Grounding is critical to ensuring a safe electrical wiring system. After years of advancements, it’s a way to provide yourself with some added peace of mind. Read on to learn the history of the ground connection, and how to verify your Spokane, WA home’s electrical system isn’t raising any red flags.
Grounding & Electrical Wiring
History of the Ground Connection
Until 1958, most American homes utilized a two-wire configuration: “Hot” and “neutral.” The hot wires ran from the main service panel to the electrical outlets, while the neutral wires ran from the outlets to the ground. Theoretically, these are the only requirements for completing a circuit—but in practice, it posed a significant problem. In this configuration, the neutral wire didn’t always capture all of the returning electricity, which presented a serious safety hazard. To solve this issue, engineers developed an exceedingly safer system utilizing a third wire: “Ground.” You’ll recognize this addition in the round prong that most modern electric plugs have. Its purpose is to siphon leaked electricity not captured by the “neutral” wire and route it to the ground.
Is My Electrical Wiring Grounded?
Don’t assume your circuits are grounded—even if you live in a new home or your electrical outlets have three holes. The possibility remains that your outlets have the right receptacles to be grounded, but aren’t set up, or are loosely connected. This situation is quite common, and referred to as “open ground.” Improperly grounded outlets will still work, but not safely. Stray electricity could shock people or destroy appliances and computers.
What to Do in Case of Open Grounds
Testing for open grounds is simple, as hardware stores often carry affordable devices to check for them. If you do discover open grounds, turn off the power to the affected outlets and contact a local electrician. They will inspect your electrical wiring, remedy any loose ground connections, and restore power to each outlet.
Need an electrician in the Spokane, WA area? A representative from Heise Electric will gladly inspect your electrical wiring. To set up an appointment, give them a call at (509) 290-5988. Get more information on available services on their website.