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Currently I do not have ground in my house wiring. I am planing to install ground wiring but the floor around the main service panel is cemented and I don't think I can place a ground rod in the floor. There is an iron rod sticking horizontally out of the wall behind where my main service panel is(main service panel is in the garage). There is a wire wrapped around that rod, which seems to be made out of steel, going into the ground. I think it was installed when the house was built (1968). can I connect the ground wire to that rod?

  • The wire that's wrapped around the rod, where does it go from there? – Tester101 Aug 9 '13 at 12:44
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    Typically the grounded (neutral) conductor of the service is grounded to the ground, and the main service panel is bonded to the ground as well. Because of this, the grounded (neutral) and grounding conductors are both the same (but only at the grounded/grounding bus bar, and only in the main service panel). If the service is properly grounded, and the main panel is properly bonded, you should be able to simply install a grounding bus in the main panel. Then branch circuit grounding conductors can be connected to this bus. – Tester101 Aug 9 '13 at 12:45
  • @Tester101: Unless I'm misunderstanding you, you're saying that the grounding rod can be shared between the ground and the neutral, as long as the connection is done between the grounding rod and the main panel? This seems in contrast to maple_shift's answer... who is correct? Or are you talking about different things? – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Aug 9 '13 at 17:19
  • @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft At the main service entrance (in a USA, residential, split phase system), the grounded (neutral) conductor is grounded to the ground through the grounding system. This means that at that one specific point, the grounded (neutral) conductor and the grounding (earth) conductor are exactly the same. Maybe this image will help explain it. – Tester101 Aug 9 '13 at 19:43
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To meet current NEC codes you cannot have neutral and ground share the same grounding rod. Ground requires its own separate rod from each panel and sub-panel installed in the house.

The depth of the rod outside depends heavily on your area as factors like precipitation, soil composition and climate affect just how far the rod needs to be placed into the ground. Performing this work likely requires that you obtain a permit from your local municipality, meaning that you will need to have an inspection anyway. I would ask the inspector what he will be looking for in a ground rod.

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    I live in a town in a developing country. we don't have any inspectors and as far as I know there are no local laws or regulations. I do all the electrical work around the house myself as I don't trust the local electricians. I thought the neutral wire was bound to the ground wire in the main service panel? Is there a danger in using one grounding rod? – khiz Aug 9 '13 at 5:22
  • you can use that rod to ground the wire there is no problem – Dimensionless Aug 9 '13 at 5:40
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    @Akash That wire can be grounded but the point of electric codes is to ensure that there are no single point of failures in your electrical system. If the one rod corrodes then your equipment ground will offer you no safety from a faulty appliance. So yeah it will work and will be grounded but now you only have one point of failure if something happens to that rod. – maple_shaft Aug 9 '13 at 9:19
  • that is a long term concern – Dimensionless Aug 9 '13 at 11:28
  • Can you reference any code sections that support your statement? – Tester101 Aug 9 '13 at 19:44

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