A ground wire is an essential in any home, and chances are you have heard of them in some shape or form. However, few homeowners understand the actual function of a ground wire, and why it is so important for it to be functioning correctly. Therefore, we will be going over what they are, and why you need to have one.
What Do They Do?
As implied by its name, a ground wire is an electrical wire that extends into the ground below your home. By code, it has been a requirement since the 1960s, meaning most homes that exist today have them. They perform the function of giving excess electrical charges a safe place to go, directing the excess electrical charge into the ground below. Since the Earth’s mass has a negative electrical charge, positive electrical charges are drawn by it, and upon contact with the ground results in a discharge. A ground wire’s purpose is to get excess charges to the ground in a safe manner, ensuring no danger or damage can be caused.
Why Do You Need Them?
Excess electrical charges are very frequent. They are the reason why surge protectors are commonplace on all electronics. Usually occuring when a large appliance is switched on, an example of a common surge that occurs is when the lights flicker when you turn on your air conditioner.
A proper home electrical system will have a ground wire successfully discharging these charges into the ground. If functioning properly, all excess electricity will have a place to go. However, if this doesn’t function properly, the electricity will scramble for anyplace to go, which can result in a number of dangerous things.
The most dangerous place for electricity to go to is into the human body. This can happen when you touch an ungrounded plug or outlet at the wrong moment. Since we have no surge protectors, the electricity will flow through our body and into the ground in order to be discharged. The effects of this can be burns, nerve damage, and even death, if the surge is powerful enough.
Alternatively, if the surge travels through the structural elements of your home, it can spark a fire. And there is the ever-present threat that the electricity can flow into appliances and ungrounded outlets, which can damage them.
Check for Yourself
An easy way to see if your appliances are grounded
Often times there are older homes that will have a mix of the two, depending on the electrical work that has been performed on the home over the years. To verify that your home’s properly grounded, contact us at
(978) 388-1522, or through our online contact form. We’d love to work with you.