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Scherer Electric Blog

The Importance of Properly Grounding Your Home

GFCI outlet

When we as electricians say a home is grounded, we mean that there’s a connection between the electrical components of the structure and the ground. Electricity naturally seeks the shortest path to the earth that it can, and when a house is grounded it provides electricity with the best path down into the ground and not into parts of the house where it can cause damage.

If you have three-prong outlets in your house, it means the house is grounded. The third circular hole in the outlet is to ground the outlet. 

Unfortunately, not all homes in this area are grounded. If you live in a house that doesn’t have three-prong outlets, we recommend calling our electricians for home grounding services in Buffalo, NY. And no, using three-prong adapters isn’t “grounding” the house. But even grounded homes can run into problems if they are improperly grounded. 

Why You Want Your House Properly Grounded

You may be living in a completely ungrounded house or a newer house that, due to several loose connections, is no longer fully grounded. Both situations can present several serious hazards and other problems. 

The biggest danger from poor grounding is electrical fires. Excess current from any appliance plugged into a wall socket won’t have an easy direction to move into the ground and instead will move, well, elsewhere. That elsewhere can be back into the appliance or into building materials, creating fires. It can also be into a person: ungrounded outlets are a significant source of high voltage electrical shocks. The shocks can come through the appliance as well. 

Grounding is also one of the best natural “surge protectors” around in case of a massive voltage spike. In case of a lightning strike or a downed power line, electricity will pass through your house and into the ground rather than burn out all the wiring and appliances. 

A house that’s properly grounded will have a more efficient and stable electrical system as well. Grounding makes it easier to properly distribute power throughout the electrical system, and this reduces surges that can cause long-term damage to appliances and other electrical components. 

How to Tell You Need Grounding Services

We’ve already mentioned that you can tell if your house is ungrounded by checking the outlets. If you live in an older house that has been remodeled, we suggest you check all of the outlets to see if they are three-prong; there may be several that aren’t, and we recommend calling our electricians to give the home an electrical safety inspection in that case.

If you have a newer home that’s grounded, there are several signs to watch for that will warn you of improper grounding. Many of these warnings will come from the behavior of appliances: strobing lines on computer and television monitors, buzzing sounds coming from audio systems. You may notice electrical shocks when you touch metal in the house—and these shocks aren’t the same as static electricity, they’re stronger. Breakers that trip frequently are also a warning. If you have any doubts, call us right away for an electrical inspection. We’ll find out if you need grounding services.  

Scherer Electric is Western New York’s Favorite Electrician. Call us for all your home electrical needs. 

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