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Old August 7, 2012, 04:24 PM
Chareon Chareon is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 62

It's only dangerous really in the event of a surge. The system will run fine as long as nothing unexpected like lightning (or some other source of a power surge) happens.

There are more specifics relating to how surges would affect it, see quote here for a good description I found on another site.
The surge protection function becomes less useful in the absence of a ground, though. It should still stop rapid spikes (which are blocked by inductors in series with the line and neutral conductors, no ground connection there) and surges between line and neutral (a MOV is connected between L and N with no ground there either).

What would worry me is the MOVs between line and ground, and between neutral and ground, to protect against common mode surges and surges on the neutral. Not only do these NOT function without a ground connection, but I can't see what stops them from coupling dangerous voltages onto the ungrounded "ground" conductor in the event of that type of surge.

I would be concerned about touching any metal parts of protected equipment which could become momentarily electrified when connected to this type of surge protector when a surge occurs, and the ground isn't really grounded.
EDIT: As for the rewiring, typically you drive a stake into the ground a set distance (check your local bylaws for what the requirement on that is), then run new wire to the outlets that contain all 3 wires so you can properly ground everything. Basically a major renovation project, but one that you can do in stages to each outlet as required if necessary. Might be worth hiring an electrician if you feel uncomfortable with doing the work yourself.
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