Moved into a new (to me) house recently; one of the outlets in the house is a 2-prong outlet, the rest are 3. I opened the cover plate of the 2-pronger, and saw 3 wires. A white wire connected to the silver screw (good), a black wire connected to the bronze screw (also good), and a ground wire connected to the other silver screw (!?). Why would someone do this? My first impulse was just to replace the 2-prong outlet with a standard 3-prong, and connect the ground wire to a green screw, where it belongs.
But someone did this for a reason, right? Am I missing something?
Could be that the reason was that they wanted to reuse a 2-prong outlet. Or it could be the reason that they didn't know what else to do.
Technically, the neutral and ground wires terminate at the same point in the main box, but tying them together at the out negates the ground factor. Since is looks like this one outlet is the odd one out from all the others, I would just determine that the ground is an actual ground wire and then replace the 2-prong with a three-prong outlet.
Thanks for the reply. How do I confirm that the ground wire is actually a ground wire?
Or trick a lazy home inspection service maybe?
Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...
If it is a bare wire it is a ground wire, but it may not be connected (grounded). If it is grounded you will get a reading of no resistance on your meter. If you are going to be doing a little electrical there is a device that can be plugged into an outlet. It will tell you if anything is wrong. The reading you would get if it is not connected is "open ground."
If you have a meter, then you can read continuity between the suspected ground and a known ground wire. Or, if you do just go ahead and install a three-prong outlet, test it with a plug in outlet tester. The tester will show if it's an open ground or not.
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