As seen in most recent “Home Schooled,” a common issue found during the home inspection process is when an outlet and/or wire has an “open ground.” In simple terms, when a wire is not properly “ground,” it is a safety issue that can compromise the integrity of your electrical system.

As demonstrated by Alex Borges of Borges Electric, fixing an “open ground” on a three-prong outlet is quite simple and can be accomplished in a matter of minutes. First, you want to make sure the breaker to the outlet you will be repairing has been turned off. Then, you want to plug in an outlet tester, a device which can be purchased at most home improvement stores. On the outlet tester, it will reveal whether the outlet is properly ground or whether there is an “open ground.” If an “open ground” is found, you want to connect the bare wire found behind the outlet, known as the “ground wire,” to the outlet by hooking it onto it. Once that is done, the outlet tester will show the outlet has been repaired. Just like that, your “open ground” issue has been rectified.

Repairing an “open ground” in a two prong outlet, which are usually found in older homes, is a little different. While the initial steps are the same, i.e. turning off the breaker and utilizing the outlet tester, two prong outlets usually are wired with BX and also have a metal box. The wire has a thick metal jacket that actually serves as the ground. If the metal jacket on the wire is properly clamped, you just need to take copper wire and hook it onto the ground screw in the metal box, thereby “grounding” the outlet and repairing the “open ground.” From there, you can convert your outlet from two prongs to three prongs if you desire.

Most people are reluctant about repairing any part of their electrical system.  Therefore, if you do not feel comfortable undertaking the type of repair discussed above, we recommend you contact a licensed electrician. However, as evidenced in our video, repairing an “open ground” can be accomplished quite easily, thereby allowing you to save some money should such an issue arise.

Next week, please be sure to tune in to the next Tip at Ten in the next version of “Home Schooled.” Also, please continue to check this blog periodically for vital information about the home inspection process.