An open ground is simply when a three-pronged outlet is disconnected from the home’s grounding system. When there is open ground, there is practically no conductor present to discharge the fault due to a surge of current.
Although there is no potential risk, such an issue should not be overlooked because multiple equipment defects can change the scenario. It causes the chances of electrocution to go high and your safety may very well be compromised.
What Does Open Ground Mean
When a three-prong receptacle is not connected to the home’s grounding system or an equipment grounding conductor, it is called an open ground. Normally, equipment or appliance at home is designed to use the ground to discharge the surge of electrical current.
When the ground is open, it creates an unsafe fault condition with no conductor to discharge the fault or electrical current. As a result, the abnormal surge of current damages your appliances at home, or even people.
Identifying an Open Ground
You can easily identify an open ground by making use of an outlet tester. Another way of affirming an open ground is to remove each outlet from the wall physically and check to see if the ground wire is connected properly to the outlet.
Clearly, an outlet tester is the most viable option. When put to use, it will show a light-up code to confirm an open ground.
Repairing an open ground
At first, you must make sure that whether your circuit has an equipment ground present or not. The clue is that the post-1962 houses are most likely to have a three-wire system.
If that is the case, then the conductor has simply become disabled. In that case, you have to diagnose the circuit and locate the point of disconnection.
Turn off the power to the outlet. Then you have to remove the outlet from the wall to see the grounding equipment. Attach it to the outlet.
For a pre-wired house with a grounding wire, you should see an available ground wire. You have to connect it to the green screw on the outlet.
However, if you own a house from pre-1962, then your house is most likely wired with a two-wire system. In that case, one of your options is to re-wire or run new three-wire cables in the house. However, this process is expensive and requires damaging the walls and ceilings.
Another option includes running an equipment ground to the receptacle and then connecting that equipment ground to a part of the grounding electrode system.
An open ground is often a dangerous issue that should not be left untreated. It can damage your appliances and in the worst-case scenario, cause death. Multiple defects of such kind can escalate into a safety hazard. Therefore, one should take such an issue seriously and repair the ground without a moment’s hesitation.