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Are Ungrounded Receptacles Dangerous in Your Home?

Electricians Greenville-SC

Does Your Home Have Ungrounded Receptacles?

Every week I get a few calls from homeowners buying or selling a home who have realized that the plugs are not grounded. Usually, an electrical home inspection during the selling process has revealed the issue. Most times the problem is a three-prong receptacle that has been installed to replace the older and inconvenient two prong type. Unfortunately, this quick fix doesn’t meet code requirements, and this cheated receptacle can be a hazard. Keep reading to learn how to correct the issue the right way without having to rewire the entire home.

Older Homes built in the 1960s and earlier did not require a grounding type three prong receptacle nor did the wiring support such a device at the time. It wasn’t until 1969 that UL mandated homes to start using the three-prong system for better electrical safety. Most homes from that era still have the original wiring that lacks the required equipment grounding conductor needed to install a three-pronged receptacle. If you have a home built in this era, it might be time to Upgrade the Panel Box too. DIY homeowners that are annoyed by the lacking two prong outlet usually change the device themselves not paying any mind to the green grounding screw that is left empty.

The issue with improperly installed three prong receptacles is that modern day appliances have a third prong for a grounding path to help prevent electrical shock. Newer appliances that only use a two-prong plug are double insulated to help prevent electrocution. A plug adapter is considered a reasonable solution because the end user is knowingly unplugging an item into a receptacle that only has two prongs and therefore takes the responsibility of using an ungrounded appliance. The problem with the cheated receptacle is the end user is plugging something in with the false impression of safety. A cheap plug-in receptacle tester bought at the home improvements store quickly reveals the presence of the required ground wire as well as other wiring issues. If the electrical tester identifies miswiring, it is strongly recommended you consider Hiring an Electrician in Greenville, SC to make appropriate repairs.  

So you don’t feel like spending many thousands of dollars rewiring your home? A relatively inexpensive fix is to add GFCI Protection. This solution can be as simple as replacing a needed two prong receptacle with a GFCI device or installing a GFCI device in the first position of a group of three-pronged receptacles that are in series. This scenario is acceptable if all the series receptacles are de-energized when the GFCI device is in the tripped state. Another suitable remedy is to add GFCI breakers that protect the circuit in question. The last thing that is required is to place a sticker on all the replaced three prong receptacles that states clearly “GFCI protected no equipment ground present” several stickers usually come with the GFCI device packaging. Again, it is recommended you contact a qualified electrician to make these repairs, and as always Upstate Electrical Solutions is happy to help if needed.

Ian Ramirez | Upstate Electrical Solutions Ian Ramirez is a Licensed Master Electrician with more than 20 years of experience with Residential and Commercial electrical projects. Contact Ian directly at 864.834.9955 or Click Here to Schedule Electrical Service for Greenville & Upstate SC customers. Upstate Electrical Solutions is a member of the Better Business Bureau. Check out our 5-Star reviews on Google, Facebook and Yelp. Our reliable service comes with upfront pricing and a 100% Money Back Guarantee.