What is Grounding and Why is it Important?

Electricity has come to mean a lot to the world, but while it has proven so vital, electricity is also dangerous. To protect human lives and property from the dangers associated with using electricity, experienced electricians always ensure they ground your electrical system.

Grounding is a common term when it comes to power. It means connecting electrical wires to the ground below your home. We will get to why this is even necessary in a few moments.

Think of grounding like the way humans have to step their feet on the earth to walk. Stepping your feet on the earth connects to a stable surface and helps you walk safely as you should.

This is what grounding means for electricity. After connecting all the appliances and electrical components in your home, each one must be grounded.

Every electric outlet has two main wires. One is the hot wire or active wire which supplies the power, the other is the neutral wire which carries that current back. An additional wire is the grounding wire which can be attached to other electrical devices and connected to the ground bus bar at the breaker.

The ground wire functions as an extra path for the electrical current to pass through and return safely to the ground. The aim is to prevent any danger of electrical shock or fire.

Importance of Grounding

  • Serves as a shock absorber
    Sudden surges of electrical power occur more often than you think. It could be triggered by a storm, transformer malfunction, or when a power demanding appliance picks up. You can observe this in the home when an appliance like the AC comes on; the light flickers briefly.

    Such minor surges can create major problems if the outlets in your home are not grounded. This includes fatal shocks when you touch the appliance. So, grounding prevents all of this by directing any excess charge to the ground where they pose no threat.

  • Stabilizes voltage
    Grounding equips your electrical system to be highly efficient. It helps the appropriate amount of power to be distributed accordingly. This also prevents overloading which in turn protects your appliances.
  • Uses the best conductor
    Why the earth? Why isn’t grounding about connecting excess charges to something else? Well, it is because the earth is a great conductor. Excess electricity will always choose the path of least resistance and the earth presents a safe alternative to your human body.

To know if you are safe and that your electrical system is grounded, you can use the tips below:

  • Check the home outlets. Grounded outlets have three slots, while ungrounded ones have two slots.
  • Older homes may be at risk of being ungrounded compared to modern homes.
  • Call for an inspection from a professional electrician to confirm if you have a grounded electrical system or not. An upgrade can be carried out if needed.