General Question

Spargett's avatar

Refrigerator & Washing Machine using "2 to 3 prong" adapter: Fire hazard?

Asked by Spargett (5395points) May 25th, 2008

I just moved into a new place, and noticed that both the washing machine and refrigerator are are plugged into a non-grounded two prong outlet using one of the widely available adapters.

Is this safe for heavy appliances as mentioned?

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5 Answers

kevbo's avatar

Usually those adapters have a holed, metal tab with a sticking off the bottom. The faceplate screw goes through the hole and grounds the via the screw’s connection to the box in the wall. At least, I’d check to make sure the screw is running through the tab.

Spargett's avatar

Yeah, I know what you’re talking about. I’ve always wondered if that really grounds very well especially with the kind of power that something like a refrigerator or a washing machine draws.

Its an old building too. Doesn’t help qualm my fears any further.

sndfreQ's avatar

Yes, some of those plugs and their screws that hold the faceplate on do not attach to a proper ground-they’re just floating there.

You may also consider going to the hardware store and purchasing a grounding wire for appliances; most common grounding procedures for appliances can be referenced via the user manual, but in most cases, this involves taking the main ground wire and wiring to a metal water pipe in the vicinity (lead or copper pipe), as the water line goes to ground, and most housing grounds the electrical power ground to the water pipes for the building.

If you’re renting, you may want to verify this with your landlord-especially in the case of old units.

marinelife's avatar

This is from the actual experience file. We live in a house built in 1940. Frig is plugged in that way. It freaked me out at first. We have been here four years with no issues.

I suspect if lightning hits the house, everything will get fried though.

mac316's avatar

@sndfreq is right on the money. If landlord does not help you on this one, assuming you are renting, this is a call for a professional. I, like everyone else, hate to spend money on service but this may be only the surface problem. Homes wired with a two wire system do not meet today’s needs with safety in mind. The ground wire in the third round plug pin is also there for your protection, should a short occur in the appliance itself. The ground assures that the fuse will blow stopping the flow of electricity.

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