Proper grounding is an essential component of home electrical safety because excess energy needs to be directed somewhere. But how does it work? The experts at Mr. Electric® are here to take the mystery out of ‘grounding,’ explaining it in plain English so you can be sure your home and family are safe.
What Does a Ground Wire Do?
The ground wire connected to your outlets and electrical panel is literally dug into the earth outside your home. This buried ground wire provides a “safety valve” for excess positively charged energy within the wiring of your home.
Why Does Electricity Go to Ground?
The negatively charged ground wire attracts the excess positive charge in your electrical lines, providing a safe outlet for the energy. This is called grounding, and it eliminates the dangers of fire and electrocution, which are high in ungrounded home electrical systems.
How common is excess electricity in the home? Quite common. Each time you plug something in, power is typically not consumed in its entirety, so it requires a safe ground path. There are also myriad electrical excesses from power lines and from your appliances cycling on and off – not to mention lighting strikes. These situations all require good grounding to ensure the safety of your household.
Another interesting fact about ground wires: They are essential for surge protection. Do you use surge protectors to protect expensive electronics? Those devices are useless without an adequate ground.
What Happens if I Don’t Have Adequate Ground?
The earth absorbs extra electrical current safely, eliminating the threat of dangerous paths to ground. What are those other paths? If your outlets and electrical box are not properly grounded, appliances and electronics you are using could end up passing excess current through you, using your body as a means to complete the path to the negatively charged ground. In other words, you could be shocked or electrocuted.
How Do I Know if My Home Is Properly Grounded?
The best way to be sure your home is properly grounded is to have an electrical home safety inspection. Though the National Electric Code requires household electrical systems to be connected to the earth via a ground rod, a lack of proper ground is common in older homes constructed before grounding was required. Mistakes can also happen, and corners can be cut during the construction process, both of which can affect safe grounding. One of the most common mistakes is failure to bond a home’s copper water lines to ground, which can lead to the electrocution of those using faucets in the home when electrical shorts jump the path to water pipes.
Ensure a Safe Ground with Mr. Electric
Schedule an electrical safety inspection with your local Mr. Electric. It’s the best way to ensure your home is properly and safely grounded. We offer convenient online appointment scheduling, or you can call us at 844-866-1367.