How do I know if I have a grounding rod?

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Old 04-02-12, 03:16 PM
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How do I know if I have a grounding rod?

I own an old house and the while I can see the electrical panel a lot of the electrical is inaccessible and there is no ground rod in sight? I have used a tester on my receptacles and it shows that they are grounded. Could this just mean that I have ground wires running to my panel but it's still possible that the panel is not attached to a ground rod?
 
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Old 04-02-12, 03:56 PM
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The first step is to locate the Service dis-connect which is usually in the enclosure that contains either fuses or circuit-breakers , but it's possible the Service dis-connect could be in it's own separate enclosure , either indoor or outdoor.

You need to look inside the enclosure for a bare , separate copper Grounding Conductor that terminates on the same terminal block where the "Neutral" Service Conductor from the meter terminates- the "Neutral " could be a bare conductor or a White conductor and enters the enclosure with the Service Conductors that connect to the terminals of the Service Dis-connect .

Wher you identify this bare Grounding Conductor you can trace it to either the point where the underground water-service enters the stucture , or to outdoor Ground-rods.
 
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Old 04-02-12, 08:32 PM
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The ground to tested for at the receptacles and the ground rod has nothing to do with each other, other then they are connected to the same buss as the neutral. (Also called the grounded conductor) The ground rod is there for high voltage events such as lightning.
 
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Old 04-02-12, 08:40 PM
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there is no ground rod in sight?
If you have a ground rod, typically it would be in the vicinity of the meter socket. Look for a bare #6 copper wire either from inside the house or from the meter socket that travels down the wall and possibly disappears into the earth. There is also a good possibility you don't have a ground rod and your service is grounded to the nearest cold water pipe. Today you need two grounds, but you said this is an older house; it used to be that the electrician had the option of either a cold water pipe or a ground rod. If you can't find a ground rod, I'd bet you have a water pipe ground clamp not terribly far from the panel.
 
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