Serving Greater Lynchburg

Why You Should Update Un-grounded 2-Prong Outlets

Why You Should Update Un-grounded 2-Prong Outlets

3-pring grounded outlet

While 3-prong grounded outlets have been required in the electrical code for decades, it’s not uncommon for older homes in the greater Lynchburg area to still have two-prong outlets.

What Is Electrical Grounding?

Grounding is a way of allowing excess electricity a safe route from an appliance back to the ground by way of an electrical panel. Electrical grounding is needed if there is a fault in the wiring system, such as a short circuit, to allow electricity to safely exit to the ground without causing harm to anyone in contact with the electrical appliance.

3-Prong Outlets Are Not Always Grounded

In some cases two-prong outlets are replaced with three-prong outlets, but without the necessary rewiring to add a ground. This is often done to make it more convenient to use three-prong outlets, but it does not provide the safety benefits of a grounded outlet. A lack of grounding can be identified by using a plug-in circuit tester.

According to the National Electrical Code when a grounded type outlet is installed a new ground wire must also be installed by a licensed electrician. There is an exception to this rule when the outlet is protected with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI).

One of the hazardous situations where an un-grounded outlet can be unsafe is when using a surge protector, such as the outlet strips commonly used to protect computers. When a power surge is detected by the surge protector, it needs the ground wire to redirect the surge until it can trip. Without the ground wire the surge protector will destroy the sensitive electronics that it is meant to protect.

If your home has two-prong outlets and older wiring, play it safe and have Hickey Plumbing, Air & Electrical upgrade your wiring and outlets to protect your family and your home.