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We recently did a service panel upgrade, added a breaker that goes to the subpanel in the garage, installed two ground rods, connected the ground rod to a cold water pipe, bonded the cold-hot-gas pipes at the water heater.

Is there a way for me to test that this is all done correctly...i.e. there's a continuous path to the grounding rods.

Do I use a multimeter and test for continuity? Do I measure potential? If I were to do the above, at what points would I do it in the path/circuit?

How do I test that the subpanel in the garage is grounded correctly?

  • You can do a quick sanity check using the continuity function on your multimeter but unless there is an egregious error it should test fine. Do you have a specific concern? Did you do this work yourself? – Hank Jun 21 '16 at 16:37
  • A family friend helped me. He's been an electrician for a long time. However, he's not licensed. Also, I just like to know how everything works. :) So I need to see for myself that the work was done correctly. I actually bonded the water heater cold-hot-gas pipes under his supervision. – milesmeow Jun 21 '16 at 17:06
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A continuity test should be sufficient to determine that the grounding wires are connected. Edit- To check for continuity with a multimeter, turn the dial to the a symbol that looks like, ►|. Make sure the probes are in the correct places. Some multimeters have three sockets for two probe wires... if that's the kind of multimeter that you have you need to put one probe in the socket marked ohms (Ω). Then attach or touch the probes to whatever you are checking (for continuity) to find out if they are connected. Some multimeter models make a ringing noise, while other models just display a quick burst of numbers which settle down to zero when the meter senses that the probes are connected (electrically).

But beyond that you should check out the article, how to achieve grounding in poor soil. I'm not suggesting that you have poor soil, but this article illustrates how to check it (with a ground resistance testing instrument) and how to treat poor soil if necessary, and points out some other info about grounding.

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  • I have a multimeter...can I use that? Just trying to save money. – milesmeow Jun 21 '16 at 17:05
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    Note that this grounding electrode test procedure only tests that the rod itself has proper conductivity... it is not a test of the entire grounding system. – Hank Jun 21 '16 at 18:23
  • @milesmeow You can use the multimeter to check continuity, but basically for testing the ground, you are measuring the resistance, so theoretically yes (but i think, practically, no). For example the three point, fall-of-potential test (claimed to be the most accurate test) applies voltage to a probe and measures the difference between a "potential" probe and the ground stake being tested. These meters are designed to ignore harmonics from other sources by using square waves and such. You might get some help from an electrical engineer if you wanted to build something... I don't know. – Ben Welborn Jun 21 '16 at 18:24

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