How to Ground Yourself Electrically

Ground wire system

Working with electricity requires precision and safety measures to be observed with diligence. Grounding is a great way to ensure safety for yourself and to protect your equipment. But what does grounded mean in electricity? Electrical grounding is the process of creating a backup route for current to flow to the ground should a fault in the wiring system occur. You may also be wondering how to ground yourself electrically.

If you are working with electronics, grounding yourself will remove excess voltage from an object to protect against shock. Touching a grounded object such as a wall or a wooden table before unplugging the power supply will ensure that you are electrically grounded. Our team will further explore the importance of grounding and definitively answer what does grounded mean in electricity and more below!

How Does Electrical Grounding Work?

In an electrical circuit, there are three vital wires that are tasked with carrying the current safely. The active wire supplies the power, the neutral wire carries the current back to the ground, and the grounding wire facilitates an alternative route if the neutral wire shorts out. This measure acts as a safety net to prevent hazards or damage to equipment.

If the wiring system uses metal-coated electric cables, the metal will usually serve as the ground conductor for safety. If the wires are coated in plastic, an additional wire will be added to the circuit to facilitate grounding. Electricity always seeks the shortest path back to the earth. Normally, the neutral wire serves as that pathway. However, if a problem prevents that, a nearby person or appliance could become the shortest route. Electrical grounding adds another route for the current to take, preventing a person or appliance from being harmed or damaged.

Why Is Electrical Grounding Important?

As we have discussed above, electrical grounding is an important safety precaution. There are a number of advantages to electrical grounding that can protect you and your surroundings. Benefits of electrical grounding include:

  • Protection against power surges: Electrical overloads from power surges and extreme weather conditions like lightning strikes can produce dangerous levels of electricity. Grounding allows the excess electricity to flow freely to the earth without damage.
  • Stable voltage levels: Grounding allows for a stable level of power to be sent throughout a circuit. This can help to ensure that circuits are not overloaded and subsequently blown.
  • The earth is the ideal conductor: The earth facilitates the release of electrical energy free from resistance.
  • Prevent damage and injury: Power overloads to non-grounded appliances will fry the system and can even cause fires. Anyone near a circuit that is overloaded is at risk for potentially becoming a conductor. Grounding prevents these serious hazards from occurring.

Some additional steps you can take to ground yourself include:

  • Use a grounding mat. A grounding mat is a large, flat mat that is made of conductive material. It is designed to dissipate static electricity and provide a safe path for electricity to flow in the event of a short circuit.
  • Use a grounding strap. A grounding strap is a small, elastic band that has a conductive wire attached to it. The wire is connected to a grounding rod or other conductive object. The grounding strap is worn around the wrist and helps to dissipate static electricity.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing. Tight-fitting clothing can trap static electricity, so wearing loose-fitting clothing can help to reduce the risk of getting a shock.
  • Avoid synthetic fabrics. Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and nylon, can produce static electricity, so it’s best to wear natural fabrics, such as cotton and wool, when working with electronics.
  • Keep your skin clean and dry. Oil and sweat can increase the risk of static electricity, so it’s important to keep your skin clean and dry.

Turn to Gateway Cable Company for Guidance

If you are looking for specific guidance on how to ground yourself electrically, or you want to know more about what does grounded mean in electricity, contact Gateway Cable Company. Our expert team can answer all of your questions and provide you with the equipment you need. From connectors, adaptors, cables, and more, we have the resources your project demands. Request a quote from us today!