I just searched for and found this newsgroup because I need help understanding electricity as it applies to a standard, grounded outlet.
I purchased a decent digital test meter today at the store. I decided to test an outlet I have in the kitchen because it's already a grounded type with three prongs.
I inserted one lead into the hot side and one into the ground opening (the 3rd hole at the bottom), and the meter reads about 115ish. It sort of fluctuates as I move the leads around. The instructions on the tester say that it should read 120 V. Are there variations in the normal voltage of a standard 120 V outlet, and is this normal that it is only reading 115 not 120?
Since I am getting a reading at all, I am assuming that this means that the outlet is indeed grounded. Am I correct that if the outlet were not properly grounded, then the meter would not read anything at all? In other words, it would read 000?
I do believe that my house is grounded because I have found what I believe is the grounding rod near one of the front corners of my house right by the electrical panel. It's a copperish looking rod stuck in the ground and extending about 9-12 inches out of the ground. The cable TV cable is attached to it and it looks like a wire that comes from the electrical panel is also connected to it. Do you think I am correct, that this is most likely the grounding rod for my house? If so, generally, does this mean that all the fuses/outlets for the entire house are then grounded, regardless if they have a 3 prong outlet in them? In other words, is the electrical panel itself with all it's circuit breakers the thing that is grounded? Or is grounding specific to just one or two outlets or one circuit in the house?
This is long I know, and any help is apprecitated.