What are Ungrounded Outlets?

Jan 11, 2022 | Electrical Outlets, Electrical Safety

Electrical outlets are crucial yet often-overlooked elements of your home or commercial facility. While some individuals may think that all outlets are the same, this is not the case. For optimal electrical safety in any setting, it is important to understand what ungrounded outlets are, what they look like, and the hazards they can present. As leading providers of commercial and residential electrical services, the team at Expert Electric knows how important outlet safety is for all buildings. That is why we have provided some information to help you spot ungrounded outlets and minimize the risk of electrical hazards around them.

Learn why your plugs keep falling out of your outlets.

Why are Grounded Outlets Important?

Grounded outlets can be identified through the presence of 3 openings (2 vertical openings on the top and one circular opening on the bottom). The two vertical slots represent a “hot” wire and a “neutral” wire. The ground wire in a grounded outlet ties into the circular slot, acting as a failsafe.  Should anything go wrong with the outlet, the electricity simply travels safely along the ground wire back to the panel.  Without the ground wire, that electricity can channel into nearby materials such as fabrics, plants, or anything else near the outlet. Ungrounded outlets lack this bottom ground wire opening and only feature the two vertical openings at the top, making them far more hazardous.

Electrical Safety Risks of Ungrounded Outlets

Though ungrounded outlets were a common choice for older homes and buildings, they have since been identified as unsafe for modern homes, commercial facilities, and the devices we use. Ungrounded outlets present a much higher risk of the following safety hazards:

Shock and Electrocution

Ungrounded outlets have a higher risk of shock to individuals that are operating electronics and appliances plugged into the outlet.

Electrical Fires

Without the ground receptacle, your outlet may cause arcing and sparks that can cause a fire. This is especially true if you have any dry materials near the outlet.

Property Loss

Ungrounded outlets can short out equipment and electronics, causing severe damage to your property. In some instances, this damage can even render your devices inoperable and require you to replace them.

Messy or Unsafe Wiring

Unfortunately, the presence of ungrounded outlets typically means that the wiring behind them is messy and unsafe. If you have ungrounded outlets in your home or commercial building, be sure to hire a professional to replace them with grounded units and organized wiring.

To learn more about outlet safety or to inquire about our residential electrical services, get in touch with the team at Expert Electric. We can be reached through our online contact form or by phone at 604-681-8338 and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services.