Why Does Electricity Have to Be Grounded?
“Grounded electricity” is a bit of a difficult concept to grasp for many homeowners. Fortunately, the pros at Roman Electric are here to help answer all your questions about what grounded electricity means and how it works.
Difference Between “Grounding” and “Grounded”
While “grounded” and “grounding” sound the same, they have different meanings, specifically in the world of wiring and electricity. Before we get into the specifics, it’s important to know a bit about how electricity flows through your home. There are two wires that are needed to complete a circuit and the wiring in your home is no exception to this rule. Essentially, there are two wires you need to be aware of. The “hot” wire, which is black in color, carries the negative charge and the neutral or “grounded” wire, which is usually white or gray, carries the positive charge. These wires run side by side and do what they need to do to supply electricity into your home.
The wiring and electric system in your home is designed to discharge negative energy into the “ground” or basically the earth on which your house is standing. The “grounded” or neutral wires primarily have the job of returning the current to the ground. However, if there is a problem with these “grounded” wires (they have been chewed through, there is wood or a flammable material in its path), your electrical system has a backup plan. This is where the “grounding wires” come in—these backup wires run parallel to the hot and neutral wire, creating an alternative pathway for the electric current to follow just in case a fault, breakdown, short circuit or electrical fire occurs.
So, in short, the “grounded” wire is a neutral wire, connected to the earth, which helps supply electricity to your home. It is white or gray in color and is uninsulated. A “grounding” wire is part of a complex backup system underground. It provides an alternative pathway for the current, just in case there is an issue with the “grounded” wire.
How Do I Know if I Have Grounding Wires?
One way to tell if you have grounding wires is by looking at your outlets. If the outlet has a grounding connection, it has a round slot for the third prong of the plug—this slot is indicative of a system of grounding wires. While most homes have the complex system of grounding wires complete with circuit breakers, some older homes may not have this. If most of your outlets don’t have a third slot, chances are your home electrical system does not have a grounding connection.
Why Does My Home Need a Grounding Connection?
There is a simple answer to this question: Because it protects you and your appliances. Having a grounding connection prevents the likelihood of electrical fires and electrocution, which can be fatal for you and your family. Your power lines have a great deal of excess current and it’s best that there is a safe and separate pathway away from your home and its inhabitants.
Have More Questions about “Grounded” Electricity? Get in Touch with Roman Electric!
This was a bit of a complicated blog, so we understand if you still have questions about whether electricity needs to be grounded or not and how you can add a grounding connection. Contact us with your concerns and our experienced electricians will be more than happy to help you. Call us at 414-771-5400 or schedule a service online!