Electrical malfunctions and failures are two of the most leading causes of residential fires in the US. Historically, they’ve also accounted for a large number of civilian deaths and property damage. Electrical grounding is the only way to keep such incidents at bay.

What Is Electrical Grounding?

Electrical grounding is a safety measure used to prevent anyone from coming in contact with any electrical hazards. Grounding directs excess electrical current from the appliance back into the ground via the electrical panel.

Electricity Basics

Electric current is nothing but a consistent flow of electrons. The electrical circuit that flows through your system relies on both negative and positive electricity. Your appliances need a systematic flow of both the charges to operate. In your wiring system, the black wire current the hot ‘negative current, while the white wires carry the ‘positive’ charge. Both of these wire types enter the home through the utility wires and run throughout the electrical service panel. They’re connected to every circuit in the house.

According to the law of flow of electricity, the electrons need to go back to the ground to reach a state of equilibrium. If this doesn’t happen, the hot current will instead flow through the metal pipes, wood framing, or other flammable objects in your house. In short, the electricity flows outside of this designated path, and this leads to a short circuit.

The backup plan is to provide a safer alternative pathway to electrical current. The third wire (grounding wire) also runs parallel to the black and white wire.

How Does The Process Work?

If something within the circuit goes wrong, excess energy builds up. If there is an electrical malfunction, the extra power is stored in the external metal housing and the internal wiring. This could potentially result in an electric shock.

In this case, the grounding wire takes up the excess electricity built up during the malfunction and sends it back into the ground outside your house. This way, the extra energy turns off the circuit. The grounding wire is an essential component of most important electrical outlets, including the appliances and lights.

The grounding wire connects to the soil outside your house in one of the two ways:

  • Copper water pipe: With this technique, the grounding wire is connected with the plumbing line that directs cold water into your water heater. The copper pipe is used as a grounding electrode because metal pipes are installed deep underground anyway.
  • Grounding rod: The other way is to use an 8-foot long copper rod connected to the soil outside your home. The key is to place the wire far away from the building. It’s not advisable to run the wire into the concrete, gravel, or other foundation material.

Whether your electrical system needs a quick fix or is calling for comprehensive rewiring, White Horse Electric Inc. is your best bet! They offer top-of-the-line residential, commercial, and industrial electrician services in San Diego. Get in touch.