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Electricians in Charlotte, NC

What are Ungrounded Outlets

Electrical wiring seems like it’s a controllable thing, but electricity is a force of nature. Modern society has harnessed this power for its own ends, but electricity is still dangerous. There’s a reason why electrical appliances have warnings that state they can cause death. Electricity is tame lightning, and just like lightning, it can strike you down in an instant. Ungrounded outlets are the way that we humans have managed to deal with potentially life-threatening situations where the electricity goes wild and becomes an untamed force of nature again.

What is Grounding?

If you examine one of the outlets in your home, you’ll find that there are three holes in the socket. There are two parallel line holes, with one slightly longer than the other, and a final semi-circular one at the bottom of those parallel lines. The semi-circular indentation holds the grounding wire. Electricity, as you probably know, chooses to follow the most natural path from its source to get to ground. Unfortunately for us as human beings, we are usually the easiest path to earth, and electricity has no problems traveling through us, which may result in us dying. The grounding wire offers the energy a way to the earth that’s a lot less dangerous for us, potentially saving us from electrical shocks.

The Danger of Ungrounded Circuits

Not all wall outlets have that third grounding wire, however. Some only have the two parallel lines without a space for the grounding plug. In this case, if an overload to the circuit occurs, the electricity would search for the nearest possible point to earth. In some instances, that point might be through your body. While this is a scary thought, in the early days of electrical outlets, the standard was the two-prong or ungrounded outlet. It’s only since the 60s that we’ve been installing grounded outlets in people’s homes. Naturally, there are still houses with two-prong ungrounded outlets inside them, but owners should try to upgrade them as soon as possible.

Are Upgrades Difficult?

As an electrical contractor, we can say with certainty that the upgrade from an ungrounded outlet to a grounded one is one of the simplest things that we can do. It is recommended that you switch out all your ungrounded outlets with grounded ones. They represent a hazard to both houses and people. Replacing the old outlets is a simple matter of removing the receptacle and replacing it with a new one with a ground screw installed. It’s neither expensive nor time-consuming, and we’d like to urge anyone with those ungrounded outlets to upgrade them as soon as possible.

Depend on Professional Electricians

Playing with electricity is an invitation to disaster. While we might mention that it’s an easy fix, it’s because we’ve done thousands of these installations in our time. Under no circumstances should you try to do the replacement yourself. With the wrong procedure, you could be putting your home and your loved ones at unnecessary risk. Call LiveWire if you have ungrounded circuits to upgrade, and we’ll get them done for you without any fuss. If you’re not sure, let us know, and we’ll schedule a visit to confirm what we need to do for you. Contact us today!