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What is the Purpose of a Ground Rod?


What Is A Ground Rod?

A ground rod, also referred to as a grounding electrode, is a metal shaft that is typically installed by electrical professionals. It is used to ensure the safety of homeowners and their families, by creating a ground field. Simply said, a ground rod grounds electricity and prevents potential static discharge voltages, such as lightning, from endangering you during a storm. Ground rods are also used for grounding generators. We will go into more detail concerning how a ground rod works and why it is important for the safety of you and your family further into the article.

How Does A Grounding Rod Work And Why Is It Important?

In essence, the purpose of a grounding rod is to work as an electricity conductor, to steer danger away from your home by moving incoming electricity to the ground. If you have an electrical panel installed, the lightning during storms can be especially dangerous. A grounding rod has the ability to divert the lightning's static discharge from your roof and onto the ground in a safe manner.

Materials Used

Grounding rods can be made using different materials. It is important to consult an electric professional to make sure that you are installing the appropriate grounding rod for your home. Below are some materials that are used for grounding rods:

  • Stainless Steel: Grounding rods made using stainless steel are relatively expensive compared to other alternative materials. Stainless steel is known to be especially corrosion-resistant, making it the preferred option in, especially salty environments.

  • Galvanized Steel: Galvanized steel is made through the process of adding a zinc layer over steel in order to protect it from potential rust. Grounding rods made from galvanized steel are the less costly option when it comes to grounding rods; however, they are not as reliable as grounding rods that are made out of copper. External factors such as salt can cause the zinc layer to wear away, leaving them with a service life of about 15 years, compared to copper rods that have a service life of about 40 years.

What Does A Grounding Rod Do?

A ground rod is designed to stabilize voltages from the power source and to dissipate a static discharge (usually lightning) to earth. The earth ground conductor should never carry current under normal use, unless a ground fault, or lost neutral connection occurs.

AC current seeks a path back to its source (the generator supply from the utility) through transformers. CD static discharges (lightning) will seek a path back to earth or cloud where it began. When current finds its own path, or a path not intentionally made through a proper grounding system, it will pass through buildings and equipment and become destructive.

How To Install A Ground Rod

Image Installing A Grounding Rod

Ground rods are typically installed vertically into the ground, although they can also be installed horizontally depending on the situation. There are no precise specifications as to where exactly a ground rod should be installed; however, it is best that it is installed at least two feet away from a building structure to avoid causing any potential interferences, and also somewhat close to your electrical panel. You will also want to make sure that the ground rod is installed in a space that is accessible and easy to work in. The grounding electrode is then used to connect the rod to your home's electrical panel. Installing a ground rod can be tricky, especially because you can accidentally damage already existing electrical wires beneath your residential property ground. At Reliant Electric Inc you can count on our experts to help you install a ground rod in your home safely, quickly, and compliant with NFPA regulations.

How Deep Does A Ground Rod Need To Be?

According to regulations, a ground rod should be at least eight feet deep vertically into the ground. What this means is that one end of the ground rod should not be less than eight feet deep. An expert electrician can ensure that your ground rods are installed correctly.

Contact Reliant Electric Works Inc if you would like a ground rod installed. (802) 992-1742. We are available 24/7 and will get the job done right and on time.