Last updated on August 14th, 2022 at 01:28 pm
One of the most important things in every home is a ground wire. Nonetheless, we often tend to undermine its value. So, what would happen if it’s not there.
When your electrical outlets are not properly grounded, the electronics present in your home can pass excess current. In this process, you can be affected when the appliances use your body to complete the path created by the negatively wired ground. And this could result in an electric shock or electrocution.
What Is the Purpose of Establishing A Ground Wire?
The sole purpose of establishing a ground wire is to move electrical current only under a short circuit or any other conditions that could prove dangerous.
Grounding wires serve as an alternative way for the current to flow back to the source rather than through a living body that touches the appliance. In a house with a properly grounded electrical system, the excess electricity surges directly into the ground.
But in cases where the house possesses no grounding, the surge goes into numerous critical places. Two bad conditions will occur when the ground wire is not connected to the neutral or if the system ground is not properly bonded to the earth.
Firstly, it will lead to irregular voltages because some voltage will not have a ground reference, negatively affecting your appliances. It is also potentially dangerous if there is a conductive item or other ungrounded devices and appliances nearby. The risk of getting shocked due to the absence of a ground wire can be fatal.
The grounding principle is simple; electrical current that may have escaped from a device to a metallic conductor is diverted using a rod buried deep in the ground. In the process of grounding, the installation of the earthing switch is necessary.
The earthing switch performs the function of measuring and verifying the quantity of electricity that goes through the earthing system. This is otherwise called “earth resistance.”
Furthermore, the lightning arresters installed in the electrical systems would not function effectively unless they were properly grounded. Under lightning strikes, lightning arresters will not send the high voltage into the ground with no ground wire.
Is Connecting A Ground Wire Necessary?
Connecting a ground wire is not always necessary in an electrical process. Neither is it for the operation of a device or home appliance. However, it is very important; I advise you to do it. Still, it’s not necessary.
The ground wire is created to pave a way through which electrical current can move if the normal paths are unavailable. When the normal paths are not available, it could mean they may be damaged. It could also signify that too much electricity is going through them.
Thus, connecting your home’s electric circuits into the ground is a very smart and safe act. If your electrical wiring ever experiences an issue or short circuit, grounding provides a backup system to reduce the risk of fire or electrical shock.
Every electrical circuit possesses what is known as the active wire, which supplies the power, and the neutral wire, which moves current back to its source. A grounding wire can be added to the electrical outlets and other devices.
It can also be securely connected to the ground at the breaker box. If a short circuit ever occurs, the electric current would flow through the ground wire, resulting in a tripped circuit breaker. This is preferable to the fatal shock that could have happened if the house was not grounded.
Why Is Grounding So Important?
The most important reason for grounding electrical currents in wires is that it protects your body and appliances from surges in electricity. These surges could result in a fire, but if your electrical system is grounded, the excess electricity goes directly into the earth instead of causing bodily harm or electrical damage.
Other reasons that make grounding so important are:
1. Protection Against Electrical Overload
Grounding protects your appliances from sudden surges in electricity. For instance, if lightning strikes occur, which produces a dangerous level of high voltage in your electrical system. The excess electricity goes into the earth rather than destroying everything connected to your system.
2. Prevention of damage, injury, and death
One of the worst things that could happen from not grounding your house is a fire. Fire could not only cause property damage but may also result in physical injury or death.
3. Earth is the best conductor.
The human body is not a traditional electrical conductor. And rather than let the excess electricity travel into you when you touch an appliance, grounding makes it possible for it to go right into the earth.
Grounding is so important for protection and safety in the home and not only in commercial buildings. Whenever you plug in a device or appliance, the excess power would require a safe place for discharge.
Proper grounding is essential in electrical works in the home because the excess energy needs to be directed somewhere. Ground wires for individual branch circuits lead back to the ground bus bar of the service panel.
And the service panel must, in turn, be connected to the earth so that the entire electricity system is safely grounded. In the usual way, a service panel is grounded by thick bare copper wire or green insulated wire leading to the ground rod.
The type of grounding used for the electrical system in your home depends on the type of terrain around your home and the local building codes. These grounding types include the following:
4. Using a Ground rod
In this type of grounding, a copper wire is driven at least 8 feet into the ground. The service panel ground wire must be strongly attached to the ground rod. Either with welding or a clamp. According to recent building codes, two or more ground rods are to be used for extra safety.
5. Using a Grounding plate
Grounding plates are best used in rocky areas because it would be difficult to drive a ground rod 8 feet down. The grounding plate is a thick piece of metal buried a foot deep into the foundation. In an alternative method, a ground wire may be connected to a metal reinforcing rod embedded into a house’s foundation.
6. Grounding with a cold-water pipe
In some cases, the ground wire of the service panel may lead to a cold-water pipe, which is connected to supply pipes that lead deep underground. Hot water pipes are not to be used for grounding because they only run to the water heater and not into the earth. When using a cold-water pipe, ensure it is firmly clamped.
What Happens If You Disconnect the Ground Wire?
Disconnecting the ground wire doesn’t have an instant effect. Instead, it builds up over time as a safety hazard would be created if a fault develops in an appliance or device with metal cases.
The main problem associated with the disconnection of the ground wire is that it is not detectable from the operation of an appliance or electronic device since the ground wire is not an original part of the circuit for the electric flow of current.
Can You Be Electrocuted If Your Home Is Not Grounded?
Yes, you can. If your home is not grounded at all or properly grounded, you can be electrocuted. During electrocution, your body acts as the capacitor for both points of electricity.
Unground electrical circuits pose the risk of electrocution through outlets and sockets. Electrical current always flows through the path of least resistance; thus, if you ever use an ungrounded device, you can get electrocuted.
In a grounded house, there is a connection between the electrical appliances and devices in the house and the ground. Some devices consume a lot of electricity and usually possess a third prong in their switches. If the house is grounded, the excess electrical current has a safe pathway.
The worst situation that can occur due to an ungrounded electrical system is a fire outbreak. In the absence of the ground wire, problems may arise with the outlet, causing sparks and electrical charges that can spawn fire across walls and nearby furniture and fixtures.
An electrical shock is no fun experience. And it is one of the multiple risks that can arise from a house with no grounding. In many countries, it is not strictly necessary for the electricity system in your house to be grounded. But it is advised to increase the level of safety in your home.