Grounding Adapters

Grounding Adapter Graphic When an appliance or tool with a 3-prong grounding plug needs to be plugged into a 2-prong outlet, an adapter is commonly used. The adapter accommodates the 3 prongs on the grounding type plug and the two prongs on the receptacle. Adapters have either a green wire or small green metal tab that allows the adapter to be grounded. By connecting the green wire or green metal tab to the electrical system ground, the grounding path remains intact. You can connect the green wire to the cover plate screw on the outlet. If the electrical box is grounded, this will also provide an effective grounding path.

If the electrical box is not grounded, connecting the wire really serves no purpose since it will not be connected to anything.

When using an adapter, make sure the grounding wire is connected to a known grounding source. You should never cut the grounding wire off an adapter, or cut the grounding prong off of a 3-way plug. Any action you take to make it more convenient simply defeats the safety purpose of grounding. Even though an appliance will operate without a grounding conductor, the appliance is not safe if it fails.