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Electrical  /  February 10, 2022

Ottawa Electrical Services: What Are Ungrounded Outlets?

What is underground outlets

If you have an older home built before 1960, you are likely already familiar with the pains of ungrounded outlets. If you have only lived in newer homes, this type of wiring may be foreign to you, but it is still critical to keep an eye out to decrease the risk of potential fire or injury. Find out what ungrounded outlets are and how to mitigate the risks by installing new wiring with the help of an electrician in Ottawa.

What Is an Ungrounded Outlet?

Think about or even locate the outlets in your home. For most people, the outlets will appear three total openings. Outlets are likely to have two vertical slots in the top that run parallel to one another with a hole centred underneath; this description is for a grounded outlet required for electrical installation in homes since 1962. An ungrounded outlet will have the same top two vertical slots but will be missing the bottom hole.

How Do Outlets Work?

Wiring runs from a breaker or fuse box through the home, through a circuit, and to your outlet. The top two vertical openings connect plugs to hot and neutral wires in grounded and ungrounded outlets. The grounded outlet has a third opening to connect to the grounded wire.

Grounded wires are essential if electricity escapes from its path or there is a short in the circuit. In a grounded outlet, the excess electricity is connected back to the ground wire and travels safely back to the breaker box to exit the house. Numerous potential disastrous outcomes could require electrical repair services when electricity escapes from its path in ungrounded outlets. Common dangers include:

  • Fire and smoke damage
  • Shocks
  • Damaged wires
  • Short circuits
  • Injuries

How Are Grounded Outlets Installed?

Professional electricians are the best bet for uninstalling ungrounded outlets, repairing or replacing old wiring, and installing new outlets. In most cases, ungrounded outlets are accompanied by messy, often unsafe wiring that leads back to an even more concerning breaker box. In some cases, new breaker boxes, fuses, and circuits will be installed to support the home’s electricity safely.

Choosing Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters

When electricians determine which method is the safest and most cost-effective for homeowners to replace their current outlets, CFGIs typically take the cake. While the protected outlets don’t always save the appliances or support surge protectors, they ensure the safety of the house and prevent devastating damages. GFCI outlets work by tripping circuits in a power surge to stop the electrical flow to the outlet. If no new wiring is completed, any ungrounded GFCI outlet conversions must be clearly labelled on the outlet stating that there is no equipment ground for safety purposes.

Adding Junction Boxes

Junction boxes are a more costly take on the wiring integration necessary to incorporate grounded outlets in the home. Junction boxes must be installed so that they are next to the main electrical panel and accessible and unrestricted at all times. Once the installation and new wiring are complete, it is run from the box to the new grounded outlets.

Decking on New Outlets and Install

Rewiring your entire home’s electrical and replacing every outlet is the most costly option for switching to grounded outlets but the most comprehensive one. All new wiring will be installed and run from each grounded outlet to an often new main panel. However, depending on your experience with ungrounded outlets in the past and the size of your budget, it may be worth it to consider the option for your peace of mind.

Contact the professional electricians at Handyman Connection in Ottawa today to learn more about the safest and most cost-effective option for grounding the outlets in your home.

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