I've been looking at how my house is grounded because I want to install an antenna outside for amateur radio. After poking around, I'm suspicious something isn't right. I think I'm probably going to have to call an electrician, but as a first step I was hoping to see if anyone has encountered anything like this before. Ok here we go:
- My meter is not connected to the house. It is attached to a post by the street approx 300 feet from the house. From there, the line that services my house is under ground and goes directly into my basement via PVC conduit (nothing is exposed above the ground near the house).
- Inside my basement at the panel, I can see a large gauge stranded copper wire that exits the panel and is clamped in two places on the copper water service pipe.
- On the same board that my panel is on, the phone service box & incoming cable tv line are grounded via a clamp to my electrical panel (keep in mind this is inside the house).
I cannot locate any ground rods outside of the house near where the electrical service enters the basement. It seems like everything is bonded together inside my basement. From googling, I believe that at one time grounding to water pipes was code, but I'm pretty sure ground rods are also required now. Our house was built in 2009 when the previous house that was here was torn down.
Up by the street where my meter is, there is a ground rod right next to the telephone pole, but I have no idea what is connected to it. I'm attaching some pictures that shows the situation. If my electric service was grounded way out there, would that be legit since the line feeding my house is under ground?
I'm wondering if I need to install a ground rod right outside my basement + tie that to my electrical panel. Then I would be able to put up my antenna and connect it to the ground rod. I'm weirded out that my cable and phone are grounded inside the house instead of outside. Grounding an antenna inside the house seems like a bad idea to me. Anyway, I'll probably be calling an electrician, but would love feedback from your great minds. Thanks!
I took the covers off my panels. My setup is a little more complicated than most because we have a generator with an automatic transfer switch. The electric service enters the generator panel. The generator panel feeds the main panel.
I am reasonably certain that I don't have a ufer ground. In the main panel there are two grounding wires:
- One coming from the generator panel
- One exiting the main panel and attaching to my water main
Inside the generator panel:
- I can see the ground that connects the generator to the main panel
- There is another ground that exits the generator panel through conduit that goes to a shutoff switch box on the OUTSIDE of my house.
Inside the outside switch box:
- The ground from the generator panel is connected with a nut to another ground.
- The connected ground goes into my generator via a conduit.
I can't see any visible indication around the generator that there is a wire exiting it into a ground rod. The only possibility would be if there is something penetrating the concrete slab the generator sits on.
It looks like it would be fairly simple to add a ground rod and either tie it into the ground that is in the outside switch box, OR do that + have it be a continuous wire that routes into the house and connects to the generator panel and main panel.
I'm going to call an electrician. It really seems like my house isn't properly grounded, but also looks pretty simple to fix. Any further advice is greatly appreciated!
Some additional pictures of the grounding:
I had an electrician come out and take a look. He thinks everything is ok, but I'm still not totally sure. My meter that is up at the street (~300 feet from my house) has ground rods, identified by a ground wire going into the ground by the meter. From there, 3 wires are run under ground to my main panel in the house (2 hots and a neutral). My house does not have separate ground rods. The main panel is bonded to my water main and that is bonded to the incoming neutral. All this passed inspection before I bought the house so it is probably ok, but I suspect the fact that two wires are doubled up on the large grounding lug on the panel are probably not ok (1 wire is my water bond, the other bonds the main panel to my generator panel). I want to add ground rods regardless because I need them for the antenna I want to put up. Not sure where that should connect. I'm hesitant to connect that to my ground/neutral bus because if the green screw that bonds ground to neutral were ever removed that might be bad. Wondering if my panel needs a ground bus that connects to the main grounding lug.
UPDATE: photo of the inside of the meter box up at the street (shows the neutral being bonded to ground -- note that my main panel is set up as a main panel (not a subpanel). The main panel has my cold water bond connected to the ground lug, which is bonded to the neutral. I think there may be an exception to allow two ground to neutral bonds since the meter box exclusively feeds the main panel, and the whole system in my house originates from the main panel.