A Quick Guide To Understand And Address The Dangers Of A Two-Pronged Electrical Outlet

29 November 2016
 Categories: , Blog

If your home features multiple two-prong outlets and you have been using plug-in adapters in order to use many of your electrical items, it is important to know that in general, those outlets are no longer considered to be safe. Their use has been associated with electrical shocks and a higher risk of fires because they lack an effective ground. Therefore, houses built since 1974 in the United States typically feature three-prong units and homes built prior to that are likely to benefit from upgrading their outlets. The following information will provide you with important facts that every homeowner should know about this common and necessary improvement.

Don't Just Replace The Cover For The Outlet

It will first be important to understand that the third prong provides grounding that the two-pronged units do not. In the event of an electrical spark or inappropriate flow of electrical energy in a two-pronged outlet, the person touching the cord could function as the grounder. Since that is actually an electrocution, it only makes sense that you should avoid that problem by upgrading the electrical system, as needed.

However, it is not unusual for thrifty homeowners with limited electrical knowledge to think that merely replacing the cover will address the issue. The truth is that it is necessary to assess each two-prong plug in your home to determine its existing safety and to see whether or not it has been effectively grounded, as explained below.

Use An Outlet Ground Tester On Each Applicable Plug To Verify Its Grounding Status

After turning off the electricity to the plugs in question, you will need to text each plug to check its status. One common and easy way of doing so involves the use of a three-prong outlet ground tester. After turning off the electricity to the plugs that you are concerned about, you should plug it into each plug and then interpret the results. Typically, you will see either a single light to warn you of inadequate grounding or two lights if the existing grounding is safe, but be sure to refer to the owner's guide for the tester prior to making any determinations.

In some instances, you may see a different series of lights, which will often indicate other wiring concerns. Regardless, if you see anything other than the appropriate number and positioning of lights in every outlet that indicate safe and effective grounding, discontinue use of that outlet immediately and speak with a licensed electrician about getting the necessary repairs.

In conclusion, if you are currently using plug-in adapters throughout your home in order to be able to use many of your electronic items, it is important to know that doing so can be quite unsafe. As a result, it's a good idea to speak with your electrician about this crucial electrical repair.