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Why earthing matters

A working earth connection is essential to guarantee something as valuable as the safety of people, since its installation prevents the electricity flow from an electrical device to whoever is using it. And although this is the main factor, it isn't the only one.

Earthing connections, also called ground or grounding connections, link the plug of each electrical appliance with the ground, so that if any kind of electricity is discharged, or if there is a discharge derived from the atmosphere such as lightning, the harmful energy flows towards the ground and is diverted, so that it doesn't come into contact with people.

Therefore, earthing connections protect people from electric shocks, but they are also decisive for taking care of installations and circuits. They also optimise the quality of electrical signals and reduce electromagnetic noise. These are sufficient benefits to consider them essential, don't you think?

"They protect us from discharges, take care of facilities and optimise the quality of signals."

The key is their conductivity

Earth connections are more conductive than the human body. This means that in the event of an electric shock, for example caused by a frayed or damaged cable, it is easier for the electrical current to travel from the socket to earth via cables. But in the absence of an earthing installation, the possibility of an accident causing physical damage would be high.

In fact, do you know what happens to a body if it receives an electric shock? At moderate intensities, there is muscle stiffness and respiratory failure, but at higher intensities there is a very high risk of electrocution, cardiac arrest and serious burns. Faced with these types of risks, it is clear that caution is the best solution.

 

Identifying the earth wire in the cable is easy

They are easily distinguishable as they are green and yellow. This colour code is established by the wiring standard to facilitate the identification of each type of wire. For example, the blue wires correspond to the neutral conductor and the phase wire is usually brown, black or grey.

Earth wires are connected to tiny metal pins on the sides of sockets in modern installations. Both cables usually end in a rod, usually copper or steel, buried at the base of the building.

In reality, earthing is everywhere, present in almost every major facility in a building. For example, plumbing installations, boilers, gas, heating, lifting devices, electrical sockets, TV and FM antennas, wall reinforcement, concrete supports and even lightning rods.

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"They have two cables in green and yellow and are connected to sockets in modern facilities."

The parts they are comprised of

An earth connection installation comprises a series of elements, with which we are not usually familiar, but which, even without knowing it, are present in our daily lives. Check them out:

  • Ground spike. The metal bar driven into the ground.
  • Electrode. Metal meshes or rings that are not insulated.
  • Connecting line. This is the conductor that connects to each electrode.
  • Earthing terminals. They join the connecting line with the earth conductors.
  • Earth conductors. The installation points are joined to the connecting line.
  • Earth. It is essential to have the type of ground capable of diverting the harmful energy generated.

 

Can protection be increased?

Yes. The solution is to install a differential switch. In other words, it is an electromagnetic device which forms part of the home’s electrical panel and which reacts by cutting connections when it detects some kind of diversion of energy from the installation.

When the differential switch is activated in response to a discharge or leak, it is advisable to disconnect the electrical appliances and then plug them back in separately, in order to detect whether any of them is the source of the problem and needs to be repaired. 

"It is advisable to disconnect electrical appliances if there has been any electricity discharge."

Trust a licensed electrician

What happens if a building does not have an earthing installation?

Although it is currently a mandatory installation, as established by the Low Voltage Electro-technical Regulation (REBT), it may not exist in older homes that require refurbishment.

In these cases, it is advisable that certified professionals carry out a full inspection to repair the electrical circuit and the installation of sockets. Once the repair is completed, the authorised technician will certify it through the Electrical Bulletin.

It must be kept in mind that, although electrical appliances work perfectly, without earthing there is a real danger that is better avoided.

And anyway, who wants to take risks when they can enjoy their home with total peace of mind? 

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