Insulation on the ground wire?

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  #1  
Old 09-25-06, 07:42 PM
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Insulation on the ground wire?

Should the big #4 ground wire going from my service panel to the water pipe entrance be insulated? The reason I am asking is because the electrician installed just a bare solid wire. It runs 50ft. to the water entrance, and is in direct contact with the floor joists (basement ceiling).

My thinking is if there is ever a problem and this ground would be energized, is it a fire hazard?

I also want to finish the basement and would be placing insulation where that wire is (for noise dampening purposes).
 
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Old 09-25-06, 07:58 PM
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No It does not have to be insulated. # 8 and smaller does/and protected.
AS a GRound wire.
 
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Old 09-25-06, 08:09 PM
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OK, cool... but just so we're clear here-- I can put fiberglass batting where this wire is, and sheet rock it away?
 
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Old 09-26-06, 06:28 AM
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This is a proper installation by the electrican. You can go ahead and cover the wire (called a Grounding Electrode Conductor, GEC) with insulation and drywall.

Even under a ground-fault situation, the GEC would not carry much current. That's because the current will travel through the grounding system to the main panel, where it is bonded with the neutral. Given the choice between going back along the service neutral, or going to the grounding rods, water pipes, etc, most of the current goes back up the neutral, since it's a much lower impedence path.
 
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