Most people have heard of grounded electrical systems but may not understand how they work or why they’re important. Grounding an electrical system protects the equipment and more importantly, the people in the building from high voltage shocks. If a building isn’t properly grounded, excess electricity can cause arcing. In turn, arcing can cause a fire or electric shock to a person who touches metal or another conductive surface.
How Does Electrical Grounding Work?
Electrical grounding involves directing excess electricity to the ground through a wire. The ground has negative electrical properties so it is able to discharge excess electricity safely. When excess electricity occurs, it looks for the path of least resistance. When a building, or home is properly grounded, excess electricity is directed through the grounding wire. The grounding wire diverts the excess electricity, preventing electric shock or fire.
Benefits of Electrical Grounding
Each year arcing faults cause more than 28,000 house fires, killing hundreds of people and cause over $700 billion in property damage. Additionally, electrical distribution systems are the third leading cause of house fires. The benefits of electrical grounding are mostly related to the health and safety of home or building occupants and structures but include several others.
- The first benefit is one of the most important—eliminating the risk of electric shock. It’s incredibly important that if someone touches part of a structure including metal surfaces, that the building has proper electrical grounding. The consequences for improper grounding can be deadly.
- Second, grounding helps protect equipment from damage. Again, improper grounding can cause arcing which can cause fires—damaging or destroying buildings, equipment and other contents. This also prevents fires and reduces equipment repair or downtime.
- Finally, a lesser-known benefit is that grounding reduces “electrical noise” which are fluctuations in an electronic signal.
Proper Electrical Grounding
You can ensure your grounding is done the right way by hiring a licensed, insured electrician, such as Raceway Electric. If you have concerns about electrical grounding in your home or facility, contact Raceway Electric—we’d love to help.