Is Your Home Grounded Properly?
As a homeowner, you may have heard an electrician or home inspector talk about how important home grounding is. Even though you may not know it, this is an essential piece of your home’s electrical system. While you don’t need to be an expert, it’s important to have a general understanding of what this means as a homeowner to help you keep your home safe. Here are the basics you need to know about having your home grounded properly to avoid electrical issues.
What Does It Mean to Have Your Home Grounded?
When your home is grounded your electrical system has a backup pathway or alternative route for electricity to go back to the ground in the case of a fault. Essentially, it gives your appliances and other electronics a direct route to the ground. All electrical circuits in your home there are three wires: an active or live wire, a neutral wire, and a grounding wire. Grounding wires are routed to the service panel where they are attached to a set of terminals designed for ground connections.
Why You Need Your Home Wiring Grounded
Electricity, by nature, always seeks out the shortest path to the earth. Having your home properly grounded means there is a direct path to the ground in the case the neutral wire gets broken.
Stabilizes Voltage levels
Having your home grounded also helps distribute power throughout your home. With the grounding wire giving excess electricity a way to the ground, the circuits are protected from overloading. This is because the earth serves as a common reference point for all voltage sources, thereby stabilizing the voltage in your home’s electrical system.
Protects Against Electrical Overloads
At any time your home is at risk of having a high influx of electricity through a power surge or by being exposed to lightning during a storm. The grounding wire allows the excess electricity to exit the home into the earth without damaging your appliances or electronics. Without grounding, the extra electricity will cause irreparable damage to the wiring of your appliances throughout your home.
Prevents Damage and Death
If your home is not properly grounded, electricity will continue to seek out the shortest path to the earth. The grounding wire acts as a path of least resistance. Without this path, high electrical voltage can pass through your appliances and electronics. This will fry its wiring and damaging it beyond repair. If you use an appliance that is getting high electrical voltage you could be severely shocked, which could even result in death. Moreover, high voltage puts your home and your family at risk of having an electrical fire.
How to Tell If You Home is Properly Grounded
Determining if your home is properly grounding is part of the home inspection process. However, you can also test whether your home is properly grounded without a home inspection as well. The easiest way to check if your outlet is grounded is by visual inspection. If an outlet has three prongs, then there should be three wires, with one being the grounding wire. To make sure the grounding is working as intended you can use a circuit tester.
If the tester does not light up then the outlet is not grounded and it is not safe to use. If you’re still unsure whether your home is grounded, our team at Wire Craft Electric can help you confirm that.
Request an appointment or give us a call at 206-542-0208 to have one of our professional electricians give you a hand.