Ground wire is disconnected in the back yard. I’ve dug around about the length of the exposed wire, but for the life of me I cannot find the ground rod.

Any tips on how to locate it or should I just install a new one?

  • Are there any water pipes in the area? A metal water pipe was the most common form of grounding for ~80 years.
    – Ed Beal
    Nov 26, 2020 at 16:08
  • @EdBeal I'll have to look. The ground wire comes out just under the meter on the exterior of the home. Before purchasing, they put down new mulch and it looks like during that process it came detached.
    – pstatix
    Nov 26, 2020 at 16:10

1 Answer 1


A ground rod often has a steel core and may be locateable with a ferrous metal detector. It seems reasonable to search based on the length of the exposed wire. Is there evidence that the wire segment was connected to the rod - or might the wire have been broken "in the middle?" Depending on how the break occurred, if mid-span, the other piece of wire might have been displaced or even removed. Also, a ground rod can be completely buried under any depth of soil.

Depending on your soil the work of installing a new rod might be non-trivial but the new rod itself should cost less than US$15. Replacing the rod seems like an economical solution.

  • The main issue with replacing a rod is that they'll have to either get a compression tool in and compression splice a new "tail" onto the existing GEC (assuming it can't reach a location a rod can be driven at), or pull a replacement GEC, as you can't splice a GEC by reversible means (i.e. the only splices allowed are compression and exothermic weld) Nov 26, 2020 at 16:32
  • Just buy an 8ft rated rod, an acorn nut and drive it into the ground?
    – pstatix
    Nov 26, 2020 at 16:33
  • @ThreePhaseEel The ground wire (I am assuming thats the GEC) coming out from under the meter is about 3ft long, so it should reach a new ground rod.
    – pstatix
    Nov 26, 2020 at 16:35
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    @ThreePhaseEel Great point. Even if the existing rod and/or wire could be located the wire as-is may not be long enough to reach the existing rod. The complexity of splicing the GEC (pstatix: grounding electrode conductor, aka ground wire) is a good reason to drive a new rod within reach of the existing wire.
    – Greg Hill
    Nov 26, 2020 at 19:09
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    If replacing it, splice on (or pull new, depending where the wire runs to) long enough to drive at least 2 rods at least (more is fine) 6 feet apart (which is the code-approved minimum to avoid needing to measure ground resistance, which process costs more than simply running the two rods.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 25, 2021 at 21:12

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