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There are several types of grounding electrodes found in homes.  At least one of these methods should be present in any home regardless of age, and newer homes usually require multiple methods—-redundant methods.  The very newest of homes will likely have only one means of grounding.

I know this seems confusing, but ground requirements have evolved over time accounting for all the various methods that will be found in homes of all ages.

Historically, the original method of achieving grounding was the water pipe coming from the street.  The next method to be employed was a single ground rod.  After this requirement, two rods driven 6 feet apart became the norm.  Now a third method called a “Ufer Ground” is required in many jurisdictions.  With this grounding method the entire rebar system of the concrete foundation is utilized.  This method is far superior to all of the other methods, or even combination of methods, in ensuring an effective ground.

One might ask, “Why so many different systems?”  Well the main reason is that a lot of houses no longer have metal water pipes coming from the street.  This leaves the ground-rod method as the only means of grounding and it is considered a notoriously poor means of grounding, so enter Mr. Ufer. While this method of grounding has been known since the 40′s, its employment as the primary means of grounding residential electrical systems has only recently been required in most jurisdictions.

What type of grounding system does my home have ?  Call our office for an appointment to have a licensed electrician inspect your grounding system.

​Grounding Systems For Your Home

The importance of electric grounding

Grounding of your home electrical wiring system adds a safety factor for your family. A grounded system routes excess electricity back to the panel, even if there’s an electrical malfunction. This prevents electrical shocks to people and prevents damage to home electronics.

How can you tell if your electrical system is grounded? Homes built before 1950 were sometimes grounded. Homes built after 1950 were usually grounded. If you call our office, we will be happy to give you a Free Home Electrical Safety Inspection to determine if your home is grounded.

Electrical Grounding

An electrical grounding conductor, is an non energized safety wire, that is ran along side the hot wires in a common jacket, or conduit.  It's sole purpose, is to provide protection to a person, or appliance that the wiring has been damaged, and shorted *(hot wires touching metal in an appliance, or contacting other hot wires) This works by providing a pathway back to the electrical panel, where the circuit breaker will trip, and disconnect power. 

If you look around your house, what you will find is that just about every appliance with a metal case has a three-prong outlet. This may also include some things, like your computer, that have a metal-encased power supply inside even if the device itself comes in a plastic case. The idea behind grounding is to protect the people who use metal-encased appliances from electric shock. The casing is connected directly to the ground prong.

Let's say that a wire comes loose inside an ungrounded metal case, and the loose wire touches the metal case. If the loose wire is hot, then the metal case is now hot, and anyone who touches it will get a potentially fatal shock. With the case grounded, the electricity from the hot wire flows straight to ground, and this trips the fuse in the fuse box. Now the appliance won't work, but it won't kill you either.What happens if you cut off the ground prong or use a cheater plug so you can plug a three-prong appliance into a two-prong outlet? Nothing really -- the appliance will still operate. What you have done, however, is disable an important safety feature that protects you from electric shock if a wire comes loose