Is it safe to use a three prong adapter?
A three-prong/two-prong adapter, also known as a cheater plug allows a three-pronged plug to connect to a non-grounded receptacle with only two slots. They are primarily used to plug appliances and electronics into older two prong receptacles.
Three prong adapter uses
Many things you buy these days require a third prong for proper protection including dishwashers, computer towers, televisions, and gaming consoles. If you’re in an older house that does not have many, or any, three-pronged outlets you might be tempted to use a grounding adapter or three prong adapter to circumvent this obstacle and still use your devices. It will work, but whether it is safe for you or your electronics is something else to consider.
Advantages of cheater plugs
The advantage of cheater plugs is that they allow you to use electrical devices in areas where you normally would not be able to use them. You can purchase a three-prong adapter at just about any store you visit and don’t require anything to be re-wired for use.
Disadvantages of Cheater Plugs
Cheater plugs are not designed to be a safe solution to powering a three-pronged electrical device. Electronics have the third prong to protect from electrical malfunctions, fires, and electrical surges. When you remove that functionality it becomes easier for the electrical device to break, and cause further damage. The grounding adapter does not function in the same manner as a grounded circuit. If an electrical issue such as an electrical surge occurs in the electrical device the electricity can cause electrocution and electrical fires. Many people are not aware of the drawbacks and assume that because the products are sold in stores that they are safe to use in the home.
Wall Outlet Replacement
If your home only has two prong outlets, replacing your wall outlets is the better and safer choice. Two-prong outlets are outdated, unsafe, and can not keep up with the demand of current electrical devices. Updating your wall outlets from two prongs to three prongs is a reasonably priced update and may only require a grounding wire to be added into your home. Grounding wires will divert electrical currents to the ground either through a grounding rod or a copper pipe in the case of an electrical issue.
An even safer option is to replace the old outlets with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt, GFCi, wall outlet. Ground fault circuit interrupters help protect against electrocution and are typically required near sources of water such as by the bathroom or kitchen sink. GFCI outlets indicate abnormal electricity spikes and will shut off the electrical device right at the wall outlet when an issue occurs. This saves fractions of seconds from where the electricity normally stops at the breaker box.
It’s time to upgrade
If you are still using cheater plugs in your home, it is time to update your electrical wiring. Old two prong outlets are unsafe and are not up to code. Protect your home and your electrical devices, and upgrade your electrical plugs. Contact Bryant Electric Service to learn more about electrical outlet wiring.