While they used to be the standard in most homes, two-prong outlets have become outdated and rather dangerous. Do you have any two-prong outlets in your home? If so, you might have to take extra precautions, like grounding every two-prong outlet, to ensure your home and electrical system are safe and functioning effectively. Here’s how to ground a two-prong outlet.
Why are Two-Prong Outlets More Dangerous?
Two-prong outlets are considered outdated and dangerous due to their lack of grounding. A grounded outlet allows electricity to safely be transferred in the case of an unstable current. In the case of an electrical accident, like a short circuit, the unstable current travels through the ground wire instead of potentially charging your plugged-in appliance and shocking you. Usually this trips your circuit breaker and alerts you to any dangerous currents.
Two-prong outlets have connections only for hot and neutral wire, not a third grounding wire. Without that third grounded wire, dangerous electrical currents don’t have a safe place to travel away from you and your electrical system.
Upgrade to GFCI
GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets are designed to protect against electrical shock, even without the grounding cable. Plus, this is the only three-prong outlet that can replace a two-prong outlet, according to the NEC. But if you choose this option, your GFCI outlet must be labeled “No Equipment Ground.”
Rewire your Two-Prong Outlets
Although your two-prong outlet may not have a ground wire, your electrical system might. While two-prong outlets are common in older homes, so are ground wires. But these ground wires could be hidden or behind sheetrock, making it harder (and messier) to locate. If a ground wire does exist in your home, it is possible to retrofit your ground wire to your two-pronged outlet, creating a safer flow of electricity. Contact your local electrician to find any ground wires and determine if this is the best option for your home.
Rewire your Electrical Panel
No ground wire? No problem. You can rewire your electrical panel with a ground wire. While this option is the most expensive of the three, it also ensures your entire electrical system is fully grounded and each outlet has a safe flow of electricity. Contact your local electrician to see how this can be done for your home.
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