Exposed Ground Wire: How Dangerous is it?
Electrical safety is always a hot topic for homeowners. Shocks, burns, and potential fire hazards are the common result of electrical malfunctions. A safety feature installed in almost all modern homes is grounding wires. The question now is how dangerous an exposed ground wire is?
Ground wires are supposed to be exposed when they’re in contact with the ground. For the most part, ground wires only have electricity running through them if there is an electrical discharge from your electrical system. The amount of electricity running through them is also minimal compared to that usually runs in a circuit.
Now, we’re not saying that you can go ahead and start playing around with your ground wire. There is still a chance of a current running through it if the electricity wasn’t redirected to the ground properly. With that said, we’re assuming that you have some problem with your ground wire.
Electrical Safety Tips for Handling Ground Wires
We’ll be going over the basic tips for homeowners to work with or handle their electricals safely. We’re also going to be covering the specific tips that could apply to ground wires.
- No water
Water is a conductor; this means that electrical currents can pass through it with ease. The same rule of making sure you, the environment you’re in, and the tools you’re working with should always be dry for grounding wires.
- Wear the Proper Safety Equipment
Rubber gloves and electrical tools are the ideal equipment you should use when working with your electrical tools. This might be too much for working with a ground wire but its always recommended to wear the right gear to stay safe.
If you want to eliminate any chance of a current running through your ground wire while you’re working with it, you can turn the switch on your circuit breaker. Make sure to check your electrical plans so you know which breaker is connected to the circuit you’re working on.
- Be Aware
Always assume that the wire you’re working with is live(meaning that a current is running through it). This mindset will help in making sure that you follow all the
- Do Your Research
If you’re going to make some DIY changes to your circuit, it’s best that make sure that you know what you’re doing. A ground wire that isn’t fitted properly will end up not being able to discharge electricity properly, which could potentially lead to an overload for your circuit.
We always suggest that our readers make sure that they’re fully informed of what they’re doing when it comes to working with potentially hazardous parts of their homes. It’s always better to know a bit more than a bit less!
What To Do With an Exposed Ground Wire?
You’ll first need to identify where exactly the ground wire is exposed. This is important as it will indicate the potential danger that your exposed ground wire can cause and the same time allows you to properly diagnose how exactly this exposed ground wire is affecting your circuit.
- Ground wire that is exposed near/at the circuit
This is the most dangerous instance of having an exposed ground wire. Having a ground wire that ends up not dissipating electricity or dissipating too close to your other electricals may end up damaging them.
This is often the result of a misinstallation on the grounding nut or by accident when working with your other wires. Sometimes, there might be too much wire exposed and the nut won’t be receiving all of the electricity that it’s supposed to.
- Ground wire that is exposed along its wire
In this case, you’ll need to have that exposed ground wire covered safely by using electrical tape(as long as the exposure isn’t that large). If the wire is exposed over a large area, you can have heat-shrinkable sleeve fitted onto the exposed parts, just apply heat till it snugly fits into the shape of the wire.
- Ground wire that is exposed near the ground
Normally, you shouldn’t be able to see the bare wire from your grounding wire. It’s supposed to be atleast a couple of feet underground before it can safely discharge any excess electricity. In this case, you should probably consult with an electrician because you’ll also need to have your grounding rod checked.
These are the general steps that one should take when dealing with exposed ground wire. Your specific situation might be different and may require extra steps. As always, we recommend you work with a professional and do your own research when dealing with any hazardous parts of your home.
When Should You Replace Your Ground Wire?
You might also considering changing your ground wire to better suit your home’s needs. Whether it be for a renovation, change in room use, or for a new appliance , you will need to consider how electricity will reach the ground in the case that your circuit fails.
For the most part, you should change your ground wire when there’s any damage to the wire itself. The last thing that you would want is for any stray electricity to go around places where it shouldn’t be and cause even more damage to your home.
When it comes to ground wires, you have much more freedom as to who long or how short you want it to be. You also don’t need to be as picky when it comes to selecting the type of material or the thickness of the wire that you’ll be using for grounding. Remember that the main purpose of a grounding wire is to be a safety feature incase something goes wrong in your circuit.
Exposed ground wire is not as dangerous as other exposed wires, however, you must still treat it as a fire hazard and exercise caution at all times. It’s important to you make sure that your grounding wire is working properly for your circuit so that all your electricals can function properly and safely.