The older your home is, the more likely you are to face the project of grounding ungrounded outlets around the house. Builders were required to have grounded outlets installed in new homes in the 1960s. That means there are potentially millions of older American homes with electrical systems that don’t meet modern building codes.
What’s the danger of ungrounded outlets? The grounding wire protects appliances, electronics, and other devices with three-prong plugs in the event of a power surge. In fact, grounding wires can prevent fires from starting during power surges. So in reality, grounded outlets protect the whole house from a fire disaster.
Here are a few common misconceptions about grounding ungrounded outlets:
- Installing grounded outlets means rewiring the whole house. This is true in some instances, but many homes are sufficiently equipped for three-prong plug installations without the need for rewiring. Most old plug boxes are grounded because they are attached to BX cable. This is sometimes also called armored cable because of its metal sheath, which acts as a grounding agent.
- There’s no point installing a GFCI plug in an ungrounded box. An ungrounded three-prong plug will still provide a measure of protection for many appliances. However, sensitive electronics like computers should not be plugged into these outlets. These devices will not be sufficiently protected from stray currents when the GFCI plug is not grounded. A “No Equipment Ground” label should be placed on these outlets to remind you to charge your laptop and cell phone elsewhere in the house.
- Grounding ungrounded outlets is only necessary for kitchens and bathrooms. Many years ago, this was a sound rule of thumb. After all, these rooms are the most likely locations for electricity and water to meet and create dangerous situations. But today’s average household is full of electronic devices that require surge protection. A single lightning strike can destroy computers, entertainment centers, and cell phone chargers in a second.
The Safe and Simple Method for Grounding Your Ungrounded Outlets
When it comes to fixing your home’s electrical system, there’s no room for DIY projects. The best way to make sure that your outlets are grounded correctly is to hire a licensed electrician. A qualified technician will know the building codes in your area and bring your electrical system up to date.
Arc Angel Electric: Grounding Ungrounded Outlets Since 2000
For 16 years and counting, Atlanta’s homeowners have trusted Arc Angel for their electrical needs. Grounding ungrounded outlets, whole home rewires, and electric panel upgrades are a few of our specialties. For more information about grounding ungrounded outlets at your Atlanta-area home, call Arc Angel at 770.889.9243. You can also find us on Find Electrician.