Are Non-Grounded Socket Outlets Safe?
For as long as you’ve been living and working in buildings with electrical service, you’ve been plugging things in.
Have you ever noticed how some socket outlets have just two vertical slots, while others have a third “hole” that makes the socket outlet look like a strange face? You may have also noticed how many appliances have either a two-prong plug or a three-prong plug.
What is that third hole? Is it necessary? Is it safe to plug something into an socket outlet with just two holes? Or does it even matter?
Those two-prong outlets are what we in the electrical industry call non-grounded socket outlets (or ungrounded outlets). Three-prong outlets, by contrast, are referred to as grounded outlets.
Today we’ll show you what all this means, including the difference between grounded and ungrounded outlets, and how to address the outlet safety concerns that come with using older two-prong electrical outlets.
What Is a Grounded Electrical Socket Outlet?
All socket outlets have a hot wire that delivers electricity from your local power source to your home, and a neutral wire that sends electricity back to the power source. If an outlet has only these two wires, but has no ground wire, it is a non-grounded, or ungrounded, outlet.
If the outlet has a third wire called a ground wire, it is a grounded receptacle, or outlet, and will have the familiar three slots. A ground wire is an important safety feature. If your home’s electrical system, or an individual outlet, get a surge of excess electricity, this can raise the risk of fire, shock, or electrocution.
This power surge, also called an electrical fault, travels from the grounded electrical outlet back to your home’s main electrical panel, out through the ground wire to the earth, which absorbs the excess energy. By directing the power surge to the earth, the ground wire reduces the risk of damage to your appliances and injury to you and your family.
The differences between grounded and ungrounded are quite simple. When it comes to appearance, ungrounded socket outlets contain two prongs or holes while grounded outlets contain three.
Electrical devices that can be plugged into an ungrounded socket outlet include small kitchen appliances, lamps, and radios. Grounded socket outlets can more safely provide power to larger devices including computers and televisions. The third wire in these three-prong outlets is known as a grounding wire and allows for an additional path for electrical currents. These outlets are less likely to cause short circuits compared to ungrounded outlets. Grounded outlets are for improving safety and preventing high voltages of electricity.
JUNON Socket outlet with Grounding wire, safe! It is the best choice for your home.