Are you familiar with ungrounded outlets? Electrical safety is a topic that electricians discuss frequently. What is the reason for this? For starters, power is inherently volatile. Sure, we’ve harnessed it. However, even minor usage can result in risks, flames that cause property loss, and even fatalities. And, for two, the type of misuse we’re discussing is regrettably quite widespread. Ungrounded electrical outlets are one of the most common issues we’d like to discuss with you today.

WHERE DO UNGROUNDED OUTLETS COME FROM?

You’ve undoubtedly seen a lot of ungrounded outlets without realizing it or giving it much attention. A “three-prong configuration” can be found in a typical residential setup with currently safe outlets. Two of these are larger apertures that go up and down. Meanwhile, the third forms an almost circular beneath the top two. It’s the small one at the bottom that counts because it’s what makes the outlet “grounded.”

If something went wrong with that outlet, such as a transient charge (overload), the appliance’s grounding wire would transmit the charge “to ground” or into the grounding wire. The outlet merely shrugs it off and sends it on its way, causing no problems.

Because an ungrounded outlet, also known as a “two-prong configuration,” lacks a grounding wire, an overload would have nowhere to go but the closest current it could find. This could be the appliance itself, a nearby organic object (your hand), or the atmosphere in your home—which could result in a fire.

Ungrounded outlets were the norm until the mid-1960s, and they could be found in almost any house. However, they couldn’t keep up with the expanding electrical demands of households and posed a safety threat. Because of which, they were phased out in favor of the now-standard grounded outlets. Ungrounded outlets, in case you were wondering, are not considered code compliant. That’s why we strongly advise you to update or upgrade outlets in your current home or a new property you’re considering buying.

ARE UNGROUNDED OUTLETS DIFFICULT TO REPLACE?

From the standpoint of an electrician, it’s actually rather straightforward, as long as your home’s wiring is in good working order. Because it involves direct contact with the potentially dangerous wires, you can anticipate it to be a project that requires the services of a professional electrician. However, the process can be completed in a surprisingly short amount of time, and it doesn’t usually come at a significant cost.

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Ungrounded Outlets: What Are They and Why Are They Dangerous?
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