Why Electrical Currents Need to be “Grounded”

by / Thursday, 04 January 2018 / Published in Electrical Safety

Anything to do with electricity or electrical systems can be super confusing. Well, that shouldn’t come as a surprise because it is, after all, a fairly complex field. Just hearing some of the terms used in connection with electricity or energy can make you go “huh?!”.

In this blog, we are specifically going to discuss a term that you’re likely to have come across. It’s called grounding. So, what is grounding?

You see, in an electrical circuit, you mainly have two wires. One is the active wire and the other is the neutral wire. The former carries current and is responsible for supplying power to electrical components. The latter is responsible for carrying back the same current.

But, that’s not how the circuit works. You need a third wire called the grounding wire. This wire is normally attached to the electrical components that are being run with the help of the current passing through the active wire. The grounding wire is then sent to the ground from the point where you’ve fixed your breaker box.

The reason this is done is to ensure that the current returns to the ground after its sent back via the neutral wire.

But, why?

Well, it’s simple. Grounding prevents any sort of electrical shock, especially when you have a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse.

As for the term “grounding”, it literally refers to the connecting of the wire to the ground.

Here are a few more reasons why grounding is important.

Protection from an overload

An electrical overload is always a possibility and not something you want. You don’t want it because you don’t want any of your electrical devices and appliances getting damaged. For instance, if lighting were to strike your home, it could cause a surge a.k.a an overload.

An overload simply means that the voltage levels are much higher than normal, which, obviously, isn’t something standard electrical equipment and circuits can handle. However, with grounding, all the excess electricity is sent to the ground.

Directs the flow of electricity

If your electrical systems are grounded, it becomes easy for electricity to be sent to the right places. The currents travel through the electrical system without causing any trouble.

Voltage stability

Grounding also ensures that electricity is distributed in a balanced fashion. This, in turn, ensures that there are no instances of overloading and other issues. The grounding basically establishes the ground or earth as a neutralizer of sorts.