Grounding is the process of providing a separate pathway that runs parallel to your electrical system’s live and neutral wires. This parallel pathway ensures fault current flows back to the ground or earth in the event of damage to the electrical system, an electrical surge, or a lightning strike. It’s an industry best practice and a requirement of many electrical codes and regulations to properly ground all electrical installations because of the many benefits that come with proper grounding.

In addition to benefits related to stabilizing and optimizing system performance, proper grounding is fundamental in ensuring electrical safety as it protects against electrical shock and electrical fires. To enjoy these benefits requires that your home’s grounding is adequate and properly done.

Protecting Against Electrical Shock

Grounding creates an alternative low-resistance path for electrical faults. The excessive current flows and discharges safely into the ground, ensuring that the exposed conductive parts on electrical outlets and household appliances don’t get electrically charged. This reduces the risk of suffering an electric shock when you touch these exposed metal parts while touching a metallic object nearby.

In addition to direct strikes, lighting can also hit someone by conduction. While metal does not attract lightning, it is conductive, providing a path for the lightning to follow. You are at risk of this conductive strike if you are in contact with anything that connects to metal wires, surfaces, and plumbing that extends outside. This includes household appliances plugged into electrical outlets. As with the electrical faults, the ground wire protects you from electrical shock by providing an alternative path for the excessive current of the lightning.

Even with the huge resistance offered by your skin, having an electric current flow through you can have several consequences. You may experience muscle spasms, tingling, arrhythmia, muscle pain, and seizures, among other common symptoms. Some of these symptoms may not have too big of an effect on your overall health, while others, such as severe burns, can be life-threatening. Similarly, some symptoms may clear right after or even after some time, but you may also suffer long-term damage to the brain and nerves.

Preventing Electrical Fires

Excessive currents can cause equipment to overheat. If this overheating is left unchecked, it can quickly progress into an electrical fire. Similarly, the equipment can spontaneously ignite, depending on the magnitude of the fault current. In general, spontaneous ignition of wiring systems and equipment is quite common in the event of an electric surge.

Proper grounding helps prevent electrical fire by diverting the excessive current away from the appliances and equipment in your home. Burns and injuries from an electrical fire can be life-threatening, and even without fatalities, these injuries can be life-changing.

Electrical Grounding Systems Explained

Grounding is done at the system and equipment levels. At Thermo Direct, our electricians have the expertise to design and wire both system and equipment grounding systems whether it’s for a new home or if you are looking to update your wiring.

Also known as circuit grounding, system grounding protects your home’s entire distribution system. At this level, your home’s neutral wire is connected to the ground through a grounding electrode conductor. System grounding serves to protect equipment appliances from electrical faults and surges. It involves connecting all the current-carrying parts of appliances to the ground.

On the other hand, equipment grounding provides localized protection to individual equipment or electrical devices. It involves connecting the non-current carrying parts of equipment or their external bodies to the ground. In this context, equipment includes appliances and any devices attached to your home’s electrical system or plugged into the outlets throughout your home. Its purpose is to protect users, that is, the people in your home, from electrical faults and surges. Proper grounding, for example, will protect you from electric shock when you touch a stainless steel refrigerator since the ground wire will harmlessly conduct any unwanted electricity to the ground.

Signs of Inadequate Grounding in Your Home

Knowing the signs of inadequate grounding will help you make the informed decision to call a licensed electrician to resolve the issue before you are exposed to full-blown safety risks. Call for an electrician as soon as possible, and for emergency services, you can expect to have your issue addressed promptly.

Feeling a mild shock when you flip a switch or touch appliances is one of the hard-to-miss signs of a problem with your grounding systems. Improper grounding can also cause your appliances and other electrical devices to overheat for no apparent reason. A buzzing sound from your electrical outlets and switches can also be a sign of a damaged or loose grounding connection. Also, while there may be other reasons, improper grounding is one of the biggest culprits behind frequent power surges, which can cause your appliances to malfunction.

A Call to Action: Ensuring Proper Grounding

As outlined, proper grounding is key to ensuring your home’s safety. Whatever the size of your home, grounding is quite a complex electrical process. Performing this process efficiently and safely requires professional knowledge and specialized tools, both of which the average homeowner may lack. Attempting to do it yourself can only lead to safety risks, in addition to a range of mistakes that may end up being costly to fix.

As the importance of grounding cannot be overstated, ensuring you only trust the work to a certified electrician with the relevant expertise is important. Our electricians will design the grounding network for new installations and employ the best techniques to deliver excellent workmanship when wiring your home. On the other hand, if you already have an electrical system in place, we will conduct a thorough inspection of your entire electrical system, identify any issues with the grounding and perform all the repairs it will take to get your home properly grounded.

All grounding-related designs and work must meet the electrical standards for safety and efficiency. Through continuous learning and development programs, our team stays up-to-date with the latest codes and regulations and the best industry standards. We also use only the highest-quality materials, including cables and electrical accessories, for all grounding work.

Lastly, the electrician must test the wiring work done to check if the ground is indeed working properly. Our electricians will go around your home checking the electrical ground at different outlets with a multimeter. Only after confirming that your home’s wiring is indeed properly grounded and safe would we call it a day.

Stay Grounded and Safe With Expert Wiring Services

Ensuring current doesn’t leak from its intended path is one of the fundamental principles of ensuring electrical safety. Grounding ensures there are no such leakages by providing a safe path for fault currents and, in so doing, boosts your home’s electrical safety.

Keep in mind also that an improperly grounded electrical system is just as bad a safety hazard as an ungrounded one. At Thermo Direct, we always strive to get the job done right. You can be sure of exceptional service as we wire or rewire your home for safety with proper grounding. Contact us today for professional wiring and a comprehensive range of electrical services if you are in Raleigh and the surrounding areas. We also offer heating, air conditioning, plumbing and air quality improvement services.

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