Blog

What Is the Difference Between Two- and Three-Prong Outlets?

Three-prong electric outlets feature three holes, where the left slot is a tad larger than the right. The right opening is known as “hot” and the left is referred to as “neutral”, while the hole at the bottom is called “ground”. The neutral and ground slots are exactly the same. If you were to look at the breaker box, you would find that the ground and neutral wires from every single outlet both go to the same place. Electricity flows from the hot to neutral slot. When an appliance is plugged into the outlet, the circuit from the hot to neutral hole is complete and power is able to flow through the appliance. The purpose for the ground slot is to protect people who are plugging in an appliance encased in metal, from sustaining an electric shock. The ground prong is connected straight to the casing.  Even with devices such as computers that have a plastic case with a metal-encased power supply inside of it, they also utilize the ground slot to keep users from harm. Another safety concern is burns. A dangerous situation can arise if a wire were to become loose from within an ungrounded metal case. If the wire is hot, it can heat the metal and potentially fatally shock or burn anyone who touches it. However when the case is grounded, this problem will not occur. Electricity runs from the hot wire directly to the ground, and will trip the breaker so the power is not being misdirected.

The biggest difference between two- and three-prong electric outlets is that the two-prong does not have the grounding feature. The omission of a ground slot means that two-prong outlets have a higher chance to give an electric shock. Beyond the lack of a safety component, there are really no large dissimilarities between the two types of outlets. An appliance that utilizes a three-prong outlet will be able to operate when plugged into one with two-prongs. This is possible when someone uses a cheater plug or cuts off the ground prong to make it fit. This is a highly dangerous practice though and is ill-advised as this bypasses a critical safety element. Now the user has created the opportunity to be shocked or burned by disabling the effect of the ground slot.

If you are interested in increasing the protective capabilities of your electric outlets, you can have them upgraded. Switching from two-prong to three-prong outlets will eliminate any worries of members of your household being harmed. Contact a professional electrician as they will be able to execute this task for you.

At Rose Brothers & Sons Electric, we perform a wide array of electrical services from residential to industrial and commercial. We take the time to fix the cause of any issue so it is permanently resolved. We value our customers and listen to their needs, which is why we have a Better Business Bureau A+ rating and outstanding reviews on Angie’s List. We are located in Walton, KY and provide service to Northern KY and Cincinnati. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Top
Top