About Grounding Electrical Wiring
Grounding of your home electrical wiring system adds a safety factor for your family. A grounded system routes excess electricity into the ground, even if there’s an electrical malfunction. This prevents electrical shocks to people and prevents damage to home electronics.
Protections Provided by Grounding
Protect Your Family from Shocks
Electricity travels the path of least resistance. If an appliance like a toaster breaks, electricity can flow on the metal outside of the toaster. Touching it could result in a serious shock, causing injury or even death. But if the electrical system is grounded and the toaster is plugged in with three prongs, the electricity won’t flow to the outside of the toaster. Instead it will flow through the third prong back into the wires and harmlessly into the ground.
Protect Your Electronics
Grounding protects not only people but also sensitive electronics. Without grounding, electrical charges build up in wiring and create slight but continuous damage to delicate electronics. This damage can shorten the lives of computers, entertainment systems, phones, refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, and other appliances.
Surge Protection Requires a Grounded System
You are probably aware that it is desirable to provide surge protection for electronic devices. Surges are sudden increases in power. These can occur when the power comes back on after an outage or anytime that the power from your electrical utility fluctuates. Surges can also occur when appliances in your home turn on and off.
You may have provided a surge protector for your computer. Should there be a sudden increase or “surge” in power in your wiring system, the surge protector is supposed to suppress it so it won’t run through your computer. However, surge protectors function only if your electrical wiring system is grounded. In other words, even with a surge protector, if your wiring is not grounded, the surge could run through your computer.
Click this link for more information about surge protectors and Whole House Surge Protectors.
Best Protection for Your Appliances and Electronics
The best protection for your electronics and appliances is a grounded electrical system combined with a Whole House Surge Protector. Most appliances and electrical devices include “smart” components that are electronic and are subject to damage from surges. For example, today’s clothes dryers have electronics that sense whether the clothes are dry. This adds convenience but also vulnerability to electrical surges. Imagine the cost if many of your appliances, computers, printers, etc. were to be wiped out by a large electrical surge.
If you are interested in finding out if your electrical system is grounded or more about whole house surge protection, give The Electric Connection a call and ask to speak with our in-office Los Angeles electrician.
Grounding Electrical Wiring FAQs
Homes built before 1950 were sometimes grounded. Homes built after 1950 were usually grounded. If you call our office, we will be happy to give you a Free Home Electrical Safety Inspection to determine if your home is grounded.
If your home has electrical outlets which accept three prongs, it MAY have a grounded system. The third prong allows an appliance to be grounded if it’s plugged into a grounded electrical system.
An electrical system is grounded if it has a grounding device: a “ground wire,” metal conduit (pipe) around the wires, or some other device that runs excess electricity into the ground when there’s an electrical malfunction. Sometimes builders or do-it-yourselfers install three-pronged outlets in electrical systems that aren’t grounded. This can make it look like the system is grounded when it’s not.
Even if your system was originally grounded, wiring mistakes can render it ineffective. A qualified electrician can examine your electrical system with a special testing device to make sure the grounding system actually works. Call us if you would like a free consultation.