• 08-23-2004, 07:19 AM
    dean_martin
    electrical help/home wiring
    We're getting ready to make an offer on a house that was built in the 60's. Upon inspection, we found the electrical wiring to be safe and in very good condition, but all outlets accept only 2-pronged power cords. Can we use 3-pronged surge protectors with 2-pronged adapters for audio/video gear? Both my sons have their own stereo systems. My wife and I have a bedroom system. We have a family room system for movies. And I have a 2-channel system mainly for spinning records. At least one piece in each system has a 3-pronged power cord. I've used 2-pronged adapters for microwaves and even refridgerators in the past, but not for a/v gear. I need to know whether we need to factor in the cost of upgrading the electrical wiring for our offer. Comments will be appreciated.
  • 08-23-2004, 07:27 AM
    dtgaut
    No surge protection
    With two-to-three prong adapters, everything will work. However you will have NO surge protection.

    All surge protectors must be grounded to protect your equipment.
  • 08-23-2004, 07:52 AM
    Resident Loser
    My advice...
    ...based on what I would do AND did in a similar situation is to upgrade to grounded outlets...it makes the most sense...more and more appliances etc. are equipped with them and adaptors are OK but...very un-pro IMO...

    BTW, if you don't cut off the green, spade tipped wire on the adaptor and screw it to the outlet plate fastening screw (as you are SUPPOSED to do) AND if the Gem box is grounded...you do have a "grounded" outlet...

    Take a look in the speaker forum...I answered a question re: speaker "pops" there may be some helpful info...tried to link it, but I'm havin' a problem...

    jimHJJ(...best in the long run methinks...)
  • 08-23-2004, 08:50 AM
    dean_martin
    Thanks, Jim. BTW, I saw your post in the speaker forum and was hoping you would see mine here. I was thinking of replacing at least one outlet in each room with a modern outlet, but I have no idea whether the wiring in the wall would have to be replaced or modified to accomadate a 3-pronged outlet. Do you know (w/out seeing it) whether it's just a matter of changing outlets? Or, would the whole house need to be re-wired? Fortunately, the house we're looking at was built with the best materials of its time. It was a showplace in its day, but it's been on the market for a long time because of its dated decor. I already have an estimate from a remodeler to update it cosmetically and he's going to confer with an electrician on these issues, but I would like to know a little myself because I've found that many in the home construction business just don't have an appreciation for good sound or an interest in a/v gear (which may explain why intercom systems are used for music).
  • 08-23-2004, 09:43 AM
    Resident Loser
    It's been my experience...
    ...that all that is required for a "grounded" outlet is three wires: hot, neutral and ground...the first two supply the AC itself, and the ground is well...ground, what the Brits call "earth". It actually terminates to a point that is in contact with terra firma...

    The specs for "load" are probably not an issue(I said PROBABLY). The wiring should have the three conductors I've mentioned The first two will always be individual insulated solid wire of the appropriate gauge, but the ground can be an uninsulated single wire...it can also be insulated(depends)...Steel jacketed BX cable or Romex, it should make no difference(except for local codes)...three wires. Provided the ground leads are all tied together at some point (have continuity), that should allow for just simple replacement of the outlets...however...somethings may be "grandfathered" that is, allowed to be used as long as other things are left undisturbed. Other work may require additional upgrades to bring them up to current spec and while there is a national code, local governing bodies may have different requirements...and then there is aluminum wire, which is a whole 'nother thing...As I advised the other fellow and even more so in your case, a reliable, licensed elecrtician is the best way to go...They should be up on the codes within your jurisdiction...it's worth the(relatively) small expense and besides once he signs off on the job, you'll have someone to sue should it come to that.

    Saftey trumps sound...that is paramount.

    Nowadays, many people are getting more involved with A/V and such and as a result more of the electricians are being exposed to, and must be aquainted with, the requirements for at least the power aspects involved. Architects, builders etc. are dealing with more knowledgeable customers...like anything else, ask friends, neighbors, co-workers who have had such work done...ask for references, installations they can send you to for a look-see...that kinda' stuff.

    jimHJJ(...and you thought this would be easy...)
  • 08-23-2004, 10:15 AM
    piece-it pete
    Electrical advice to a lawyer??

    :D

    The only way I know of to determine grounded/ungrounded is TURN OFF THE POWER TO AN OUTLET, take the plate off that outlet, take the outlet screws out, pull it out of the box and see if there is a ground wire, usually screwed to the BOX, perhaps a green screw.

    Although this is simple, I will add the standard disclaimer: electricity can kill you. Don't be offended, better to be cautious.

    Well you could pull the cover off the fusebox and see if there's grounds running into it. It's easier (four screws), but there is SERIOUS power under there. Look but don't touch.

    If there's no ground wire inside the box or fusebox, you will probably need to rewire the house, at least add the ground, to bring it up to modern standards. If there is a ground wire, you can swap the recepticles to a new three prong without too much trouble (or cost).

    If you've got the ground, and no other electrical work to be done, have dedicated lines on your wish list IMO (depending on budget of course :) ).

    But if I was having major electrical work done, I would add a 20 amp dedicated line to each area of the house with a system (for the amp) (or at least to your main system, and if you're running multiple amps maybe two to it), and one in the kitchen for the microwave. Over the top maybe: add one for the fridge, too, to try to isolate it more powerwise.

    If you hit places like AA they'll be some who suggest a lot more, I have NO experience with that, I know on my budget I would at least have the dedicated 20 amp line to my main system, perhaps with shielding if it was inexpensive, just because I like the idea, maybe oversize wire as well (wouldn't cost much).

    I have no idea how much a whole-house rewire costs, but would GUESS that the cost of each dedicated line (depending on various factors) could be $80-120/ea. Anyone else on costs?

    As a former Realtor it sounds like you're hitting it! A dated decor home, languishing on the market, could be a good deal, good luck!

    Pete
  • 08-23-2004, 11:00 AM
    dean_martin
    [QUOTE=piece-it pete]Electrical advice to a lawyer??

    :D

    The only way I know of to determine grounded/ungrounded is TURN OFF THE POWER TO AN OUTLET, take the plate off that outlet, take the outlet screws out, pull it out of the box and see if there is a ground wire, usually screwed to the BOX, perhaps a green screw.

    Although this is simple, I will add the standard disclaimer: electricity can kill you. Don't be offended, better to be cautious.

    Well you could pull the cover off the fusebox and see if there's grounds running into it. It's easier (four screws), but there is SERIOUS power under there. Look but don't touch.

    If there's no ground wire inside the box or fusebox, you will probably need to rewire the house, at least add the ground, to bring it up to modern standards. If there is a ground wire, you can swap the recepticles to a new three prong without too much trouble (or cost).

    Hey, Pete. What you're saying is consistent with the feedback I'm getting from my construction guy. (He specializes in remodelling and has done good work on my present home, but uses an electrician on jobs requiring more than changing light fixtures, etc.) We're going to see if the panel box is grounded/or has grounds running to it. It does have circuit breakers rather than the old fuses. I may just pay an electrician for a service call to check it out (per Jim's suggestion) or get a home inspection.

    We're bustin' at the seems right now. This house would sure give us the room we need. It's a split-level w/walkout basement that would be great for my 2 teenage boys and their friends. BTW, most of us lawyers are practicing law because we can't do anything else - no transferable skills. We get utterly confused if there's only one way to fix or do something.
  • 08-31-2004, 09:16 AM
    piece-it pete
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dean_martin
    BTW, most of us lawyers are practicing law because we can't do anything else - no transferable skills. We get utterly confused if there's only one way to fix or do something.

    Lolol!

    So, did you get it?

    Pete
  • 08-31-2004, 09:30 AM
    dean_martin
    We made 2 offers. I hate bidding against myself, but our first offer was intentionally low and the seller said he would not respond. I then went ahead and put our best and highest offer on the table which took into account the estimate I had for improvements including electrical work. It was rejected with no counter. The owner has a reputation for being arrogant - we live in a small town where everybody thinks they know everybody. So, we're looking for something else. Our plans are to find something by March.
  • 08-31-2004, 10:28 AM
    piece-it pete
    Dean,

    That's too bad. It must be a small town, I never knew a single buyer/seller outside of the family circle!

    No counter, oh well, his loss. If he were my client I'd try to MAKE him counter. (Like, "You are paying me a lot to help you. It is my professional advice to counter. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Initial here.) Of course if he's half as bad as he sounds he probably blew his agent off.

    Good luck!

    Pete
  • 08-31-2004, 10:53 AM
    Worf101
    Sorry you lost the crib...
    House hunting is about as much fun as a root canal. You love it once you're in it, but while you're looking, bidding, buying, the whole thing is pretty nervewracking. Is buying a new house like getting a new job? You don't sell the old one till you've got a new one?

    Da Worfster
  • 08-31-2004, 11:07 AM
    JSE
    Sorry to hear you missed out on the house. I bet if it was built in the 60's it has aluminum wiring which would need to be corrected. The house I just bought a little over a year ago had aluminum wiring originally but the owner had the wiring pig-tailed a few years back. This basically did away with any aluminum wiring concerns. Of course, this is useless info. for you at this point. Give it a while, the owner might respond after it sits there a while longer.

    JSE
  • 08-31-2004, 11:57 AM
    dean_martin
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Worf101
    Is buying a new house like getting a new job? You don't sell the old one till you've got a new one?
    Da Worfster


    Typically, I think you include in your offer a contingency that your present home sells within a reasonable time and for a reasonable amount, but I'm not sure. Our situation is a little different because we're living in a house that's been in the family for a while (I "bought" it from my parents). My younger brother is planning to get married in March and all of us (the family) think this home would be a great starter home for a young couple. Plus, the property would stay in the family. In the meantime, however, I'm beating the pavement and shaking the bushes...
  • 08-31-2004, 05:56 PM
    Worf101
    Hang in there...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dean_martin
    Typically, I think you include in your offer a contingency that your present home sells within a reasonable time and for a reasonable amount, but I'm not sure. Our situation is a little different because we're living in a house that's been in the family for a while (I "bought" it from my parents). My younger brother is planning to get married in March and all of us (the family) think this home would be a great starter home for a young couple. Plus, the property would stay in the family. In the meantime, however, I'm beating the pavement and shaking the bushes...

    It sucks but I found my home by accident. I had just looked at a couple of places that were "unacceptable" to say the least. I saw a sign on this place. It was empty, guy had built a new house for the new wife and it was just perfect. Well not perfect but 10 replacement windows, a couple of garage doors and extensive landscaping later... well you get the idea. Hang in there you'll find it where and when you least expect it.

    Da Worfster :cool:
  • 09-06-2004, 11:45 AM
    robin_v
    It is advisable to have an earthed plug that you connect your (expensive) hifi system to. You payed good money for the system and you've probably got it insured as well. A properly earthed socket is about the best insurance you can get per dollar.

    I don't know what the regulations are where you intend moving to but where I live, in Sweden, they have legislation which requires all electrical outlets on the same circuit to be earthed if one wishes to upgrade even one outlet. If you should decide to do this, I would suggest that you could have it done when the room(s) is/are empty just after the current occupant moves out and you move in. It would increase the value of your house too, marginally, so it's a good investment in that respect as well. That means that the wife has fewer arguments against it ;)