When it comes to your home’s overall safety, the electrical system often becomes a topic of concern. Over the years advances and discoveries have been made to enhance modern electrical safety and efficiency. One major concern for electrical systems is the underground outlet. Underground outlets have proven to be a problem when it comes to electrical safety and control. For those who may have an underground outlet your home could be at risk. Peterkin Electric would like to share what an underground outlet is and how it can be dangerous as well as what to do if you have them around your home or property.
What is an Underground Outlet?
When you hear “underground outlet” you may be thinking of an outlet that is too close to the ground, which is a common misconception. Underground outlets were quite common in the 1970’s and before. You may even have seen a few homes with underground outlets that were built in the early 1980’s as well. You may also have seen an underground outlet and didn’t realize they were no longer to code and that they now pose a serious threat. An underground outlet is easily identified. They are like regular outlets but only have two prongs that only smaller devices can use.
Difference Between 2 or 3 Prong Plug Wiring
Modern homes all have three pronged outlets, not only for more convenience and better efficiency, but also for enhanced safety. The third center prong is essential as it makes all outlets grounded. It is where extra electrical charges get safely discharged. It is common for the electrical system to develop built up electricity that needs to be discharged. If the system overloads, again the additional power is directed to the ground system to discharge the overloaded power in a safer place. For homes with two pronged outlets, when additional power builds up the overloaded energy has nowhere to go besides the closest current flow. When discharged the electrical overload can damage appliances and create a large electrical spark. This can result in a fire and even electrocute and kill a person. Homes built in the 1960’s will have underground outlets all over the place. Then as time went on homes being built no longer used underground outlets. Today they are considered a violation and not to code.
Change & Convert 2 to 3 Prong Outlet
When you discover you have these dangerous outlets in your home or anywhere on the property, it is recommended to remove them and replace them with modern outlets. As long as the wiring is in good condition often the outlet can be removed and replaced within minutes. For safety, it is recommended to have an experienced electrician replace your home outlets. However, if you have underground outlets in your home it can be a sign of additional problems. Homes that were built in the 60’s and 70’s used aluminum wiring. It was cheaper and more accessible during the time. However, aluminum wiring is also a major safety concern as well as poor efficiency. Your home may only have 60 amps were modern homes now have between 100 and 200 amps. If you have aluminum wiring as well as underground outlets, you may need your home electrical system updated.