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Grounded? What To Know For A Safer Home Electrical System

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Without protective measures, the electricity that courses throughout your home via electrical wiring and connections could be very dangerous. In addition to the utilization of proven materials and installation methods, a process called electrical grounding is also used to connect the electrical system to the earth so that any stray or excessive electrical currents can be channeled safely into the ground around a home or structure. 

Unfortunately, not every home is properly grounded, so it is important that homeowners have good information about electrical grounding so that they can better protect their families and homes from the dangers of this type of electrical hazard. 

Consider the age of the home and that of its electrical system

If your home is located in one of the many areas of the country that now have residential building codes in place, it is likely that the electrical system has been inspected to ensure that it meets minimum safety codes. However, this may not be true about your home if: 

  • the home was originally built prior to the use of residential building codes in your area and has not been updated
  • the electrical system was installed prior to the date when residential building codes were instituted 
  • there have been any renovations or repairs to the electrical system or home that were made without applying for proper permits and undergoing inspections

Homeowners who believe their home's electrical system may not meet current residential building codes should be aware that it may not be safely grounded or it may have other electrical safety issues that will need to be addressed.

Recognizing clues of an improperly grounded electrical system

While only a properly qualified electrician should make the final determination about the condition of a residential electrical system, there are a few clues that homeowners can look for to help them decide whether or not their home lacks proper grounding. One of these clues is whether existing electrical outlets have two prongs or three. 

Outlets that have openings for just two prongs were most likely installed in the years before residential building codes were instituted, and therefore, they lack the third opening for the prong that attaches to a ground wire. Homeowners should also be aware that partial past renovations to the home may have created a situation where some parts of the home were updated to be properly grounded, while others were not. 

To learn more about electrical grounding and find out for sure whether your home has had its electrical system updated to include this important safety feature, contact an electrician from a company like Electric Smith Inc in your area.