How to Ground a House

How to ground a house

Grounding your house is an important electrical safety measure. It creates a physical connection between every electrical component in your home and the ground, providing a pathway for excess electrical current. A grounded house is less likely to experience severe electrical damage or cause injury. Let’s discuss home electrical systems and how to ground a house.

Understanding Grounding

Electricity wants to find ground. This is obvious in lightning. You can see the electricity move from the clouds to the ground by the easiest means, often a tree, rod, or pole, if one is available. 

Electrical grounding is the process of creating a safe and effective route for excess electricity to travel to the ground. In your home, this means providing a pathway for electricity to travel from an appliance to the ground via an electrical panel. 

Electrical grounding problems are more common in densely populated areas where the electricity demand is high and Los Angeles is no exception. 

While newer houses are typically grounded to meet the latest safety standards, sometimes they can be faulty. If you have an older home, it may not be grounded at all.

Signs Your House Needs Grounding

When it comes to home electrical safety, grounding should be a top priority. But it’s not always obvious if your house is properly grounded. 

Here are a few signs your home isn’t properly grounded:

  • You receive shocks when touching switches and receptacles
  • Most of your home’s outlets are two-prong rather than grounded three-prong receptacles (GFCIs)
  • A circuit tester’s indicator does not light up

Safety Precautions

Before you start any electrical inspection or DIY work on your house, always follow the appropriate safety measures: 

  • At the service panel, turn off the power to the circuit you are repairing
  • Wear suitable clothing, including rubber-soled boots
  • Remove any jewelry or metal, like belt buckles. Metal focuses electricity and can increase injury to body parts it touches.
  • Try not to work alone. A partner can be the most useful tool in any repair. 

DIY Grounding Tips

There’s no cause for panic if your home is ungrounded but, you should seriously consider grounding it to improve your safety. Grounding a house properly is best left to an experienced electrician. If you have some electrical experience and you’re comfortable troubleshooting it yourself, here are two DIY electrical grounding methods.

The first and simplest way to ground your home is to connect the electrical panel ground wire to a cold water pipe. Don’t ground a hot-water pipe because it doesn’t lead to the earth, just the water heater. Connecting a ground wire to a cold-water pipe is effective because municipal water pipes are buried deep in the earth. 

To connect the ground wire to the cold water pipe:

  • Fasten the clamp to the pipe upstream of the water meter, or a pressure-reducing device; loosen the fastening bolts and wrap the clamp around the pipe.
  • Tighten the clamp and loosen the wire connection terminal screw, using a screwdriver; then insert the grounding wire before tightening the terminal.

If your main cold water line is plastic, it won’t ground electricity and you’ll have to move on to the second method — installing ground rods with these steps:

  1. Choose a location to install grounding rods. The rods should be relatively close to the electrical panel and not in the path of vehicles, lawnmowers, or other equipment. The rods are eight-foot-long copper-plated steel. Each has a top connector where the ground wire attaches. 
  2. Drive the rod into the ground with a grounding rod driver. Leave about two or three inches exposed above the ground. 
  3. The second and each subsequent rod must be installed at least eight feet from one another.
  4. Grounding plates are useful for rocky areas and other locations where driving a ground rod into the surface is too difficult. The metal plate is buried under a footing or foundation, or embedded within a concrete foundation.
  5. Secure the copper rod clamps via screws to the grounding rods.
  6. Loosen the wire terminals on the clamps and run the grounding wire in a series between the rods. 
  7. Tighten the terminals once the wire is in place.

When to Call a Professional Electrician

While you can DIY ground your home, it’s more complicated than just running wire. Grounding a home requires making precise measurements for placing grounding rods, running wire, and trenching the line. The copper wire must be properly secured to the walls and run about 10 to 20 feet from the house, then wrapped around the first rod about four inches from the end. The grounding wire must completely encircle the home and wrap around another grounding rod every 10 feet (it can be soldered or welded). In addition, the wire and electrical panel must be connected using a lightning arrester.

A properly grounded home can be the difference between enjoying the comforts of home and death by electrocution. Unfortunately, that isn’t an exaggeration. At Express Electrical Services, we know the importance of grounding homes. It is as important to the homeowner as it is to any tradesperson repairing electrical in your home. When you want to make sure the job is done right, call our experienced and friendly team. We offer after-hours emergency service, online booking, and a 5-star guarantee.

Benefits of Proper Grounding

A properly grounded home offers peace of mind knowing you and your family are safe. Grounding can impact your home insurance and personal liability if you know it isn’t grounded and an injury happens. Grounding inspections should also be part of your yearly home maintenance.

Contact Express Electrical Services

Grounding a house keeps you safe from excess electricity at all times. However, it can be complicated and potentially dangerous if you are not experienced. Our technicians know how to ground a house properly and provide a full range of electrical services in Southern California. Call (855) 220-1307 or use our online scheduling system to set up a consultation, assessment, and full grounding service.

Contact us for service in the Los Angeles area and other parts of Southern California.