Electrical Ground Rod Installation

What You'll Need
Copper Ground Rods
14 AWG Wire (stripped)
A wire brush
A Spade
Torch of your choice for soldering purposes
Soldering iron of your choice

Before we go into how to go about electrical ground rod installation, let us first deal with the issue of why it is necessary in the first place. Ground rods have two main purposes: lightning protection – which is self-explanatory; and RF counterpoise – which involves “coupling” antennae into effective ground planes. This basically means that there is a grounding source for the antennae so that the charge can arc between conductors more easily. With that short lesson over, let’s get started.

Steps to Install Ground Rods:

When installing ground rods, always ensure that at least 8’ of the rod is in direct contact with the soil and that the rod is embedded a good distance below the permanent moisture level of the soil. Ground rods should be placed no less than 6’ away from each other and as closely placed as possible to the equipment or structure they are intended to protect. Also, be sure that all national electric codes are adhered to when installing ground rods or any other electrical circuits in and around your property.

Step 1 - Prepare Ground Rod

Prepare the ground rod so that it is able to accept the 14 AWG wire in the same way that you would prepare regular copper pipe for soldering. You can do this by using a wire brush to ensure that no grease, dirt or oxidation will cause shorts.

Step 2 - Connect Wire to Rod

Now wrap the stripped 14 AWG wire tightly around the copper ground rod. Try to get it as flush against the rod as if possible so that when you heat the rod later, it bonds very strongly at all points. Then heat the copper rod, rather than the wire and allow the wire to be heated by the rod. Don’t heat wires directly or instant oxidation will occur, making it much more difficult to solder. Leave the ground rod to cool off for about an hour.

Step 3 - Dig Holes

While it cools, use your spade to dig a small-sized bowl in the selected area of the ground where you intend to place your ground rod. Have your water handy at this point. Now take some water and pour it into the bowl, while plunging the copper rod into the wet dirt, at the pace of about 1” per plunge. 

Step 4 - Install Rods

Carry on plunging the ground rod into the hole and when the protruding piece is short enough, tap it with the hammer until it has reached the depth you desire.

As you can see, ground rod installation is a very simple process when you have clear and easy instructions to follow.