Surge protection in an old 2-wire house

I live in an older (50+) house that has only 2-blade electrical outlets, except in the kitchen & bath.  The house has a newer circuit breaker panel with an integral Eaton/Cutler Hammer "Surge Trap CHSP Ultra" whole-house surge protector. 

It's my understanding that I should still continue to use a surge protection strip at the point-of-use...at the computer. 

But my big questions are: Don't surge protectors such as Belkin, APC, etc. require a grounded, 3-wire outlet?  If I simply plug one into the two-blade outlet using an adapter with the green wire attached to the center screw, is that of any use?  Or do I have to have an electrician come and install grounded outlets wherever I plan to use computer or other electronics?

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2 Replies

Re: Surge protection in an old 2-wire house

Hey Bill Thomas,

That decision is yours of course, but my advice is to have a power back up battery (RATED for your PSU wattage) that contains surge protection (UPS - uninterupted power supply).  I am using and APC on my XPS 630 and a Geek Squad on my XPS 730.   I also had a dedicated electic  line from the house power supply box installed to each computer, each with its own circut breaker.  The rig and its associated periferals (monitor, printer/scanner, etc are all on a single circut).  Each rig alone pulls a lot of wattage.  The 630 has a 750 W PSU (= 7 1/2 100 W light bulbs) and the 730 has a 1000 W PSU (=10 100 W light bulbs).  I wanted "clean" lines so that when another household appliance starts up it does not affect the computer electric supply.  And yes I do understand your problem with your house, my house is around 120 years old, and was plumbed with gas lines for the lights rather than electricity originally, so all the wiring is retrofit.  I still refuse to use wireless in the house, so I also had to run CAT 5 as my 630 is on the second floor and the 730 is on the first floor.

The green wire attached to the plug box is only effective if you have metal conduit and the conduit itself is grounded, otherwise you just have a green wire attached to a screw to noplace.


Darrell WV

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Re: Surge protection in an old 2-wire house

Since I live in South America, and it is the norm to find only outlets with two blades. I bought 150' of 14 AWG cable type NM. The one that has three wires in it, hot (black), neutral or common (white) and ground (bare or with wax paper). One three prong outlet. One 20Amp circuit breaker. I installed the breaker in the main power panel (electrical box), running the cable to the computer room. The hot wire ( black) went to the breaker and the outlet. The common (white) to the outlet and to the ground bus in the power panel ( the rail with all the white wires hooked to it), and the ground wire to the outlet and to the ground bus. Now, the ground bus has to be grounded. so see if it has a big fat (8 or 10 AWG) wire running into the conduit it is grounded if not you will have to run a wire at least 10 AWG to a main water pipe or buy a ground rod an install it. All these if you are a handy man otherwise you will have to hire an electrician.

Hope it helps

Edit: Found these to give you an idea:



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