Grounding And Why You Shouldn’t Do It Yourself

What is grounding?

Briefly said, grounding (or earthing) refers to connecting electrically with the Earth through a conductive path. Earthing is made by bonding metal parts which under normal operation do not carry voltage, but could in the case of a fault (like damage to the insulation of a conductor that comes in direct contact with the metal part of the washing machine, refrigerator, etc.).

Why do we need grounding?

Primarily ensuring the protection of people and other living beings against dangerous discharges. Electricity flows through complete circuits. If a wire’s insulation is damaged and that wire gets in contact with a metal part of an “ungrounded” appliance, then that metal part becomes part of an electrical circuit. If you touch it you are now part of the circuit. At this point, if you get in contact with a conductive element the electricity will start flowing through you and you are in serious danger. Secondly, grounding helps protect against surges or other atmospheric electrical discharges that could damage any equipment that relies on electricity to function. Connection to ground also limits the build-up of static electricity when handling flammable products or electrostatic-sensitive devices

How is grounding helping?

Grounding is, basically, a circuit between a potential electricity source and the Earth. Coming back to the “appliance” example, when the insulation of an electrical wire is damaged and the wire touches a metal part, grounding “kicks in” and “reroutes” the flow of electricity from the metal part to a source that is specially designed to break the circuit and stop the flow of electricity (a fuse, for example) or to the Earth itself.

According to the US National Electrical Code, grounding is needed to limit the voltage imposed by lightning, line surges, and contact with higher voltage lines

There are two major types of earthing installations

  1.  Direct grounding, when the electrodes are in direct contact with the ground and are represented by the foundation reinforcement rods or by the metal elements of a building’s installations.
  1. Artificial grounding, when electrodes are mounted with the sole purpose of directing electricity into the Earth. Usually, an artificial earth connection plugs into the direct grounding of a building.

Why You Should NOT setup grounding on your own!!

Many believe that grounding is simple. Just take a metal rod, stick it into the ground and connect it to the house’ electrical circuits or look for some schematics on the internet and DIY to save a few bucks. DON’T! JUST DON’T!Grounding is not “standardized”. Requirements for a 2-bedroom house are completely different from the requirements of a 5-bedroom house.

  • Grounding is not “standardized”. Requirements for a 2-bedroom house are completely different from the requirements of a 5-bedroom house.
  • Soil conditions can also affect the grounding’s performance. Soil characteristics, such as moisture content, soil temperature, and type, determine the overall resistivity of the earth.

Don’t risk your and your family’s lives, protect your assets and hire a professional electrician if you need a grounding job done. There are many service-finder companies that you can call and they’ll put you in touch with an electrician in your area.

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