When it comes to your home or office, you want everything to be safe, secure, and reliable. So you’ll need to find ways to protect yourself against the dangerous current of electricity. And one of the best ways to do so is by installing grounded electrical outlets. This means that a wire is added that is connected to the floor. If something goes wrong, the electricity can escape via that route instead of going through a human or device.
Here’s everything you need to know about grounding your electrical outlets:
What is grounding?
Electric outlets have 3 wires: neutral (often a blue or white cable), hot wire (often a brown or black wire) and grounding (often a green-yellow or green cable) . The hot or live wire carries electricity to the outlet, the neutral wire balances the load and the grounding is a safety wire.
Grounding is the connection of an electrical component or wire to a Grounded Circuit.
Here’s an example of how it works. Let’s say you have an outlet on your bathroom sink. The bathroom is connected to the house via an electrical circuit. The circuit has a grounding wire. If something happens (such as electric overload due to a lightening strike), electricity can be routed towards the earth. There it can’t do any damage to you or the home. The circuit breaker panel is connected to the grounding wire on the fuse box. The fuse box is connected to the power source.
Now, let’s say you have a faulty light in your bathroom. When you turn on the light, you’re actually short–circuiting the faulty light. This is bad because you’re essentially creating a potential for an electrical shock. Electricity moves where it has the least resistance. If you touch the broken cables, it will go to the ground instead of through your body as the ground offers less resistance. Getting electricity through your body can be quite painful so should be avoided.
Shocking devices together create sparks, which can ignite and cause fires. Doing so also creates a potential for serious electric damage to your home. To avoid this, grounding wires have been installed that move the electricity to the ground instead of creating a short circuit.
Why Ground Your Electrical Outlets?
As we’ve covered, installing a grounded outlet is one of the best ways to protect yourself from dangerous currents. But there are other things you can do to make sure you’re safe.
Here are some advantages of grounding an outlet.
- There are many benefits to grounding. One of the most important is that it protects you from electrocution.
- Grounded outlets are safer because you won’t be exposed to the high-voltage electricity that’s present in an ungrounded outlet. The only electricity that will flow into your body is that which is present at the circuit breaker panel.
- This also prevents shock hazard. If you’re ever in a situation where you’re exposed to higher than normal voltage, the ground will protect you from an electrical shock.
- Grounding is also important for creating a stable connection. When you ground an outlet, you ensure that there will never be a “shocking” connection between your cord and the electrical socket. This is good for the security of your devices and the reliability of your system.
- And last but not least, grounding creates a reliable system. Since the outlet is connected to the circuit by two wires, the electricity that flows through the circuit from the source to the outlet must happen exactly as it should. If there’s a fault in the circuit, the ground will let you know so that you can correct it.
Next to the outlets, it is also important to ground the electrical circuits. This helps the circuit breakers to function as well. Electricity often has to be inspected and it won’t be approved if you don’t have grounded sockets. In older homes, it is possible that you will still find sockets without grounding. These have to be replaced as soon as possible.
How to Tell if an Outlet Is Grounded?
The easiest way to tell if an outlet is grounded is to do so with a tester. These can provide lights to show if there is grounding. Check the manual of your meter as you might have to turn off the electricity and wear protective equipment when you use it.
You can also turn off the electricity and take the socket out. If you see that there are three wires, you can check if one of the wires is grounded. Consult an electrician if you are not sure.
What is neutral in electrical installations?
Neutral is the second connection point on a circuit. It does carry electricity and is used for completing circuits. It balances the power of the hot wire as it functions as the return path for the current.
In any electrical circuit, there are always two conductors that carry current. These are called conductors 1 and 2. The hot wire transports the electricity to the outlet, the neutral wire transports it back to the electrical breaker. A lot of codes require that you have a hot wire and a neutral wire in your outlets.
Neutral is not the same as ground. The ground wire is the connection to the earth that acts as a safety mechanism, while neutral is a reference conductor in an electrical circuit. For this reason, you shouldn’t mix both wires as each has a unique and essential function.
The neutral conductor is essential to the operation of most electrical systems. Without neutral, appliances will not work as the circuit is not closed, and all of the electrical circuits in the home will trip, or short circuit. You can get shocked by a neutral wire so you have to be careful with it.
In many homes, the electrical system is designed so that the neutral wire must be accessible and easy to repair. The reason for this is that it can be repaired if needed. Electricians have to be able to measure the output of wires to see if something is wrong with them. If this is the case, they have to be able to replace them easily.
Neutral wires can be found in the following places:
-in a breaker box,
-in a fuse box, and
-in an electrical panel.
To conclude, we can state that grounding is an essential part of a safe electrical installation. It allows electricity to flow away without harming devices or people when there is a problem. Neutral wires are also important as they can increase the safety of an electrical installation. Be careful when you work on electricity and wear protective equipment and read the manual of the devices that you use.