2 Prong Outlet VS 3 Prong Outlet

Mar 08, 2021 | Residential Electric

Today’s outlets have 3 prongs and are designed to handle the electrical demand of the 2021 home. Older homes weren’t designed to power smart kitchen appliances, multiple computers, TVs, streaming devices and gaming consoles all at once! If your home has 2 prong outlets, it’s probably time to consider updating them.

What’s the difference between 2 prong outlets and 3 prong outlets?

All outlets have a “hot” slot (the right one) and a “neutral” slot (the left one). When you plug in an appliance, electricity flows from the hot slot, through your appliance, and back to the neutral slot.

Outlets are made to handle a certain amount of electricity. (Usually 120 volts). So, what happens if there is more electricity than what it can handle? That electricity has to go somewhere. If you have a 3 prong grounded outlet, that third slot is the “ground” slot. The ground slot sends the extra electricity into the ground. If you DON’T have that third slot, the extra power/watts can go to you or your home, resulting in injury or electrical fires.

You might be wondering why an outlet would suddenly get an extra burst of energy. The two most common causes are overloading the outlet with too many appliances and having a home that is not compatible with the energy demands of 2021.

Is it an “easy” fix to update my 2 prong outlets to 3 prong outlets?

For a licensed electrician, yes! But for the untrained DIY-er, it can mean damage to your home, appliances and yourself!

Most of the time, if a home has 2 prong outlets, it was built more than 25 years ago. This is a sign that we will need to rewire the home in order to ground the outlets. You might also have noticed flickering lights and buzzing in your walls. Even the occasional random power outage. Old homes’ wiring was not designed to power the appliances we have today, which demand much more electricity than appliances of the past. Rewiring a home involves attaching wiring to your outlets and running it all the way to the grounding screw at your panel. And that’s if your home is grounded!

The whole process can seem overwhelming at first, but it’s the only way to reduce your risk of electrical fires, ensure your family doesn’t get shocked, and save your expensive electronics from damage. (If you’re worried about the financial aspect, we offer a financing option so you can pay month-to-month!_

Can I just replace the 2 prong outlet with a 3 prong outlet? Or use one of those converters?

It seems like an easy work around, but it won’t be eliminating the risk of fire, damage, or shocks. Simply adding that third slot without the grounding wires still presents the same problem - the extra power doesn’t have anywhere to go. Plus, fitting an old 2 prong outlet hole with a new 3 prong outlet is a very delicate process. You need to be careful not to crack the old wiring and sometimes wires aren’t long enough for the new outlets. If you’re not trained in these procedures, you’re sure to get a few shocks along the way as well.

Bringing in a licensed electrician is the safest way to make these updates to your home. Give us a call and we can talk pricing and process! We are trained, licensed and insured. Plus, we offer a 6 month warranty on all of our work, so you can rest assured that you’re making the right choice for your home when you choose Mario Castillo Electric.


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