How Your Home’s Grounding Can Interfere With WiFi And Internet
We’ve gotten quite a few calls from confused homeowners in the Philadelphia area. They’ve been having trouble with their WiFi or internet connection, and Verizon or Comcast said the problem has to do with their home’s electrical grounding.
If you’ve gotten this message from them or another internet service provider (or ISP), we’re here to help!
It’s a frustrating problem. After all, the internet and WiFi at home aren’t just for entertainment. We rely on it for working at home and for our kids to do their homework and research assignments (okay, and we enjoy streaming TV and movies, too).
That means you need your internet up and running consistently. And, apparently, your internet provider won’t always help with that.
Meanwhile, most people don’t know much about their home’s grounding system, let alone how that part of their electrical service affects their internet.
With all that in mind, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about grounding and how it can affect your internet service — including how to get it taken care of right away.
This article starts with the basics of your grounding system and why it’s there. Then, we get into how this problem arises and what steps you need to take.
If you’re in a rush, we’ll let you know right now that you’ll most likely need to call an electrician.
Not only does this problem absolutely require a professional. A grounding issue is also a serious risk that can cause other electrical problems, including a house fire.
When you’re ready, call us at Your Home Solutions. We’re here 24/7. Our number is (215) 768-8102, and when you call, a live electrician will pick up and answer all your questions. If it’s an emergency, we’ll send someone out right away, no matter what time of the day or night.
Let’s start with the basics: Your home’s electrical system must be grounded to get rid of excess electricity. It provides a path for those extra electrons to discharge safely into the ground. A metal rod connects to your home’s wiring and then sticks in the ground, providing a safe exit for electricity.
Without it, the current in the house is too strong for the panel and wiring. When that happens, wires can physically heat up and cause a fire behind the walls. It can also fry your electronics by sending them too much power.
Another issue is that strong current jumping from the wires to your pipes. If that happens, you’ll get (hopefully mild) tingles and electric shocks from plumbing fixtures like faucets or spigots.
Turn off your power and call an emergency electrician immediately if that’s happening.
Now, just about all homes today are grounded. They should be, anyway. But, some old homes are not. That’s especially the case if you still have knob-and-tube wiring. It’s rare but still around, especially in lower Montgomery County and Northwest Philadelphia houses over a century old.
Do Internet Cables Need To Be Grounded?
The broadband, or internet, cables leading directly into your home don’t always need to be grounded. They’re connected to longer lines from the provider, which are grounded. But, grounding or shielding the wires coming into your home can provide some benefits.
Grounding And Broadband Network Noise
Broadband network noise is, essentially, any interference along your internet connection. It jams or weakens the signal coming from your ISP. That results in slow internet or outages.
Think of it almost as static on a radio or old antenna TV because you’re not getting a clear signal.
In the case of grounding, we’re thinking about unwanted electrical currents entering the line and causing the noise.
This issue can stem from the internet connection itself. If the noise comes from the long line connecting you to your service provider, it should be on them to fix it.
But, if the problem exists on the shorter wire connecting your home’s modem to their service, then it’s your responsibility. Replacing old, worn cables or upgrading to shielded cables that are better insulated often solves this problem.
It’s also on you to address the issue if your home’s electrical system produces the noise. That’s the issue we’re focussing on here.
Signs Your Home’s Grounding Is Affecting Your Internet Or WiFi
Abnormal current or excess electricity can lead to noise impeding on your broadband or cable connection. If your home’s electrical system is not grounded properly. Simply put, too much electricity comes through the wiring, and it can (and will) jump to other fixtures in your home to keep moving.
It’s like how we mentioned getting electrical shocks from plumbing fixtures if your grounding is bad. The current jumps to another medium that can conduct it. In that case, the mediums are your metal pipes and the water inside them.
In the same way, it’s also possible (and more common than you may realize) for the current to begin traveling through your internet wires. The current results in “noise” in the wiring that affects your internet speed and connectivity.
Other Signs Of Grounding Issues
One of the most severe (and hazardous) signs of a home grounding issue is the one we’ve stressed here: Electric shocks from plumbing fixtures. But other signs are:
- Humming from TVs, stereos, or radios
- GFI outlets keep tripping
- Circuit breakers keep tripping
- Horizontal lines appearing on TV and computer screens
What To Do About A Grounding Problem At Home
Call an electrician immediately if you suspect a grounding problem at home. It’s not a DIY fix in any way. You’re dealing with a powerful electrical current. Even touching the wrong thing for a second could result in a fatal electric shock.
If you’re noticing severe problems like circuit breakers constantly tripping and getting electric shocks from appliances or faucets, turn off your power from the breaker and call a professional right away.
At that point, a weak WiFi signal is the least of your worries. The dangerously strong current in your home can injure you or start a fire at any time.
Electrician In Elkins Park, PA And Surrounding Areas
You can call us at Your Home Solutions for an electrician in Elkins Park, PA and other nearby MontCo and Philadelphia neighborhoods any time of the day or night. Our number is (215) 768-8102, and we’re on call 24/7. A licensed electrician always picks up and answers any questions. If it’s an emergency, we’ll send someone out immediately, no matter the hour. Our goal is to keep you and your family safe.