How to Install a Ground Rod

A ground wire attached to a grounding rod sunk into the dirt.
  • 3-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 350-500
What You'll Need
8 Ft ground rod
Grounding electrode conductor
Copper ground rod
Wire strippers

Installing a ground rod will redirect current from any electrical circuit you may have into the ground where it's installed. This is vital for any home to prevent a small short circuit from turning into an electrical fire. In the event your electrical systems malfunction, the grounding rod will dissipate all the released current away from your house and into the ground. Here's how you can install one yourself.

Step 1 - Install the Ground Rod Vertically

Check out some grounding rods on Amazon.

To save yourself from having to dig a deep hole to install the rod in, you can opt to use water instead. Start by digging a small hole where you plan to place the pole, and add water into it. This will make the ground softer and easier to work with, so you can simply stick the ground rod in and start pushing your way down, an inch or two at a time. You shouldn’t have any problem with this unless you encounter a rock. If you do, hammer the rod in at an angle that does not exceed 45 degrees. For ground rods installed vertically, you need to drive them at least eight feet into the ground.

Step 2 - Install the Ground Rod Horizontally

If you hit a rock trench before you can hammer the rod down all eight feet, then you can simply install it horizontally. Shovel out a strip of the earth at least 2 1/2 feet deep and long enough to accommodate the entire grounding rod (at least 8 feet). After clamping the grounding electrode conductor (in Step 3) to the ground rod, bury it in the hole, allowing the wire to creep out before you shovel dirt back into place.

Step 3 - Connect the Wire

There are specific clamps that are used to connect grounding electrode conductors to grounding rods. Put the end of the conductor and the end of the rod inside of the clamp and turn the screw on the clamp to press them together securely.

Step 4 - Grounding the Electrical Circuit

Now that you are done driving the grounding rod into the dirt or burying it, it’s time for you to connect it to the electrical circuit that you want to ground. Switch your circuit breaker off and give it a few minutes to ensure you are in no danger of an electric shock. Then, you only need to connect the grounding electrode conductor to the breaker box and you're finished.

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