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

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

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