How to Ground a House
Grounding your house is an important electrical safety measure. It means that there is a physical connection between every electrical component in your home and the ground, providing a pathway for excess electrical current. Heavy-duty appliances are grounded to prevent shocks and fires that can potentially cause catastrophic injuries and damage. Knowing how to ground a house is therefore paramount to your family’s safety.
Electrical grounding problems are more common in densely populated areas where the demand for electricity is high. Newer houses are typically grounded to meet the latest safety standards. But if you have an older home, it may not be grounded, and sometimes-newer grounding systems have issues. Ungrounded devices, outlets, and switches present serious safety hazards, as you can essentially become the ground connection.
Signs of Improper Grounding
Your home needs to be grounded if:
- There are two prong outlets instead of the standard three-prong design.
- A circuit tester’s indicator does not light up.
- You receive shocks when touching outlets.
Steps to Grounding a House
There’s no cause for panic if your home is ungrounded, but you should seriously consider grounding it to improve your safety. Grounding an entire home electrical system usually requires an experienced electrician. Nonetheless, the process typically goes as follows.
- A location is chosen to install grounding rods. These eight-foot-long copper plated steel rods are driven into the ground. Each has a top connector where the ground wire attaches. The rods should be relatively close to the electrical panel and not in the path of vehicles, lawnmowers, or other equipment.
- Drive the rod into the ground with a grounding rod driver, with about 2 or 3 inches exposed above the ground. The second and each subsequent rod must be installed at least 8 feet from one another.
- Grounding plates may be used in rocky areas and other locations where it’s difficult to drive a ground rod into the surface. The metal plate is buried under a footing or foundation. Another option is to embed a metal reinforcing rod into a concrete foundation and connect a ground wire to it.
- Copper rod clamps are secured via screws to the grounding rods. Next, the wire terminals on the clamps are loosened to run the grounding wire in a series between the rods. Once the wire is in place, the terminals are tightened.
- If the service panel ground wire leads to a cold-water pipe, you must firmly clamp the connection. 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 do so:
- 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.
Knowing how to ground a house requires making precise measurements for placing grounding rods, running wire, and trenching the line. The copper wire must be properly secured to walls and run about 10 to 20 feet from the house, then wrapped around the first rod about 4 inches from the end. The grounding wire must completely encircle the home and wrapped 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.
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 323-727-7799 or use our online scheduling system to set up a consultation, assessment, and full grounding service.
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