Full Service Electrical & Solar Contractor Serving the East Bay Area. 24 Hour Emergency Service Available.

Diamond Certified Company

(925) 421-0411

Solar Design Center & Showroom
2045 Commerce Ave.
Concord, CA 94520 (map)

I want to install 3-prong receptacles in a 2-prong receptacles home... what do I do?

Two-prong outlets are not just inconvenient; they also pose a real safety hazard. The third prong on a plug is designed to give a fault path in the event of a short in the wire or device that is connected shorts out. Without a ground path, electrical shock or fire could occur. A metal light fixture, for example, could become energized on its exterior, making it dangerous to touch, and because there is no grounding, the breaker will not trip - a potentially deadly scenario.

The solution, however, is not just a quick replacement from a two-prong to a three prong receptacle. First off, if the wiring system is not properly grounded, then this “fix” is an illegal one. The simplest way to figure out if your wiring is properly grounded is to purchase a three-prong plug tester that will show "open ground."  

In some cases, a home's wiring is grounded, yet three prong receptacles were not installed during construction because it was cheaper to install two-pronged receptacles. In other cases, there is no wire or proper grounding path. Improperly grounded wiring is not uncommon in houses built more than 50 or 60 years ago.

Most likely, your old two prong receptacle is so loose that plugs fall out of it, or it is brittle discolored and cracking - if any of these situations exist, the time to replace them is now. If you have discovered that you do not have the properly required grounding, GFI’s are the solution to protect the circuit.  GFI’s can be used with breakers or receptacles. It is possible for a single GFI outlet to protect an entire circuit, but it is crucial that you hire an electrician to determine your exact circuit paths.

The reason GFI receptacles are both legal and advised is that they can detect trace levels of leakage current, and open the circuit even faster than the breaker. This reason is why GFI’s are required near sources of water (like the bathroom and kitchen), or outdoors.

An electrician will determine for you whether you can install standard plugs, or if you need a GFI. If you do need a GFI, your electrician will know how to wire it correctly, and in the right location.

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I am extremely happy with my new solar panels and electrical panel upgrade. The team was clean, friendly, and professional. I had some questions and concerns about the process and everything was explained thoroughly and patiently. I hired an outside roofing company, a mix-up occured, and I was getting frustrated, Got Watts went above and beyond and intervened on my behalf. I can not say enough good things about this company.

Marika Shawstad
July 9, 2020

Whitnie Fisher
February 7, 2020

The scheduling process was easy, straightforward and very professional. The electrician did the work beautifully, consulting me when necessary, and cleaning up after himself when he was done. So happy with the result from Watts Electrical!

Megan Rutledge
January 23, 2020

I initially reached out to Watts because I wanted a 2nd quote and they had great reviews online. I ended up going with them because the professionalism and value greatly exceeded my initial quote from another provider. Sam was my rep during the whole process and was great to work with. She was not pushy but was very responsive and knowledgeable. I would absolutely work with her and Watts again!

marshall clay
November 25, 2019

David Schoenthal
November 16, 2019

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Got Watts Electric & Solar

Got Watts Electric and Solar is a residential and commercial electrical contractor serving Pleasant Hill, Concord, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga and the rest of the East Bay area of California.

(925) 421-0411

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Normal Business Hours:
Monday-Friday 9am to 5pm
Saturday & Sunday By appointment only
24 Hour Emergency Service available