What is a Polarized Receptacle?

Polarized Receptacles came on to the scene in the 1920s. You may have wondered why the slots are different sizes. The larger slot is to connect to the neutral wire and the smaller slot is to connect to the hot wire. This polarized system was devised to add an element of safety, and is still used today.

Unfortunately, 2 slot polarized receptacles are often not grounded in older homes.

How to Check for a Ground

If the receptacle is contained in a metal box which is then connected to a metal conduit, your receptacle may be grounded. But remember that does not include any protection for a plugged-in device.

If the receptacle does not include both a metal box and metal conduit, you cannot expect the circuit to be grounded.

If your polarized receptacle is already grounded, you should be able to replace the existing older outlet with a more modern 3 slot one. If you have any doubt, you can purchase a receptacle analyzer at your local hardware store. Safety should always be your first concern.

3 Slot Receptacles

Today’s outlets are equipped with an extra round slot to give us the advantage of adding grounding to our outlets. That grounding offers electrical current a safe destination, should a problem arise, such as a short circuit for example.

We know that electrical projects can be a bit overwhelming. We always suggest using a professional electrician, such as Douthit Electrical, to handle your home’s electrical needs.

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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