There was a time not too long ago when ungrounded electrical outlets were everywhere. For many years, home builders only put grounded outlets in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements because those rooms were most likely to experience water spills. But today, builders virtually never install ungrounded electrical outlets anywhere in a new home.
If your home was built more than about 25 years ago, you are far more likely to have ungrounded electrical outlets in your home. While they may not raise much concern in bedrooms or living rooms, there is still good cause to have them replaced with grounded receptacles. Here’s why you absolutely need to worry about those ungrounded electrical outlets in your home.
First Of All, What’s the Difference Between Grounded and Ungrounded Plugs?
Two-prong plugs are ungrounded. Three-prong plugs are grounded. Grounded plugs are also called ground-fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs.
What Does It Even Mean If a Plug Is “Grounded”?
A grounded receptacle has three wires running to it: the black wire that delivers electricity to the device connected to the plug, a white wire that moves electricity away from the device, and a ground wire. The ground wire’s job is to direct excess electrical current away from the device and anything touching it – such as your hand. In other words, the ground wire protects you from shock and prevents your devices from getting fried during a power surge. Ungrounded receptacles do not offer this safeguard.
Why Not Just Cut the Ground Prong off My TV Cord?
Say you want to plug in your new, 70-inch LED flat-screen television. It has a three-prong plug, but the wall socket in your living room only has two prongs. What’s wrong with cutting off that oddball prong and start catching up on Game of Thrones? After all, isn’t the ground prong the appendix of the plug – it’s always there, but doesn’t have an obvious function?
The truth is, you can cut the ground prong off, and your new TV will still work. But, you are putting your new $1200 masterpiece of a television in grave danger. There are many circumstances that can cause a short circuit in your home’s wiring. If a short circuit occurs, your TV could get toasted. NOW how will you find out what happens to Jon Snow? And where’s Arya? Is she still blind? Dang it!
Can I Cut the Ground Prong off a Surge Protector Strip?
Maybe you have considered the benefits of protecting the investment you just made into that beautiful new TV. Good for you. A surge protector is a smart option in this case, but there are a couple of things you need to know before you buy one. First, not all surge protectors are equal. In fact, most of the cheap ones are no more secure than a regular extension cord. The more you’re willing to spend on a surge protector, the better off your TV will be.
Second, if you cut the ground prong off your surge protector, congratulations! Now you are the proud owner of a $75, two-foot-long extension cord. The surge protector relies on its ground prong to protect the electronics plugged into the power bar. Now you’re right back where you started.
Why Not Buy a $0.69 Adapter at the Hardware Store?
It’s true that three-prong-to-two-prong adapters are inexpensive. Plus, it keeps you from having to cut off any parts of your LED TV. But these little adapters don’t offer any protection for your TV because the receptacle still has no ground wire. The adapter’s ground prong hole is just for show – just another appendix with no actual purpose. Sad.
Just Get Your Two-Prong Plugs Replaced with GFCIs
GFCI plugs don’t cost much. Hiring a qualified electrician to replace your old plugs with GFCIs is a smart investment that will protect your devices from surges, protect your house from electrical fires, and protect your family from electric shocks. It’s the smartest way to make sure your three-prong devices are used correctly.
Arc Angel Can Help with Your Ungrounded Electrical Outlets
If you live in the Atlanta area, Arc Angel Electric can get your ungrounded electrical outlets replaced in no time. No matter how old your home is, our electricians know the right way to ground and install GFCI outlets throughout your home. It’s the best first step to protecting the investments you make in household appliances and electronics.
Put down the wire cutters and stop mangling your power cords! To get your ungrounded electrical outlets addressed once and for all, call Arc Angel at 770.889.9243.