ground rod inquiry

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  #1  
Old 06-29-14, 11:54 AM
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ground rod inquiry

I'm wondering what the deal is with this electrical grounding rod stuck in alongside to my house (a couple of pictures shown below). It's been like this since before I got the place but I've just left it like this but now I'm thinking about doing something if possible to at least improve the way it looks, bent over like that and looking kinda crappy. Wonder why it was left like that, seemingly too long and now bent over like that. Could I maybe move that clamp down closer to the ground and cut off that excess rod? I'm not particularly savvy about the purpose of these ground rods in the first place or the typical proper way they should be installed/located. Any comments/advice appreciated.



 
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Old 06-29-14, 12:20 PM
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Sadly the real solution is to straighten it up and drive it into the ground below grade. Someone just did a bad job and left it hoping the inspector was at lunch.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 12:23 PM
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The ground wire terminated at the rod, where does it come from. It's too small to be the service ground.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 12:27 PM
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The ground wire terminated at the rod, where does it come from. It's too small to be the service ground.
I guess I could crawl under the house and follow that ground wire to see where it goes. Too small for service ground eh?
 
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Old 06-29-14, 12:43 PM
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The ground rod is located there below the electrical service for the residence, and on the inside wall just above it is the circuit breaker box. I therefore assume it is the service ground despite the comment that it is too small, but of course without checking down there and tracing that ground wire I'm not certain.

The ground has big rocks down there below grade so I'm also assuming whoever drove the rod into the ground hit a rock and couldn't drive it any deeper. So should I try to yank it up out of the ground and straighten it and then try to drive it down below grade? Then just reconnect the clamp/wire a little below grade so it isn't exposed? How deep are they supposed to be driven in anyway?
 
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Old 06-29-14, 01:10 PM
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That close to the house they probably hit the footing. I would think about cutting that rod off below grade (you can't use it), then drive a new one about 8" or so away from the house to the full length of the new rod. Put the nut on the rod before you start pounding on it. A fence setting tool is always nice for the first 5 feet or so of the rod. I doubt you will do any good getting that one out of the ground.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 01:13 PM
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The rod is supposed to be flush or below grade.
 
  #8  
Old 06-29-14, 01:19 PM
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The rod is supposed to be flush or below grade.
And from what I understand the length of the rod (per code typically) needs to be 8 feet?
 
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Old 06-29-14, 01:29 PM
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That close to the house they probably hit the footing. I would think about cutting that rod off below grade (you can't use it), then drive a new one about 8" or so away from the house to the full length of the new rod. Put the nut on the rod before you start pounding on it.
Actually this house doesn't have a standard concrete foundation with footings but is supported with helical pier anchor screws and beams (thus the painted plywood skirting seen there in those pictures). I would guess when they tried driving down the rod they hit a large boulder (the below grade ground has a lot of them) or the rocky backfilled soil down deep was just too hard for them to drive it any deeper. Guess I could get another new rod as suggested and see if I can pound it down to the proper depth maybe with the help of a fence setting tool or other means to succeed through the hard rocky ground and see how that works out.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 01:30 PM
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You received great advice. Time to hire an electrician now, you will need him to terminate the grounding electrode conductor in your panel or the meter socket if your utility company allows that. He will likely have no trouble driving the new rod.

Where practical its driven below grade but if the clamp/connection is properly protected it can be exposed. In fact, in my area its normal for the acorn clamp to be exposed on the services with about 6-10" of the electrode exposed.

If your electrician has trouble driving the new rod, he will have to drive it at an angle (per code) or trench it.

While the electrican is there, make sure to have him check the rest of your grounding system.... the ground rod is just supplemental.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 01:41 PM
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Time to hire an electrician now, you will need him to terminate the grounding electrode conductor in your panel or the meter socket if your utility company allows that.
Bigboypete, I'm unclear about your comment quoted above. What is the reason for having the electrician do as you mention? Is this something he does just temporarily between when the old ground rod is disconnected and the new one is connected?
 
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Old 06-29-14, 01:50 PM
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Bigboypete, I'm unclear about your comment quoted above. What is the reason for having the electrician do as you mention? Is this something he does just temporarily between when the old ground rod is disconnected and the new one is connected?
If your driving a new rod, your going to need a new properly sized conductor.

A electrician is not going to mess around with that old wire, tracing where it goes, assuring its properly sized, protected and not in the same dilapidated shape as that electrode.

Just make sure before you hire someone that its indeed your supplemental service ground and not an old rod for a radio antenna or something.
 

Last edited by pcboss; 06-30-14 at 01:26 PM.
  #13  
Old 06-29-14, 01:59 PM
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If your driving a new rod, your going to need a new properly sized conductor. A electrician is not going to dick around with that old wire, tracing where it goes, assuring its properly sized, protected and not in the same dilapidated shape as that electrode. Just make sure before you hire someone that its indeed your supplemental service ground and not an old rod for a radio antenna or something.
I see, thanks. So for one thing sure, that conductor is too small if this is indeed my service ground?
I will at least go ahead before hiring someone and do as you say, crawl under there and trace it back best I can and try to determine for sure that is being used as the service ground.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 02:20 PM
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The ground wire terminated at the rod, where does it come from. It's too small to be the service ground.
I crawled under the house there and traced the ground wire; it goes up into through the floor and into the electrical panel inside the house so although it's apparently too small it is indeed being utilized as the service ground conductor.
 
  #15  
Old 06-29-14, 05:11 PM
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The conductor to the rod only needs to be #6.

The rod should have 8 foot in contact with the soil. You cannot have 8 foot in the soil with the top sticking out.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 04:25 AM
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The conductor to the rod only needs to be #6.
In some cases, it can also be #8 if protected in conduit, properly bonded if metallic.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 07:57 AM
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In some cases, it can also be #8 if protected in conduit, properly bonded if metallic.
Proper bonding of a metallic conduit protecting a GEC is important, that's why metallic conduit is so rarely used in that application. Proper bonding would involve bonding the metallic conduit at both ends. It's a lot easier and cheaper to just use a #6 GEC and forget the conduit.
 
  #18  
Old 06-30-14, 07:59 AM
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#8 will work if it's protected where it's exposed.
#6 is better and can be bare.

I wouldn't hire an electrician and I'd just lower the ground clamp and cut it. If you want to go by code, buy a new 8' rod move it a foot out or wherever you think is best and use the hammer setting on a corded drill.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 08:57 AM
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I wouldn't hire an electrician and I'd just lower the ground clamp and cut it. If you want to go by code, buy a new 8' rod move it a foot out or wherever you think is best and use the hammer setting on a corded drill.
Yeah you might try the hacksaw method but the GEC doesn't appear to be properly sized. A new conductor will need to be installed in panel or the meter can. Terminating that wire is not within the scope of "Do It Yerselfer"....

Also if it to be done correctly, then the OP will have to contact the POCO or the AHJ to find out if they require two ground rods at least 6' apart. They will also have to own and know how to use properly calibrated test equipment to measure the resistance.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 09:00 AM
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If two rods are driven there is no requirement to prove the resistance.
 
  #21  
Old 06-30-14, 10:47 AM
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A new conductor will need to be installed in panel or the meter can. Terminating that wire is not within the scope of "Do It Yerselfer"....
Why couldn't a DIYer terminate the GEC, in your opinion?

They will also have to own and know how to use properly calibrated test equipment to measure the resistance.
Very few small contractors own that equipment because of the cost. In areas where resistance must be proven, they normally install 2 ground rods where proof is not required, per statement by PCboss.
 
  #22  
Old 06-30-14, 11:06 AM
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I took a look and see on the jacket of the GEC it says size #8. The electrical service is 100A.
 
  #23  
Old 06-30-14, 11:17 AM
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I took a look and see on the jacket of the GEC it says size #8. The electrical service is 100A.
#8 is what I thought it looked like. As has been already stated, the #8 would have to be protected in conduit to be acceptable. The easiest thing to do is to replace it with #6 solid or stranded. I prefer #6 bare 7 strand secured to the outside of the house with Jiffy 105C 1-hole straps made of copper plated steel.

105C Minerallac Fastening Systems 1/4'' O.D. Copper Tubing One-Hole Strap Jiffy Clip | Jiffy Fastening Systems
 
  #24  
Old 06-30-14, 11:36 AM
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the #8 would have to be protected in conduit to be acceptable.
The wire is of this type: THHN 8 AWG BLACK (19XBC) BARE COPPER 100' Not acceptable? That jacket isn't considered adequate protection?
 
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Old 06-30-14, 12:00 PM
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CasualJoe wrote: Why couldn't a DIYer terminate the GEC, in your opinion?
Do I really have to answer that Joe? I think you can figure out why.
 

Last edited by bigboypete; 06-30-14 at 12:32 PM.
  #26  
Old 06-30-14, 01:27 PM
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The insulation is not protection for the conductor.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 01:37 PM
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The insulation is not protection for the conductor.
Then I'm confused about the what would be the purpose of using conduit otherwise (if not for protection of the conductor) when using #8 size.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 01:54 PM
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Then I'm confused about the what would be the purpose of using conduit otherwise (if not for protection of the conductor) when using #8 size.
Conduit would provide physical protection of the wire, insulation wouldn't.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 01:57 PM
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Conduit would provide physical protection of the wire, insulation wouldn't.
So I gather that #6 size needs no physical protection whereas #8 does, for this application?
 
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Old 06-30-14, 02:02 PM
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Do I really have to answer that Joe? I think you can figure out why.
I just wondered why you would say something like that. DIYers install new circuits and change circuit breakers every day, I don't see why a DIYer couldn't install a new GEC. I would suggest, however, that the DIYer be sure there is a proper ground to the water service before disconnecting the existing GEC to the ground rod. Now, if we were discussing upgrading a complete service it would be a different story altogether.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 02:11 PM
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So I gather that #6 size needs no physical protection whereas #8 does, for this application?
Yes, that's why it is just easier to use the #6.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 02:58 PM
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I would suggest, however, that the DIYer be sure there is a proper ground to the water service before disconnecting the existing GEC to the ground rod.
Yeah that's something I really don't have the knowledge enough about and probably wouldn't be able to check/determine myself and so would feel better about just having a qualified electrician handle.
 
  #33  
Old 06-30-14, 03:25 PM
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I decided to check with the local electrical inspector about the issue. He said, for one thing, that ground rods are required to be driven flush with, or below, the ground. He further commented "a #8 copper grounding electrode conductor would be sized properly if the service entrance conductors were 1/0 aluminum or #2 copper. We generally see #6 copper used in conjunction with ground rods." Although I forgot to ask him specifically, he made no mention, after seeing my pictures, of any necessity to use conduit with #6 size conductor.

Well I have no idea whether the service entrance conductors are 1/0 aluminum or #2 copper.

He further stated "What usually happens is that rock is hit and the electrode canít be driven any further. As you suspect this is probably what occurred in your case. You could try adding an electrode and driving it at an angle and bonding it to the original that you will cut off flush with the ground. If you do so it must be at least six feet from the other ground rod and you will need to connect the two with a bonding jumper to the original electrode. To do it properly you will need a listed clamp on the original electrode that will accept two grounding electrode conductors".

Thanks for all the helpful responses here, and any further comments appreciated.
 
  #34  
Old 06-30-14, 06:04 PM
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It would be easier to just add a second acorn clamp to the original rod for the bond jumper to the new rod. I have never seen a rod clamp for two conductors.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 06:34 PM
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He further commented "a #8 copper grounding electrode conductor would be sized properly if the service entrance conductors were 1/0 aluminum or #2 copper.
Actually, the NEC says 1/0 or smaller aluminum OR #2 or smaller copper.

pcboss

It would be easier to just add a second acorn clamp to the original rod for the bond jumper to the new rod. I have never seen a rod clamp for two conductors.
Agree! The GEC must be continuous between the panel's neutral bus and the first ground rod, but as far as I know it does not have to be continuous to the second rod.

I would suggest, however, that the DIYer be sure there is a proper ground to the water service before disconnecting the existing GEC to the ground rod.
Yeah that's something I really don't have the knowledge enough about and probably wouldn't be able to check/determine myself and so would feel better about just having a qualified electrician handle.
The water service ground is easier than the ground rod. I'd use either #6 copper or #4 aluminum from the panel's neutral bus to the metallic water service within 5 feet of the entry to the house. If there is a meter or PRV valve at that location, the ground must be jumpered around them by adding a water pipe clamp on both sides. Use one continuous length of wire from the panel to both water pipe clamps. I would do this before replacing the GEC outside.
 
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