You electricians insist on safety on a very regular basis. Why? Because electricity in its nature is volatile. We’ve been able to harness it but if it’s misused it can cause fires that can cause property loss and maybe even fatalities. Unfortunately, this misuse of electricity is very common. And one of these misuses is ungrounded outlets.
What Are Ungrounded Outlets?
You have probably seen them around and never thought about them or known about them. In a regular home setup with safe outlets, you can see a three-prong configuration. Two of them are long vertical openings and the third is almost a circle under the top two. The one at the bottom is the important one because that’s what makes an outlet grounded.
If an overload were to occur with that outlet, the grounding wire on the appliance connected to it would send that charge into the grounding wire. This means it would be sent away harmlessly.
Now, an ungrounded outlet has only a two-prong configuration. The grounding wire is not present and if the event of an overload should take place, there would be nowhere to go except the closest current it can follow. This would be the appliance connected to it, your hand, or even your home’s atmosphere, which can end in a fire.
In the mid-60s, ungrounded outlets were the standard outlets and they could be found in any home. But, they didn’t keep up with the growing needs of people and they were a dangerous hazard. They phased out and now the standard is grounded outlets. Ungrounded outlets are not considered up to code these days. That’s why if your home has ungrounded outlets, East-West Electric recommends updating your outlets.
Dangers of Ungrounded Outlets
Ungrounded outlets may increase the chances of:
- Electrical fires: Without the ground prong present, errors that occur with your outlet may cause an electrical charge that can spawn fire along with nearby objects.
- Health hazards: Ungrounded outlets present a very real risk of shock to people using the appliances plugged into the outlet.
- Property loss: Ungrounded outlets can mess your equipment up, rendering your favorite appliances and tools useless.
- Messy wiring: in some older homes you can find a mix of grounded and ungrounded outlets. This means there is a mess of electrical wiring that can be a sign of serious future electrical problems.
We have heard it all about the safety of outdated outlets. “Oh, my house hasn’t burned down yet”. That’s right. Yet. We haven’t been hit by a vehicle but that doesn’t mean that we should go walking down a busy highway.
Grounded outlets are now the standard for a reason. They can prevent electrical problems in your home. It’s all about prevention!
Is It Hard To Replace Ungrounded Outlets?
For an electrician is pretty simple, given that your home is in good condition. It is definitely a project needed to be handled by an experienced electrician because it requires direct contact with electrical wiring. The process is short and it doesn’t break the bank.