Grounded vs. Ungrounded Outlets

Pop Quiz: do you know the difference between a grounded and an ungrounded outlet? Knowing the differences can really save you from potential hazards and unsafe situations. For starters, look for the smiley face! If the holes on the outlet look like they’re in the shape of a smiley face, you’re in good shape.

grounded outlet

Problems With Ungrounded Outlets

Was your house built before 1960? If so, you could potentially have major electrical problems on your hands. Outlets with two holes, instead of 3, means the outlet is ungrounded and the wiring involved in these types of outlets can be dangerous.

Back in the day, when electricians wired homes, they used two conductor wires to connect to the two prongs of the outlet. As these older outlets were replaced with more modern 3-prong outlets, electricians didn’t always rewire the system. Having two conductor wires attached to a 3-prong outlet is a big no-no.

The Solution?

There are only a few ways to safely deal with this issue. According to current NEC code standards, a grounding type receptacle (three prong) shall be connected to a functioning equipment grounding conductor. If no such conductor exists, or is not functional then a three prong cannot be used. (NEC 2008 406.3 D1,3a,b,c).

Sure, there are other replacements out there that can satisfy the requirements mentioned above, but nothing actively grounds a receptacle without running a new wire.

Want to learn more about the differences between grounded and ungrounded outlets? Ready to have your old, unsafe outlets rewired? That’s what we’re here for! Give the expert electricians at GEN3 Electric a call today: 215-512-4102.