Saturday, while roto-tilling a neglected area next to our house, I
accidentally severed the ground wire coming from the house to the
metal pole that's sunk down into the ground. There's more wire
running from the first pole to a second. That wire is intact, but
that's meaningless since the first section is severed. I went to
Lowe's and picked up one of the clamps shown in the lower right of
My initial thought was that I could put the two ends of the broken
cable through this and clamp them together. The hole was too big so I
flipped the lower piece to form a nested V shape and clamped the cable
together between the Vs. The two cables touch where they overlap, and
(one assumes) are also electrically connected by the clamp itself. So
I *think* the house is back to being grounded.
Eventually I'll get an electrician out to see if I can get some more
slack in that cable - I want to put a deck in that area and I can't do
it with a ground wire stretched from the house to the pole, suspended
a few inches above the ground as it is currently.
Do any of you electrical experts see this as a problem that needs to
be addressed more expertly and immediately? Anyone think it's
something I can handle myself?
This is not all that difficult. In your photo, the split bolt - which
is the thing that looks like a horseshoe with a nut around it (center
of photo). You need one of them intended for the thickness of the
wire you have. Then buy several feet of that same guage (thickness)
wire. Enough so you can run it from the broken off piece at the
house, to the ground rod. Loosen the clamp on the ground rod, remov
the broken piece, and insert your new wire. Use that splitbolt to
connect the new wire to the broken off piece coming out of the house.
Overlap the wires by several inches and tighten securely. If you dont
want that wire on an angle above the ground, just use more wire so you
can press it tight against the house.
BETTER YET, run your new wire into the hole in the house where the
present wire exits, and use the splitbolt INDOORS where the wires meet
near your foundation. You will get a better connection indoors since
there wont be corrosion in later years.
You could also replace the whole wire from the ground rod to your
breaker box, but I'd just do the splice inside the basement. (caulk
around the new wire where it enters the house).
Do this SOON. Right now you are NOT protected against lightning
strikes and other electrical failures. Do not wait. Spring is
notorious for lightning.
I wonder how much damage your tiller got????
PS. If you dont know the gauge of the wire, take a piece to a
reputable hardware store and tell them how many feet you need. GET
ENOUGH, you need to overlap it, and may want to bury some of it, etc.
Then tell him you want a SPLITBOLT (actual name of them), to fit that
gauge of wire.
You need to reestablish the grounding connection ASAP. The best way to
do that is to run a new Grounding Electrode Conductor (GEC) between the
bonded neutral buss bar in the service equipment enclosure and that
first rod. For a temporary fix you can use a splice block that is
suitable for direct burial. Those are about two to three inches long
for size six conductor so it may make up for the missing length.
You are being given bad information about the prohibition on spicing.
Only the GEC itself may not be spliced. The GEC is run to the nearest
electrode of the grounding electrode system. In your case that is the
first rod. From that first electrode additional bonding conductors
sized for the electrodes they will connect can be run to other
electrodes. A GEC conductor must be large enough for the largest
required GEC for the electrodes it serves.
code calls for ONE continious piece from main panel to all ground
I would just install a new main ground system, you cant pull the old
ground rods, splicing isnt code approved, and the existing rods are
likely mushroomed on the top from being driven in years ago. way
easier to start over.
a friend has this exact trouble were removing planters and widening
his driveway, he wants to pull the old rods and reuse the copper
lines, he is certifiably insane:(
I was not aware of the code on this, but a split bolt connection
indoors surely wont hurt anything. Just another assenine law that
serves no purpose. A tight clamp is surely a good ground connection.
This sure beats being without grounds till an electrician comes. I'd
just replace the whole thing, but the OP did not sound like he was
willing to do this himself, even though it's really not dangerous as
long as he keeps hands away from the hot stuff in the panel. But if he
dont want to get an electrician right now, at least do this splice.
The split bolt and wire will only cost around $10. Thats much cheaper
than having lightning fry the computers, tvs, microwave and whatever
Why replace the rods? If they are 30 years old or more, I could see
that, but the OP did not state the age of them. They might only be a
few years old. If they are copper clad, they last a very long time.
One other thing, ground rods CAN be pulled out easily with the right
equipment. I can pull them easily with my tractor loader. I've done
it several times. I also pulled one indoors using a handyjack under
the clamp with a tight vice grips above the clamp. Part of the trick
is to soak the soil first. The indoor one I pulled had been in the
ground for 6 years, outside my barn. I built an addition onto the
barn and that rod ended up inside and was a thing to always trip on.
I pulled it and moved it back outdoors next to the addition. Now that
I think about it, I have the wire going to it spliced inside the barn
with a splitbolt. I suppose the electrical inspectors will come and
lock me in prison for code violations, even though I have a solid
connection to ground which has been proven several times when lighning
zapped my electric fences.
On Apr 2, 10:45 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I don't know how old the originals are. The house is 57 years old but
there is an addition that's far newer and the ground and power go to
the addition, so it's likely that new ground rods were installed the
same time they changed the electrical service.
Thanks for all the replies folks. This has been helpful. I'll
probably call around for quotes on running a new groundwire. Anyone
care to predict what kind of prices we're looking at?
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