Is Your Home Properly Grounded?

The importance of a properly grounded electrical system is paramount. Plug-in type surge protectors will not work as well if the electrical outlet is not properly grounded. Surge protectors at the service entrance will not work as well if the electrical system ground is not properly installed.

Proper grounding is important because that is the path the surge protector can efficiently use to divert most types of power surges. Before purchasing or installing service entrance or plug-in type surge protectors, have your electrical system checked to make sure the electrical circuits and the electrical service are properly grounded.

The electrical system will be grounded to either a water pipe or to an outside ground rod driven into the earth. For those electrical systems grounded to a water pipe, sometimes this connection becomes poor due to corrosion or from a loose connection. For electrical systems connected to outside ground rods, the copper-clad ground rods are only UL rated for 20 years. Older ground rods may not provide adequate grounding due to corrosion or other changes that take place over time.

A properly grounded electrical system routes occasional leaking electricity through a “ground wire” into the ground. Without grounding, excess electricity can cause fires, damage to electrical appliances and computers, and also shocks to residents.

Older homes built under earlier electrical codes will often have outlets for two-prong plugs. This is often an indication of an ungrounded electrical system. Sometimes, the outlets have been replaced with the modern three-prong type, but without actually adding a ground wire. This can make it appear that the system is grounded when it’s not. Even when your wiring system has a ground wire, the grounding may fail due to loose or corroded connections and splices. A qualified electrician can check your wiring with a special tester to determine if it’s fully grounded.

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