit before testing the subject
circuit). Once you've verified that power to the box is off, then you
have the option of trying to pull out the ground prong or replace the
outlet.

Why aren't the outlets grounded? Older wiring?

  #3  
Old November 4th 05, 02:06 PM
Ralph Mowery
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Posts: n/a
Default Grounding prong broken off in electrical outlet


"KOA" wrote in message
news:YVIaf.30986$bb3.8507@trnddc02...
In my house, none of the outlets are grounded, although they are all three
prong. I discovered an outlet which appears to have a grounding prong

broken
off in it. I can't tell for sure. All I know is I can't plug in any
three-prong plug.

Is it safe to try to just yank the prong out with pliers?

Or should I just install one of those plug adapters, which convert 3-prong
to 2-prong??

The problem is, there is no way for me to remove the box, since I can

never
be certain if I have turned off power to the outlet, even if I shut off

the
circuit. The problem is a voltage detector cannot be plugged into the

outlet
to confirm no power, since it is 3-prong. Could I just use a multimeter
instead to detect voltage? Or use a circuit finder to verify that both
outlets go to the same circuit? I can't shut off the entire house either,
since some of my circuits might run through my neighbor's circuits, so I
would have to shut off his power too.

Thanks for any help.

Call someone that knows about electricity. To test the circuit you can
always plug in a two wire plug device such as a lamp. The ground prong
normally carries no current. If you were sure it is actually the ground
plug, you could just pull out the broken piece with some insulated pliers.
If you have a multimeter or one of the neon bulb circuit testers with leads
you can also use that to verify you have the outlet circuit turned off at
the fuse/breaker panel.


  #4  
Old November 4th 05, 02:11 PM
Mikepier
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Posts: n/a
Default Grounding prong broken off in electrical outlet


KOA wrote:

Is it safe to try to just yank the prong out with pliers?


You can try, use insulated pliers

Or should I just install one of those plug adapters, which convert 3-prong
to 2-prong??


Its a temporary fix, but you could change the outlet to a GFI as a
permanant solution. Most jurisdictions allow this to replace ungrounded
outlets so you are protected.

The problem is, there is no way for me to remove the box, since I can never
be certain if I have turned off power to the outlet, even if I shut off the
circuit. The problem is a voltage detector cannot be plugged into the outlet
to confirm no power, since it is 3-prong.


Just plug in a 2 prong device like a radio.

Could I just use a multimeter
instead to detect voltage? Or use a circuit finder to verify that both
outlets go to the same circuit?


In all likelyhood, both outlets are fed from the same breaker, but you
can check to be sure

.. I can't shut off the entire house either,
since some of my circuits might run through my neighbor's circuits, so I
would have to shut off his power too.


You do not need to shut off the entire house. Just find the right
breaker to that outlet.
Worst case scenario, if you had to shut off the entire house, it is
still safer. How is it that your neighbors power is shared with yours?

  #5  
Old November 4th 05, 02:21 PM
KOA
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Grounding prong broken off in electrical outlet

"louie" wrote in message
ups.com...
A voltage meter could certainly tell you if there's power to the outlet
or not. There are also inexpensive probes that are available that can
tell if a circuit is live or not just by holding the probe near it
(test the probe on a known live circuit before testing the subject
circuit). Once you've verified that power to the box is off, then you
have the option of trying to pull out the ground prong or replace the
outlet.


Ok, thanks. Makes sense. Do I need to insert both probes of the multi-meter
into the outlet, or just one, with the other grounded somewhere?


Why aren't the outlets grounded? Older wiring?


Yeah, the house was built in the 1800's. Wiring is very very old. It is a
three-story victorian type. Would be bvery hard to ground all the outlets
and fixtures.


  #6  
Old November 4th 05, 02:23 PM
KOA
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Grounding prong broken off in electrical outlet


"Ralph Mowery" wrote in message
nk.net...

"KOA" wrote in message
news:YVIaf.30986$bb3.8507@trnddc02...
In my house, none of the outlets are grounded, although they are all
three
prong. I discovered an outlet which appears to have a grounding prong

broken
off in it. I can't tell for sure. All I know is I can't plug in any
three-prong plug.

Is it safe to try to just yank the prong out with pliers?

Or should I just install one of those plug adapters, which convert
3-prong
to 2-prong??

The problem is, there is no way for me to remove the box, since I can

never
be certain if I have turned off power to the outlet, even if I shut off

the
circuit. The problem is a voltage detector cannot be plugged into the

outlet
to confirm no power, since it is 3-prong. Could I just use a multimeter
instead to detect voltage? Or use a circuit finder to verify that both
outlets go to the same circuit? I can't shut off the entire house either,
since some of my circuits might run through my neighbor's circuits, so I
would have to shut off his power too.

Thanks for any help.

Call someone that knows about electricity. To test the circuit you can
always plug in a two wire plug device such as a lamp.


Oh, duh!! Never though of that.

The ground prong
normally carries no current. If you were sure it is actually the ground
plug, you could just pull out the broken piece with some insulated pliers.
If you have a multimeter or one of the neon bulb circuit testers with
leads
you can also use that to verify you have the outlet circuit turned off at
the fuse/breaker panel.


Yeah, except I want to be sure that each outlet in the box is on the same
circuit. So the only way to do this would be to shut off every circuit in
the sub-panel.


  #7  
Old November 4th 05, 02:27 PM
KOA
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Grounding prong broken off in electrical outlet

"Mikepier" wrote in message
oups.com...

KOA wrote:

Is it safe to try to just yank the prong out with pliers?


You can try, use insulated pliers

Or should I just install one of those plug adapters, which convert
3-prong
to 2-prong??


Its a temporary fix, but you could change the outlet to a GFI as a
permanant solution. Most jurisdictions allow this to replace ungrounded
outlets so you are protected.

The problem is, there is no way for me to remove the box, since I can
never
be certain if I have turned off power to the outlet, even if I shut off
the
circuit. The problem is a voltage detector cannot be plugged into the
outlet
to confirm no power, since it is 3-prong.


Just plug in a 2 prong device like a radio.

Could I just use a multimeter
instead to detect voltage? Or use a circuit finder to verify that both
outlets go to the same circuit?


In all likelyhood, both outlets are fed from the same breaker, but you
can check to be sure

. I can't shut off the entire house either,
since some of my circuits might run through my neighbor's circuits, so I
would have to shut off his power too.


You do not need to shut off the entire house. Just find the right
breaker to that outlet.
Worst case scenario, if you had to shut off the entire house, it is
still safer. How is it that your neighbors power is shared with yours?


Thanks Mike for the tips. The tenant who lives in the second floor apartment
was using the third floor apartment, where the problem outlet is, to let his
friend live there. He wanted to supply him with free electricity, so he
altered the third floor electrical system to run off of his, but only
rewired some of the circuits. He didn't want to pay the $10 fee to have the
third floor electricity account changed to his name, and he didn't want to
pay the extra minimal use electricity for devices which were not being used,
such as the range.


  #8  
Old November 4th 05, 02:31 PM
KOA
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Grounding prong broken off in electrical outlet


"KOA" wrote in message
news:qlJaf.30990$bb3.24851@trnddc02...
"Mikepier" wrote in message
oups.com...

KOA wrote:

Is it safe to try to just yank the prong out with pliers?


You can try, use insulated pliers

Or should I just install one of those plug adapters, which convert
3-prong
to 2-prong??


Its a temporary fix, but you could change the outlet to a GFI as a
permanant solution. Most jurisdictions allow this to replace ungrounded
outlets so you are protected.

The problem is, there is no way for me to remove the box, since I can
never
be certain if I have turned off power to the outlet, even if I shut off
the
circuit. The problem is a voltage detector cannot be plugged into the
outlet
to confirm no power, since it is 3-prong.


Just plug in a 2 prong device like a radio.

Could I just use a multimeter
instead to detect voltage? Or use a circuit finder to verify that both
outlets go to the same circuit?


In all likelyhood, both outlets are fed from the same breaker, but you
can check to be sure

. I can't shut off the entire house either,
since some of my circuits might run through my neighbor's circuits, so I
would have to shut off his power too.


You do not need to shut off the entire house. Just find the right
breaker to that outlet.
Worst case scenario, if you had to shut off the entire house, it is
still safer. How is it that your neighbors power is shared with yours?


Thanks Mike for the tips. The tenant who lives in the second floor
apartment was using the third floor apartment, where the problem outlet
is, to let his friend live there. He wanted to supply him with free
electricity, so he altered the third floor electrical system to run off of
his, but only rewired some of the circuits. He didn't want to pay the $10
fee to have the third floor electricity account changed to his name, and
he didn't want to pay the extra minimal use electricity for devices which
were not being used, such as the range.


The landlord brought in an electrician to put in a new light switch for me
on the third floor, but he was so confused by where the power to the third
floor came from, he couldn't help me. The problem is he would have to access
the second floor apartment to see how the wires run and/or shut off his
service panel to do the wiring, but the landlord does not have a key to the
second floor apartment, and won't give her one. And he is never home in the
day, or sleeping.


  #9  
Old November 4th 05, 05:24 PM
Jim McLaughlin
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Grounding prong broken off in electrical outlet


"KOA" wrote in message
news:YVIaf.30986$bb3.8507@trnddc02...
In my house, none of the outlets are grounded, although they are all three
prong. I discovered an outlet which appears to have a grounding prong

broken
off in it. I can't tell for sure. All I know is I can't plug in any
three-prong plug.


SNIPS

Assuming that your outlet is the standard duplex outlet (two pluggy in
thingies in the one box) you can check the one that does not havre the prong
stuck in it. Even if against all odds you have he onl nn duplex socet in the
world, you can still check power status easily in at least three ways with
out any special tools.

1. Cut main breaker. Kills power towhole house. Pull grounding prong with
needle nose pliers. Energize main breaker.


2. Plug a radio or TV, turned up to the loudest sound you can, into the
socket. US TVs and radios tend to be 100 % two wire devices. Shut off
indvidual circuit breakers one at a time, If radio or TV does not go off,
re energize that circuit. Proceed breaker by breaker until you ind the one
that shuts down the radio or TV, When you find the individual breaker
that shuts off the radio or TV, you are home free. Pull the grounding
prong with needle nose pliers.


3. Use a small lamp in place of radio / tv. Test circuit by circuit until
youfind lamp shut off. Proceed as above. The lamp process works best with
a helper so that ypu dont have to walk back to the room from whereever the
panel is located to check lamp status. If you have several very long two
wire extension cords, you can run an extension cord line from the socket
over to wherever the panel is, or as close as you can get, and lug the lamp
in there. It cuts down on the walking back and forth. Obviously you can't
use 3 wire estension cords as you have a prong stuck in the socket.

And no. it is not saf to just grab the broken prong and pull it without
first killing the power.
--
Jim McLaughlin

Reply address is deliberately munged.
If you really need to reply directly, try:
jimdotmclaughlinatcomcastdotcom

And you know it is a dotnet not a dotcom
address.






  #10  
Old November 4th 05, 05:56 PM
Beachcomber
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Posts: n/a
Default Grounding prong broken off in electrical outlet


Thanks Mike for the tips. The tenant who lives in the second floor
apartment was using the third floor apartment, where the problem outlet
is, to let his friend live there. He wanted to supply him with free
electricity, so he altered the third floor electrical system to run off of
his, but only rewired some of the circuits. He didn't want to pay the $10
fee to have the third floor electricity account changed to his name, and
he didn't want to pay the extra minimal use electricity for devices which
were not being used, such as the range.



So you are paying for this guy's electricity?

Beachcomber


 




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