An isolated ground receptacle (IG) helps prevent electrical noise from interfering with the performance of electrical equipment. From hospitals to recording studios, there are many places where reducing interference may be beneficial or even necessary.
The tricky thing with IG circuits is that one little mistake at installation can undo the benefits you expect. At worst, you could wind up with stray electrical power running through your computer cables—a recipe for power loss, fried electronics, or even a fire.
A commercial electrician worth his salt can help you determine whether you should use an isolated ground receptacle, an isolation transformer, or some other means of achieving the static reduction and consistent performance that you want.
Ground Loops and Isolated Grounds
When multiple electronics are plugged into different outlets but also connected to each other, you get a ground loop where the stray electric power going to ground ends up looping back through all the wiring.
An example of a ground loop effect would be the humming noise you hear in your earbuds while plugged into a computer that is also connected to a modem. A computer or network server that needs to be rebooted for no apparent reason might also have interference from a ground loop.
In medical- or industrial-grade electrical wiring, an isolated ground receptacle can isolate the noise out of the equation. For residential use, you’re better off plugging your computer and peripherals into one power strip so that there’s only one grounding point involved.
Where Is an Isolated Ground Receptacle Required or Prohibited?
The National Electrical Code does not require an isolated ground receptacle in any particular place. However, an industry regulation or engineering plan might specify them. An example would be in healthcare facilities. An isolated ground receptacle should be used for medical diagnostics equipment, for example. A data center might need IG circuits for servers.
One place where you should not install an isolated ground receptacle would be in a hospital room immediately near a patient bed. Standard receptacles meet the code for electrical outlets in patient care areas.
Dedicated Circuit or Isolated Ground Receptacle?
Do you simply need a circuit that only serves one appliance in your home? You probably just want a dedicated circuit. Wiring will run from the breaker box to the outlet without serving any other outlets or light switches. You don’t have to worry about tripping the breaker when you run a large appliance on a dedicated circuit with enough amperage.
An IG receptacle, which is an orange electrical outlet, does not necessarily mean you have a dedicated circuit; it just means the grounding screw and other metal parts are separated from interference.
Install an Isolated Ground Receptacle in Sonoma County
If your building has power supply problems causing interference or needs an IG receptacle for a healthcare facility or other specific use, bring in a commercial electrician to ensure you get the right protection without the unintended drawbacks.
Spyrka Electric in Sebastopol can solve issues like strange humming and vibrating and install dedicated circuits or isolated ground receptacles in hospitals, diagnostics centers, home theater rooms, and more.