5

After doing some yard cleanup, I realized that my panel ground wire was severed.

I went to Home Depot and was told that they only carried a temporary solution (see attached photo) and that I should seek a code compliant connector. I also talked to an electrician and I was told that to be up to code that I cannot use a connector and that I must re-run a new ground.

Unfortunately our setup would require us to run the new ground with new ground rods in a new location because the current path of the ground is no longer accessible (it's under concrete).

Can I use a "compliant connector" or do I need to run a whole new ground wire?

enter image description here

7

Here is what the National Electrical Code says:

250.64 Grounding Electrode Conductor Installation. Grounding electrode conductors at the service, at each building or structure where supplied by a feeder(s) or branch circuit(s), or at a separately derived system shall be installed as specified in 250.64(A) through (F).

(C) Continuous. Except as provided in 250.30(A)(5) and (A)(6), 250.30(B)(1), and 250.68(C), grounding electrode conductor(s) shall be installed in one continuous length without a splice or joint. If necessary, splices or connections shall be made as permitted in (1) through (4):

(1) Splicing of the wire-type grounding electrode conductor shall be permitted only by irreversible compression-type connectors listed as grounding and bonding equipment or by the exothermic welding process.

So, the compression connector you have used there is not a listed irreversible compression connector. If it was it would be perfectly legal according to the NEC.

So, the electrician you talked to was not well informed. The Code allows the grounding electrode conductor splicing if it is done correctly.

Good luck!

  • 7
    That screw on connector he is using doesn't look very irreversible. I think he needs a compression fitting similar to this which is crimped on permanently with a special crimping tool. – Johnny May 18 '16 at 12:14
  • Is "exothermic welding process" a fancy term for "soldering"? – brhans May 18 '16 at 12:25
  • The product used must not just be listed, it must be an irreversible compression-type connector, listed as grounding and bonding equipment. That's KDER in the UL white book – Tester101 May 18 '16 at 12:27
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    @brhans Not exactly. Exothermic welding. Here's a YouTube video showing an exothermic weld being done. – Tester101 May 18 '16 at 12:32
  • @brhans Soldering thick conductors like earth wires reliably is not as simple as it might look, and the joint is probably not weather-proof. Compression joints might look rather crude, but when made with the proper tool the parts are effectively cold welded together, and the only way to separate the joint is to destroy it completely. – alephzero May 18 '16 at 15:33
2

Pictured is not a legal splice. Legal crimps are expensive mainly due to the cost of the crimp tool - if you can find someone to loan you a tool, that might make all the difference in the world, but I wouldn't get my hopes up. And the other permitted methods are rather difficult to pull off (for us mortals).

In practical terms, most people I know simply run a new ground wire the entire length.

And since you're doing all that, it's a good time to make sure your grounding point is a legal one.

Oh. Speaking of that... here's a crazy way to do that. It is legal to have more than one grounding rod/point. They all must be tied to each other. So if you stuck a new grounding rod Right There (assuming that's legal)... and clamped both wires to the new rod using proper methods, then your run from panel to (new) ground rod would be continuous, and the run from the (new) ground to the old would be continuous. Voila.

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The easiest thing to do is to go to Home Depot and buy a grounding rod. They're about 6 foot long or so. Buy the grounding rod nut: it's an oval shaped brass nut with a bolt or screw in it. Then drive the grounding rod into the ground very close to the grounding wire with 3 inches of rod protruding from the ground, and then use the grounding rod nut and insert the grounding wire into the side without the screw/bolt. Then tighten the screw/bolt tight as you can get it.

This is a permanent, legal fix. Also that grounding rod will be tough to drive into the ground.

  • Ground Rods must be at least 8' (not 6') and the easiest method to drive them is to use a Ground Rod adapter with a 1/2" hammer drill. – Tyson May 18 '16 at 15:03
  • @Tyson, thus the "or so" part. I haven't done electrical work in a while. But one NEVER forgets hammering a grounding rod into the ground with a manual t-post driver. 😂😂 – BadgerTrucking May 18 '16 at 15:12
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    @BadgerTrucking - if you're going to recommend a "legal fix", you should be sure that what you're suggesting is a legal fix. – Johnny May 18 '16 at 15:31
  • @Johnny There's nothing in the NEC about driving a second grounding rod into the ground and securing the remaining length of grounding wire to it. If there is, please cite where exactly it says it's not allowable. In fact, I have seen 2 grounding rods driven into the ground and both of them are connected by the grounding wire... And it had been inspected and approved. I have also seen what I suggested inspected and approved. – BadgerTrucking May 19 '16 at 1:19
  • In fairness I think I see where @BadgerTrucking is going... It is legal to splice a ground wire at ground rods... Obviously. He is saying put a ground rod there, to get the side-effect of using it as a splice point. Also welcome to Diy.SE! – Harper - Reinstate Monica May 19 '16 at 23:09

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