The Significance of Grounding

Today people are beginning to understand the importance of a continuous grounding system. One of the most beneficial reasons is that it helps protect your home, electrical devices, and your family from electrical surges. With your system being grounded all of the excess electricity in the system goes to the earth ground, instead of into devices connected to your electrical system, such as a tv, computer, etc…

Your home may already face issues due to improperly trained electricians not connecting the ground wires on light switches, fixtures, and other devices. Your home may have been built and wired prior to a grounding system being required in your jurisdiction.

One of the biggest hazards is when a person has a home with a 3 prong dryer plug and they have a 4 wire dryer. They convert the dryer cord to a 3 prong and try to make that work, but they are only getting 220 volts when the dryer also needs a 120-volt leg to operate the control panel. If you use the designated ground wire for the Neutral you run a risk of fire and electrical shock. The Neutral is an insulated conductor while a ground wire is often just a bare copper wire. The Neutral carries any unbalanced load in the system which happens regularly. So as this unbalanced load energizes the bare ground wire, which has been bonded to the dryer. Now any and all of the unbalanced electrical energy will energize the dryer causing it to shock you. If your hands are wet, it can be very dangerous for you, if you have one hand on your washer, you have now completed a circuit which could really do a great deal of harm to you, your children, anyone using your dryer. Further, a lightning strike or a surge in your electrical system will fry your dryer.

The electrical system is a loop, power comes in on the Hot Leg (Ungrounded Conductor) and returns to the utility company on the Neutral Leg (Grounded Conductor), your electrical bill is the amount of electricity that does not return to the utility company. So if you have your unbalanced load going to the ground rather than returning to the utility company you have a higher electrical bill plus there is something called Ground to Earth Voltage. This is when voltage is sent to the ground (your yard) and energizes the yard, which can be deadly during a storm.

To protect your home and system add a grounding system to your home. On Receptacles in the house with just a 2 wire system, place a GFCI Receptacle at the front of the circuit and provide personal protection to all receptacles down line of the GFCI. Install a Surge protector at your panel for a whole house protection. Use point of use surge protection devices for electronic equipment, such as surge power strips for computer usage and a surge protection receptacle for devices such as a flat screen tv.

So while people are beginning to understand the importance of a continuous grounding system, electrical engineers and manufacturers have developed a means to protect you, your family, your electronic, and your home. You should have a qualified electrical contractor ensure that you have a properly grounded system.

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