How To Tell If Your Home Has Grounded Outlets And What To Do If They Aren't Grounded

28 October 2020
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If you live in a mid-century home, your home may have been built without grounded electricity. If the house was renovated at some point, the electrical system may be updated now. Here's how to tell if your electrical system isn't grounded and how an electrician can fix the problem.

How To Tell If Your Electricity Is Grounded

If all the outlets in your home only have two holes, then the outlets probably aren't grounded. The third hole that modern outlets have is for the ground wire. However, if you have an older home, don't assume outlets with three holes are grounded.

You can put a new outlet cover on a two-hole outlet so it accepts plugs with three holes, but that doesn't mean the outlet was grounded, especially if the upgrade was a DIY project. The extra hole may have been added for convenience sake rather than being added by an electrician for the sake of electrical safety.

An electrician can test your outlets to determine if any of them are grounded, and then you'll know for sure. Also, if your home was built in the last few decades it probably has grounded electricity since that is now a code requirement.

Why Grounded Electricity Is Important

Grounding electricity protects you from an electrical shock. It also protects your electronic equipment from damage. When there is a power surge, you or your equipment can be harmed if the electricity isn't grounded. When electricity is grounded, the excess flows down the ground wire into the earth where it is discharged safely.

Grounded electricity can also protect your home against fire since a power surge could create so much heat that the wiring starts a fire due to the power not being diverted to the ground. Having your electricity grounded is an important safety measure for the people and possessions in your home.

How Your Old Outlets Can Be Upgraded

An electrician can ground your electricity by running a ground wire from the electrical panel down to the earth. Then wires can be installed from the electrical panel to each outlet in your home.

If you're having remodeling work done that involves adding electrical circuits or outlets, grounding the electricity may be required so the work is done to code. Older homes are grandfathered in, so you aren't forced to upgrade your electrical system until you make renovations.

However, if you have kids or expensive electronics, you want your electricity to be as safe as possible, and that begins with making sure your outlets are grounded.

If you have further questions or concerns, be sure to contact your local electrician.