ground rod question


Under the box where the power goes into my house (the main breaker box is right inside), a cable comes down to a ground rod. There are two rods. I pulled one out, and it was about 4 feet long. The other wasn't being used, I have not pulled it out yet. The ground cable goes through a clamp attached to the rod, and around a corner about 2-3 feet away, where it goes into the ground. I don't know where the cable goes from here, but I'm guessing it is attached to the main water pipe because that is where my water inlet is.
Question: I need to move the rod about 3 feet away from where it is right now. Is there any reason I can't do this? Does the rod have to be a certain distance from the house or breakerbox? After moving it, it would be about 5 feet from the breaker box - 2 feet from box to outside of house, and another 3 feet down the wall along outside of house.
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"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in message

You can move it. The 5/8"ground rod must be at least 8' long. The previous installer may have hit a rock and decided it was easier to cut. A 40 pound jack hammer or a rotary hammer with a ground rod driver bit will facilitate the installation. You cannot splice or cut the existing wire that you surmised is going to the water pipe. You will need to run a new continuous wire from the main panel. I suggest a #4 for a 200 amp service and #6 for a 100 amp service though #6 would be acceptable for both..
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The wire is long enough, I'm just moving the point where it connects to the ground rod. It runs along the ground, and it's easy to move the rod and reconnect.
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"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in message

Actually, the clamp was loose and it was just sitting there. When I get done, it will actually be grounded again :-P
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On Sat, 30 Dec 2006 15:42:50 -0800, "Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote:

Just be careful disconnecting these things with the power on. When you disconnect the last one you become the ground electrode. The more the better as for electrodes, connect them all together. Also be sure the phone company (probably who drove that 4' rod) is still connected to your main ground electrode system.
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It runs along the ground, and it's easy to move the rod and

Just curious, what did you use to remove the rods?
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I used a pair of pliers to turn it a turn or two to loosen one of them - the other was already loose - and then just used my hands to pull them out. They came right out. It's been raining almost non-stop for a few months now, and the ground is quite wet. One of them was 6 feet long, the other was 4 feet long.
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Ok, maybe that's why 2 rods are required by NEC.
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Two EIGHT foot rods are required because that is what it take to get a minimally adequate ground. 4 or 6 rods are even better.
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Ook,
You probably need to throw the 4 ft.rod away and install an 8 ft rod. This rod should be located the appropriate distance away from the "water pipe" ground ( 8ft? check local code). Remember that you can not cut a ground cable, so if the cable won't reach to connect the new rod with the old water pipe and the box then you'll need to dig up the water pipe connection and replace the cable.
Dave M.
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Here in Ontario, Canada we are required to sink two 10 ground rods with the tops 1 foot below the finished soil level. Those 10 footers take a lot to get into our heavy hard-pan clay soils.

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Ahh...How interesting. I have no idea why they did what they did. The person I bought the house from was a local builder, but he was not an electrician. How about here where the soil is wet most of the time due to frequent rain, and even in the summer the ground water level is less then 10 feet? I didn't know it had to be a certain distance from the water pipe. Time to check local codes. If local codes allow shorter rods, would you still recommend the longer rods?

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Local codes cannot be less than the NEC. You'll need 2 EIGHT foot rods. 5/8" diameter. The water pipe doesn't really play into it, unless you local code requires it to be bonded also. If so, it will be done with a second #6 wire from the box.
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Steve Barker LT wrote:

Huh? Are you saying the NEC has the force of law even if contradicted by specific legislation?
You'll need 2 EIGHT foot rods.

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Steve Barker LT wrote:

While I'll agree that local codes are _usually_ more stringent than NEC, some jurisdictions don't necessarily adopt the entire NEC. They can delete as much as they want, or add tougher requirements if they want. Some areas don't adopt the NEC at all nor have any local codes.

While I'll agree that that is good practice, the NEC does not necessarily require it. (2002)NEC Section 250.56 states: "A single electrode consisting of a rod,pipe,or plate that does not have a resistance to ground of 25 ohms or less shall be augmented by one additional electrode...."(and so on). Then the argument goes on about not having a ground tester, blah blah, blah. Different areas have different soil resistivities. Some areas will only require one ground rod, while in other areas two still aren't enough. The usual way to resolve the dilemma is to call the AHJ (electrical inspector) for the area. They are familiar with the soil conditions in their jurisdiction and can give one a definite answer as to how many ground rods are required for an area.
Again, while a 5/8" rod is better, provides more contact area, and is sturdier when driven, 1/2" rods are permitted.

The water pipe most certainly DOES "play into it." An underground (for10 feet or more) metal water pipe not only is a much better ground than a ground rod, it _must_ be used, per NEC, if available. It must also be supplemented by a ground rod in the event that some clown comes along and replaces it with plastic.
If the interior water pipes are metal, it is very critical that they be bonded to the electric grounding system. If not, a severe shock hazard may become evident, should the pipes be accidently energized by a faulty circuit or equipment.
If so, it will be done with a second #6

I'm not sure how you can come to that conclusion without knowing the size of the electric service. For a dwelling, 150 amp to 200 amp services require a #4. 125 amp and below can use a #6. IMHO, since a #6 has to be protected, per NEC, it's just easier to run #4 for all services 200 amps and below.
Also, the usual way to achieve what the OP wants is to drive a ground rod as close as practical to the electric service, and also, as someone else mentioned, at least 6 feet away from the underground water pipe, if indeed it is metal, because it is an electrode also. Then run a bare #4 from the panel to the ground rod, slip an acorn nut over the wire without splice and continue running the wire in a trench to the water pipe. Then work back to the panel, i.e. make the connection to the water pipe, connect the acorn nut to the ground rod, then make the panel connection. As someone else said, de-energize the panel before doing any work.
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