How to tell if an outlet is grounded or not in your home is a common question among a lot of people. But what is a grounded wire system? Well, have you ever thought that what is the purpose of the third hole in an electrical outlet? The 3rd hole indicates the grounded wire system.
The electric wire system in your house carries electricity in two forms, positive charge and negative charge. The positive charge is the neutral current, and the negative one is hot current. When the electric currents pass, it needs to discharge the negative energy. So, it tends to go in a short way, and the electricity runs on the outside of the wiring system or in the pipe. This causes electric shocks, and it leads to create sparks. This will harm your electronic devices, or even worse, they can catch fire and can lead to severe accidents.
To avoid this problem, the electric wires need to be grounded. The two holes in an outlet carry hot and neutral charges. And the 3rd hole carries a different pathway. It consists of bare copper wire, which is connected to a grounded rod. The rod is buried deep in the ground near your home. So, the hot current can easily pass to the ground without harming your home appliances. And your home will be safe from electrical accidents.
So, it is essential to know if your house’s wiring system is grounded or not. Most of the homes built in the last few decades have grounded cable system. But due to loose cable connection, the grounded system may not work. So, you should check the wiring system.
How to Tell If an Outlet Is Grounded
With some simple testing, you can find out the answer. You will need some simple tools available in your local hardware store. So, the process of the testing grounded wiring system is given below:
Step 1: Gather the tools
The first thing you need to do is, gather the tools essential for testing. You will need a multimeter for this. You can find it in a hardware shop near you. Multimeters are inexpensive so, you can buy it easily.
Step 2: Locate the outlet
After arranging the multimeter, locate the power outlet, you want to test. If the outlet has three holes, then the half circle one is the grounded probe. The vertical left slot carries neutral electricity, and the right one carries hot electricity. Take some safety measures to prevent electric shocks.
Step 3: Connect the multimeter
After locating the outlet, you need to connect the multimeter to the outlet. Connect the red wire to the neutral probe in the left and the black wire in the right on the hot probe. Then set the multimeter to the highest voltage.
Step 4: Check if the outlet is receiving power
When you connect the multimeter to the outlet, you will find out if the outlet is receiving power correctly or not. If the multimeter is connected, it will show a reading. If the reading comes near 120 volts, the outlet is receiving power.
Step 5: Check if the outlet is grounded
If you find out that the outlet is receiving power, then take out the black wire from the right or hot current slot. Now, insert the black wire in the half-circle grounded slot. If the multimeter reading stays the same, the outlet is grounded. If the reading is not the same, the outlet is not grounded correctly.
This is a straightforward test you can run to check if your house’s electrical wiring system is grounded or not. The steps are easy and small. And will only take a few minutes to find out.
Are All Three-Prong Outlets Grounded?
The houses that are built in the last few decades contain new electric outlets, which are three-prong outlets. This type of outlet is an indicator of a grounded wiring system. The third hole in the outlet is the path of a grounded system. However, all three-prong outlets are not grounded properly. The grounded system must be there, but due to a loose wire connection, the system won’t work. So, it is essential to check all the three-prong outlets to find out.
The old two-prong outlets can also contain the modern system. If the outlet has been renovated in recent years, then there is a chance of having a grounded system in the outlet. So, you need to check to find out if the outlet is grounded or not.
Are Ungrounded Outlets Safe?
Having grounded outlets are essential and can prevent accidents regarding the house. But if you have an ungrounded outlet, is it safe? Well, the outlet is vulnerable to electrical accidents if it is not grounded. Ungrounded outlets cannot carry the hot current to the ground. That’s why the outlet becomes prone to electric shock. If any electrical home appliance is connected to it, a short circuit may appear. As a result, the machine will be damaged. And the circuit may spark fire in the house, which will be dangerous. Your life and property will be at significant risk if the outlet stays ungrounded.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix Ungrounded Outlets?
For a safe home, grounded outlets are essential. It prevents accidents and property risks. If your house still has ungrounded outlets, you need to replace them as soon as possible. You need to contact an expert electrician to do the work. A new outlet will cost around $80 to as much as $500. The cost of receptacles depends on the type you need, and the price is approximately $4 to $50. An expert electrician will cost around $50 to $100. With all the other cost, an average grounded outlet installation will cost from $200 to $300. Overall it is not that expensive to replace the outlets. So, change the ungrounded outlets of your home as soon as possible.
So, test all the outlets of your house and figure out if the system is grounded or not. If not, change the wiring system as soon as possible to prevent the risk of any accidents.