One electrical upgrade that is easy to overlook is two-prong outlet upgrades. Many people just find two-prong outlets inconvenient and a bit annoying, but they are far more dangerous than most people know.
TWO-PRONG OUTLETS AREN’T AS SAFE
In modern homes, you won’t find two-prong outlets, as they are no longer up-to-code when it comes to new constructions. However, our electricians here at HedgeHog Electric have come across a number of older homes that still have two-prong outlets.
These outlets only have a hot wire (the narrow slot) and a neutral wire (the wide slot), missing the round grounding slot for your devices to plug into. Without the grounding wire, surges of electricity have nowhere safe to go, which can destroy your electrical device as well as potentially causing an electrical fire.
SKIP USING PRONG CONVERTERS
Some people try to get around needing new outlets installed by using a three-prong-to-two-prong adapter. Also called a cheater plug, these adapters are not a good solution to having old two-prong outlets.
For one thing, if you are using the adapter on a device that requires a ground, you could be leaving yourself open to an electrical fire. Something like a vacuum cleaner is a three-prong device because it draws a good deal of electricity to operate. If there is an electrical surge, without a proper ground in your outlet, there is nowhere safe for that excess electricity to go.
With an adapter plug, you may forget this danger, but that doesn’t make the danger any less. Instead, the adapter can potentially melt, especially in the case of a house fire.
WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER REMOVE GROUNDING PLUGS
Some individuals may try to get around the issue of having a three-prong device and a two-prong outlet by removing the grounding plug on the device. However, this move is potentially more dangerous than using an adapter plug—though which is worse is debatable.
Electrical devices with a ground prong need the safety that this prong offers. If the device is unable to dump excess electricity, not only is an electrical fire danger present, but the electrical excess can destroy the device. Say, if you remove the grounding plug from a computer cable, you can easily fry the electronics you are trying to use.
IDEAL THREE-PRONG OUTLET UPGRADES
So, now that you have a good idea of why you should upgrade your two-prong outlets, the question is—what kind of three-prong outlet should you choose as your upgrade? While there are many options, there are three options that are a good replacement for your average two-prong outlet.
- Standard three-prong outlet – A straightforward upgrade you can make it just having standard three-prong outlets replace your old two-prong outlets.
- GFCI outlet – In rooms where humidity is expected—bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens—having a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet can protect you from electrical surges, as the outlet will act as a mini breaker and shut off the electrical current to the outlet if there is a surge.
- USB outlet – To maximize your available outlet space, you can opt for USB outlets, which come with USB ports as well as three-prong outlets to allow you to charge up all your electrical devices.
HAVE HEDGEHOG ELECTRIC INSTALL NEW OUTLETS
When it comes to upgrading from two-prong outlets to three-prong outlets, it may be time to call in your professional residential electricians to do the job. Converting two-prong outlets into three-prong outlets is not as simple as swapping outlets.
Instead, some re-wiring is often required, as older outlets are not set up for the grounding wire that comes with a three-prong outlet.
To have your outlets professionally upgraded, feel free to contact HedgeHog Electric. Our experienced, licensed electricians are ready to help make your home safer, one job at a time.