I definitely understand your curiosity regarding why electricity goes to the ground. You might also be curious if your house’s electric system is grounded. Because that way your house will be safe and sound.
Why does electricity go to the ground?
Electricity is supposed to move from a terminal that’s positive to a negative terminal. The ground is considered to be the negative terminal. As a result, the electrons head towards the positive terminal or ground. This way the ground can transfer electrons to or receive from a charged object. This makes that object neutralized through one neutral wire.
You now know the gist of the entire thing. But I’ve got more info for you. All of the info from my side will ensure your and your home’s safety.
To get more knowledge, please do keep reading!
Why Are the Reasons for Electricity to Go to Ground?
The flow of electrons is known to be electricity. In your house’s electrical lines there’s an excess positive charge. This charge goes to the ground for your own safety.
But what is the cause behind this attraction of the positive charge to the ground?
I’ve discussed the reasons below. The reasons are interconnected with one another.
Ground Is A Negative Terminal
As I’ve mentioned before, a ground works as a negative terminal. As a result, it attracts those excess positively charged protons.
That’s why it’s often said that electricity transfers from a positive terminal to a terminal that’s negative. Simply put, it goes from a higher potential to a lower potential.
Ground Is An Open Space
Electricity basically moves or flows to find a place. They also want some space too. Simply put, they need a place where they’ll have an open space.
This space cannot be plastic or wood that are considered insulators without enough pressure. But the ground is different.
It has lots of things, more specifically: conductors. As a result, the electron can move freely and be separated from each other.
Keeping this in mind, whenever you try attaching something conducting to the ground; And connect an object charged with electrons to the conductor, those electrons will transfer to the ground through the conductor.
Let’s relate this info with household electrical system-
The ground wire you have in your house is negatively charged. As a result, it attracts the electrical lines’ extra positive charge. This makes your outlet safe for energy.
You might now think if the extra electricity in our household is common. If I speak from experience, yup it’s really common.
Because you might think the power is consumed entirely every time you plug in an object. But that’s not true. As a result, the excess power needs a ground path that’s safe.
Not to mention, there are lightning strikes, which also cause extra power. Also, electrical excesses that come from your power lines too.
All of the situations above need grounding. Otherwise, you’ll have a dangerous situation going on. And it’ll be as dangerous as knob and tube wiring.
How to Know if Your House Is Properly Grounded?
You might now be wondering whether your house is grounded or not. I get your concern. But no need to panic.
You can find out this through an inspection conducted by your electrician. But to be fair, the electrical system in almost all new houses is connected to a ground rod. This is a requirement by the NEC.
But older houses might not have this grounding. Furthermore, due to mistakes during the house construction work result in improper grounding.
A situation like this is very problematic. Because you won’t even know whether your house outlets are grounded or not.
If you have an old house, you can also go through an inspection to be sure about this. If your house doesn’t have adequate grounding, take action quickly.
How to Ground Your House?
This part should be left to an expert. Because grounding the house yourself is quite difficult. But if you’ve experience in this field, just follow my lead-
- Grounding rods
- Soldering iron
- Copper wire
- Lightning arrester
- Staple gun
- Outlet surge protector
You also need to put on your gloves beforehand. This is to avoid electric shock. Go for the similar type of glove used for testing household light switches.
Step 1: Run the Copper Wire
Start running your copper wire from your main electrical panel. Run it outside of your house to the yard.
Secure your wire now to the walls. You can use a staple gun for this. If you don’t have that, try using plastic clips.
I’ve got a few suggestions for that as I myself have used them before-
You have to run this copper wire 10-20 feet from your home. Once done, start wrapping it around your grounding rod. It should be wrapped 4 or 4.5 inches from the rod’s one end.
Step 2: Run That Wire Around Your House
It’s time to run the same wire around your home. Keep it away 10 feet. Every time after 10 feet, wrap it around a new rod and continue to do the same with the wire. Keep on doing this till your house is circled.
Step 3: Solder Copper Wire to Your Rods
In this step, start soldering that wire to grounding rods. Do this with your soldering iron.
Specifically said, start applying to your rods around your wire, which touches the rods. This wire can be welded on too.
Step 4: Drive Your Rods Into Ground
You now have to drive or stick your rods into the ground. Do this till you and the end is 6 inches apart. Use the hammer to stick the rod in. Stop when you see the copper wire is near the ground level.
Step 5: Dig Trench
Start digging a trench now. It should be between the grounding rods. Keep hammering your rod till the rods flush with the ground. Once done, cover those rods by filling in the dug trench.
Step 6: Attach Copper Wire to Electric Panel
You have to take the help of an electrician here. With their help connect your copper wire to your house’s electrical panel along with the lightning arrester.
Once you’re done performing all the above steps, plug-in surge protectors into your house outlets.
With that, your house is now properly grounded.
Question: What happens if my house is not grounded?
Answer: I have a simple answer for this. That’s you won’t feel safe in your house. Your electrical system can go down due to power surges. Lightning strikes can also harm your house. As a result, fire can occur at any time.
Question: What happens after the electricity goes into ground?
Answer: After the current or electricity goes to the ground, it returns to the power grid. This happens only if the current occurred from that place.
Question: Is it possible to install a light fixture if there’s no ground wire?
Answer: Yes, it’s possible. But in case you have a fixture that’s made with metal, you need to ground it.
I’m done for today. I’ve provided all the info I had regarding why electricity goes to the ground. I hope you’re all clear now.
Don’t hesitate to take help from a nearby electrician while grounding your house. This is for your own safety.