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Ungrounded Surge Protector

What is an “ungrounded surge protector?” When you hear this phrase, people want to know whether they can use a surge protector for their ungrounded outlets or receptacles. To answer this question, let’s first see what a surge protector is about and how it works. Then RG Electric will discuss surge protection for ungrounded outlets. 

What is a Surge Protector?

A surge protector is a small mechanism installed at the home’s main electrical panel designed to serve two purposes. 

The first is to allow homeowners to plug multiple devices and appliances into a single power outlet. The second and the most important feature is to protect your electronic devices like your computer or TV from a high-voltage power surge. 

A power spike happens when voltage exceeds the set level in the electricity flow. Without surge protection, electric items get damaged, and in the worst scenario, it can lead to an electrical fire and shock hazard.  

How a Surge Protector Works

Typical surge protectors contain a component called Metal Oxide Varistors (MOV) that diverts surges to the ground wire. Where does the surge go when there is no ground wire present? The surge can get redirected to the neutral line, raising its potential to damage sensitive equipment. Or, the energy may try to form its own path to the ground along the circuit, creating a fire hazard. 

It may imply that surge protectors only work with grounded outlets, but it isn’t quite so. 

Simply Less Effective 

Surge protection will work on a two-wire ungrounded outlet by preventing a voltage surge between the two conductors. But if the surge occurs due to lighting, the damage might be inevitable, as the path to the ground is not local, i.e., the ground connection might be quite a distance from where the actual surge protector is located, and lighting always seeks the shortest route to the ground. 

In a nutshell, surge protection on ungrounded outlets may work for power surges caused by switching operations upstream but be less effective if the surge occurs by lighting nearby, including common mode surges. 

Remember that ungrounded surge protectors won’t provide the protection you expect.  

Is There a Way to Protect Electronics With No Ground?

Grounding is an essential personal safety feature of a building. Proper grounding is a requirement by the NEC. However, electrical upgrades can be very costly, and they are not always possible if the rental property is involved or when you are experiencing budgetary strains. 

If you live in an older home built prior to the 1960s that doesn’t contain grounded receptacles, and you are only concerned about protecting your electronics, then upgrading the electrical system is not required when using Zero Surge products. 

Zero Surge Protector With Ungrounded Outlets 

Zero Surge is a reliable alternative for surge protection for ungrounded environments. With Zero Surges filter technology, surges are not sent to the ground line. So it will work even in the absence of the ground line. Zero Surges filter out powerful surges coming from the power line and convert the energy to a safe level. It’s also compatible with GFCI outlets that can be installed in this type of environment. Zero Surge protectors will repeatedly filter even worse-case surges with 6,000 volts/3,000 amps.  

How Safe Is It to Use it?

The ungrounded surge protector can handle short power disruptions that disappear quickly. It can protect your sensitive electronics. Yet, the best and safest solution is to protect your house with grounded surge protectors. This means that you have to upgrade your home’s wiring system to make it grounded. 

Need Installation? Call RG Electric

If you need to install whole house surge protectors, contact a Los Angeles electrician near you to do the job right to protect yourself and your family. We offer competitive prices for upgrading home wiring systems to grounding protection. 

If it isn’t possible, we will replace your two-prong ungrounded receptacles with GFCI outlets instead of rewiring the entire house. They can detect any type of ground fault by killing the power to the circuit where it occurs.

Expert Tips

Need electrical repair tips? RG Electric is an expert on electrical installations and repairs. We have collected valuable guides about safety, codes, and other related topics to boost your electrical system know-how.

Have an electrical emergency? Contact us now!

Whether you experience an emergency at home or in your place of work, trust our fast responses and solutions to fix it for you.
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