Ground Rod Rant

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  #1  
Old 01-05-07, 11:04 AM
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Ground Rod Rant

Pardon me while I vent.
Why don't the ground rod manufacturers make 9 foot rods????
I'm not an inspector, but I tend to notice things electrical when I visit homes. In virtually every instance, the rod is sticking up above ground by at least 6 inches. Yet NEC mandates that the rod must be IN THE GROUND the full 8 feet.
Let's be honest. Which installation would you prefer to tackle - driving the rod leaving 6 inches above ground? or digging a 12" deep hole (maybe through concrete) then drive the rod down below grade and try to make decent connections in a hole?
Do inspectors understand the situation and just ignore the 8 foot rule?
I should think a savvy manufacturer could come out with a 9 foot rod and market it as the only rod that meets code.
Thanks for the vent time and space.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-05-07, 11:11 AM
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10 ' rods are available, though I've never used one.
 
  #3  
Old 01-05-07, 11:14 AM
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No offense but I feel the idea of a 9' rod is silly. Just drive the thing the last 6".

I do agree, why do folks leave that 6" sicking out?????
 

Last edited by twelvepole; 01-06-07 at 07:27 AM. Reason: Nonprogressive language edited
  #4  
Old 01-05-07, 12:21 PM
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Not once has an inspoector said anything to me about it sticking up a little ...
 
  #5  
Old 01-05-07, 01:10 PM
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The code says the top of the rod is to be flush or recessed unless protected from physical damage. Would't matter how long it is, it needs to be driven flush.

Cutting slots in concrete to get a GEC out of harms way and boring holes in a slab so the rod can be driven down to soil (with a roto-hammer if you do this for a living) is part of the job and should be figured into the cost of the job just like wire. conduit, and fittings.
 
  #6  
Old 01-05-07, 01:38 PM
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Smile

Your right unclebill. However, it is also true that, "The upper end of the electrode shall be flush with or below ground level unless the aboveground end and the grounding electrode conductor attachment are protected against physical damage as specified in 250.10." (REF. 2005 NEC 250.53.(G).

You still need a minimum of 8' in the ground, so in order to have a stub you would need to install a rod of greater than 8' length.
 
  #7  
Old 01-05-07, 01:41 PM
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I just recently installed two 8' ground rods for a 200A upgrade. A single #4 bare copper wire connects to both of them then goes to the meter and main.
I left them about 6" above the ground and connected the wires. After they were inspected I drove them about 6" under and buried them along with the wire that goes between them.
 
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Old 01-05-07, 04:00 PM
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Wouldn't the connection eventually corrode if it were underground?
 
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Old 01-05-07, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jetmx View Post
I just recently installed two 8' ground rods for a 200A upgrade. A single #4 bare copper wire connects to both of them then goes to the meter and main.
I left them about 6" above the ground and connected the wires. After they were inspected I drove them about 6" under and buried them along with the wire that goes between them.
Really? Maybe I was born last night. If you did, Good for you. I shall learn from this.

(Use direct burial connections)

Thank you.
 
  #10  
Old 01-05-07, 05:09 PM
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code comliant...maybe

Alot of electricians (around here anyway) have the bad habit of digging the ditch nd then thrwoing the ground rod in after (as in before they cover it up) Don't ask me how the inspectors pass it...not my jurisdiction...I drive the ground rod (partially) while the ditch is dug and then I only have to drive it four feet. Then drive it another six inches after grade...FWIW
 
  #11  
Old 01-05-07, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by lectriclee View Post
Really? Maybe I was born last night. If you did, Good for you. I shall learn from this.

(Use direct burial connections)

Thank you.
Not sure if I understand your point lectriclee. Is what I have done right? I did it the way the electrician wanted me to do it while he was installing the meter box and cutoff.
 
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Old 01-06-07, 04:56 AM
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Alot of electricians (around here anyway) have the bad habit of digging the ditch nd then thrwoing the ground rod in after (as in before they cover it up) Don't ask me how the inspectors pass it...not my jurisdiction..
====================

250.53 (G) says this is ok if the ditch is 30 inches deep.
 
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Old 01-06-07, 06:06 AM
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"Alot of electricians (around here anyway) have the bad habit of digging the ditch nd then thrwoing the ground rod in after (as in before they cover it up) Don't ask me how the inspectors pass it..."

It passes because of Jwhites code quote.

WHY is this a "bad" practice???
 
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Old 01-06-07, 06:39 AM
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JETMX,
You did the right thing. Alot of guys' wouldn't/don't go back and complete it.
 
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Old 01-06-07, 07:24 AM
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I'm aware of the "unless protected from physical damage" blurb and elected to ignore it as it relates to the OPs gripe. ANYBODY here think providing the protection would be less work 99% of the time than driving the rod flush? Didn't think so.

Copper is one of the few elements found in "almost" pure form in nature and isn't subject to the corrosion that destroys most metals buried in soil in MOST circumstances. A copper plated rod and a brass clamp will outlast the building in all likelihood
 
  #16  
Old 01-06-07, 07:46 AM
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Wink

Pull in the horns uncle. IMHO it looked to me like the OP was looking for a way to leave a stub and not have to drill out concrete,etc. Just trying to let people know there are alternatives.

Without a doubt your method is the most widely used.
 
  #17  
Old 01-06-07, 09:44 AM
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Understood. And figured a pro would know that - and the ways around the issue in the first place. Horns were never out, just frustration at the direction some of these threads take.
 
  #18  
Old 01-06-07, 10:06 AM
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The inspectors who I have had dealings with, would not pass a 6 inch stub left sticking up from the ground rod. And, having driven a few, the last foot or so is normally easier to drive than the first bit, as the rod no longer flexes each time I hit it with the hammer.

Electrical conductivity aside, IHMO any part of the rod sticking out of the ground is a hazard. Children playing could be impailed by the thing, adults could trip over it, or the lawn mower could strike it.

I usually drive it flush, and the inspector will kick the grass around till he sees the acorn.
 
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Old 01-06-07, 10:22 AM
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My hammer drill drives them quite nicely, and doesn't destroy the end.
 
  #20  
Old 01-06-07, 10:37 AM
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You know it!!
 
  #21  
Old 01-06-07, 12:04 PM
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Howdy All,

I am not sure why the last 6" are not driven in the question originally posted, We use many methods from a Hammer Drill to a Post Driver and last but hopefully LEAST a Sledge Hammer...

The rod should be driven all the way, if you wish for it to be observed by the local AHJ then driving it down and digging out around it is the best call here, leave the dirt and cover it up when inspection is over.

I don't see the need for a 9' ground rod, now if we are looking at the fact someone could drive a 9' down and CUT OFF the remaining 1'...just dont like the idea of anything being CUT OFF.......it then begs to question IF the person actually drove the original rod down 8' to begin with.

My suggestion for the industry as I am an AHJ as well ( part-time now days when needed ) is to come up with a color embeded marking system within the rod...however there are ways around that as well....

in the end.....the 8' are fine....just need to drive it as intended and our hammer drills do a nice job getting it down below surface....also we clean around it to ensure no dirt gets into the end of the hammer drill anyway.
 
  #22  
Old 01-08-07, 07:52 AM
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Ground rod etiquette

I'm not a residential electrician but I have industrial electrical training through an industrial electrical apprenticeship. Residential and Industrial electrical wiring practices seem to follow different rules. I have heard that in this area the ground rods are not to be 'driven' into the ground by a hammer and the top end can show no evidence of being struck by one. I've heard that the top of the rod is painted to help the inspector determine if the rod was driven by a hammer. It seems the common method around here is to use water and an up and down plunging motion that sinks the rod down by hand. Another key point used around here is that the rod must be burried out from under the house soffits / eves where the soil is damp from rain (better ground). Are these good ideas or am I just all wet?
 
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