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How To Ground Electrical Components

Learning how to ground electrical components is very important if you want to maintain an electrical hazard-free home. Most individuals in South Africa unknowingly live in homes which have several potentially dangerous electrical hazards. Most of these hazards are caused by naked electrical wires and electrical components which are not properly grounded.

To reduce the electrical hazards by grounding, you need to first understand what grounding actually means and how it makes your home safer. Electricity always flows through complete circuits made of conductors. All metals, water and the human body are good conductors of electric current. That is why you can easily get shocked when you touch a live wire. The shock is simply electric current flowing through your body. Electric current has an affinity for the earth and usually takes the path with the least resistance. When you touch a live wire, body forms a minimal resistance path which subsequently causes and electric shock. The best way to prevent such occurrences, especially if you have children playing around in your house, is to ensure that all the wires and electrical components are grounded. “Grounded” means that they are connected to a conductor which would direct excess current straight into the earth.

Currently, most homes in South African have been built with sockets which allow three plugs. The lower two holes usually conduct live current through the live and neutral wires of the respective electric component. The upper hole which is positioned above them is connected to a conductor which directs current straight to the earth. Its main purpose is directing excess current into the earth. For this to be effectively done, your electric component needs to have three prongs. The live and neutral prongs are connected to the lower holes while the upper prong is slotted to the grounding hole. Such components are the most effective in reducing the electrical hazards since all the excess current will be automatically directed into the earth. Sometimes the grounding wire may malfunction, causing an electric current in your component. That means that although you may be committed to only purchasing such components, it is very important to learn how to ground electrical components.

Unfortunately, not all components come with three prongs to connect them to the socket. Many of the small components, especially ones which were made a couple of years back only come with just two prongs which conduct live current. If such a component malfunctions or there is excess build up of current, there is a significant chance that electric current will flow through you to the ground. This may be fatal, especially since the national grid in South Africa distributes about 240 volts of power to each house. Such current is effective in powering components but lethal to the human body. It is therefore important to ensure that everyone in your home understands how to ground electrical components.

The best way to do this is providing a direct connection between the component and the earth. If you have the resources, you can replace the two wire system in the respective components with a three wire prong which is earthed. A cheaper method is connecting each two-pronged component to a grounded metal pipe. Place one end of the wire to any metallic element of the component. The other end of the wire should be connected to the pipe. This subsequently prevents electrical fatalities. Finally, ensure that even your children know the importance and how to ground electrical components.

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