What is a ground wire?

A typical circuit in your home is comprised of 3 wires. The live wire, the neutral wire, and a ground wire. These 3 wires work in unison to not only deliver power, but to do so safely. You can learn why electrical wire is different colors by clicking here.

In order for an electrical circuit to do its job, it needs a complete path. The combination of a live wire and a neutral wire allows it to do that. So why have a ground wire? A ground wire is a safety precaution in case anything should happen to change that circuit.

A short circuit may occur if any part of the circuit becomes disrupted, such as a wire becoming loose or frayed. When that happens, electricity no longer follows the path it is intended and creates its own “short” cut. The ground wire is there to give the electrical current a safe secondary path to follow. Remember, electricity follows along the path of least resistance. If it can find a shorter distance to complete the circuit, it will.

3 prong cords

Have you ever wondered why most appliances and some other devices have power cords with 3 prongs? That rounded extra prong actually contains its own grounding system that, when plugged into updated outlets, provides extra protection against electrical mishaps.

You may be tempted to use 3 to 2 adaptors in homes whose outlets need updated. Keep in mind, that the risk of a future short circuit is then increased. We highly recommend that older 2 prong outlets be updated by a professional electrician.

Home Electrical Inspection

Through the years, our homes protection against electrical dangers has become more advanced. Our circuit breakers warn us, our home’s surge protection guards us, and our ground systems try to protect us.

If you think your home’s electrical system may be in need of an upgrade, give us a call about a home electrical inspection.  Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990.


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