Get Wired: Ungrounded Receptacles

Get Wired With Squires Electric - ungrounded receptacles video

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Every property system, electrical or otherwise, eventually experiences some sort of breakdown or failure, even under normal conditions. The faster and more accurately you diagnose the problem, the less costly the repair.  Here’s another Squires Electric troubleshooting tip.

The common 3-prong electrical plug has 2 flat prongs make contact with the receptacle’s hot and neutral lines, and the third is a ground connection. You can think of it as an emergency path for electricity to travel if a short or other fault develops in the circuit. This helps reduce the chance of damage or injury. Grounded wiring was mandated by the National Electric Code in the late 60s, but that didn’t require existing systems to be updated. That’s why two-prong receptacles are still found in older properties. 

If the receptacles on your property are already 3-prong, that’s great! BUT…you’re not entirely out of the woods. It’s not unheard of for outlets to be installed without properly connecting a ground wire.This handy tool, called a plug tester, is used to be sure. Updating ungrounded receptacles is the wise move and there are a couple of ways we can do that. 

The first is to install GFCI protection and label the outlet as ungrounded. This helps protect against electric shock and clearly indicates that the receptacle doesn’t have ground connection. This is important because many electronics, lights, and surge protectors require a ground to properly function.

Option two is adding a new grounded circuit from the electrical panel to the receptacle. It’s a more time-consuming option, and may require some wall and ceiling refinishing, but it’s also the safest. 

We recommend one or more grounded 3-prong outlets per room to discourage use of plug adapters, which aren’t always safe. If you have questions about upgrading your receptacles, give us a call.  We’re here to help.
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