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Is Your Homes Outlets Grounded or Non Grounded, What is The Difference?


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Is Your Homes Outlets Grounded or Non Grounded, What is The Difference?

Homes wired prior to the 1960’s were commonly wired with a two-wired system with non-grounded outlets, unlike today’s modern wiring code which uses a three wire grounded system.

What electrical devises can be plugged into a non-grounded outlet?

• Lamps
• Coffeepots
• Radios
• Small kitchen appliance
• Devises that do not have a three prong cord

What electrical equipment should not be plugged into non-grounded outlet?

• Most high end electronics
• Computers
• Stereos
• TV’s
• Surge-protectors
• Larger kitchen appliances
• Devises having a three pronged cord

Older homes with existing two-wire system generally will have two slot receptacles; a dangerous mistake would be to cover a two-wired outlet with a three-slot cover plate. Unfortunately, there are many two slotted receptacles that have been upgraded to three-slot receptacles without providing a ground wire. This has no benefit, and may be misleading when plugging a three-pronged device into an upgraded but ungrounded receptacle. This is called an open ground and can be devastating to your high-end electronics, equipment, and personal safety.

There are a couple of things that can be done if your outlets are not grounded.

The National Electrical Code (NEC) allows the following methods to update a non-grounded outlet

• Replace the 2-wire receptacle with a GFCI-type receptacle and mark the receptacle with the words “No Equipment Ground”
• Install a GFI breaker in the panel marked “GFCI Protected” and “No Equipment Ground.
• Replace the existing three-hole receptacle with a two-hole non-grounded receptacle
• Replace two wired system with updated three wired system

Plugging your high-end electronics into a non-grounded outlet could cause damage to your equipment from static electricity as well as, a sudden spike in voltage such as a lighting strike. Most importantly never, plug an appliance or devise that has a three pronged cord into a non-grounded outlet, as this could cause serious electrocution if you are in contact with the device and a good ground simultaneously.

Finally, if you are unsure about your homes wiring and its safety it is recommended that you contact a licensed electrician to inspect your homes electrical wiring.



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About the Author

Rick Schmitz 480-612-1328, Ricks Advanced Electric LLC
711 N. 22nd Street
Mesa, AZ 85213
4806121328

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