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What is an Open Ground?

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

An open ground receptacle is caused when you have a 3 prong outlet that is not connected to a ground wire. In modern homes the wiring system has a whole home grounding system. If you look at outlets in your home you will see two slots and a round hole. The round hole is the ground. If you plug in a grounded appliance (like a computer or TV) you have connected the appliance to the grounded wire in your home. This offers some protection to the occupants in the home from electrocution in the event of a surge. It may not protect the device, but it can help prevent electrocution.

Typically an open ground is found in older (built before 1971) homes that started with 2 wire set ups and have been converted to have 3 prong outlets. The 3 prong outlet is not providing any grounded protection if the ground wire is not present. To truly update an older home wiring system a true ground wire has to be installed. This should be done by a licensed electrical contractor. If an open ground is found in a newer home ( after 1971) the usual cause is a broken ground wire or it is not connected properly at the outlet. It could also be indicative of poor installation of wiring (like by a less than skilled homeowner) If this is the case, this should be a simple fix.

Inspectors are not usually required to inspect (with a tester) every outlet. We are usually required to test a representative sample of outlets in the home and in each room. Typically I inspect every available outlet. If one is blocked by personal belongings, it doesn't get inspected. So make sure that all outlets are available on inspection day.

So an open ground could indicate bigger issues or it could be a simple fix. That will be decided by an electrician, but it really should be taken care of ASAP!

Call Jon today to set up your inspection today! Call or text 470-472-4663 or request a quote here!

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