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THE GROUNDING ELECTRODE SYSTEM

Prepared by

The Southwestern Section International Association of Electrical Inspectors 1999 Grounding and Bonding Committee

William B. Brownell, P.E., Chairman

Scott Davis

Timothy Owens

Bill Dickey

Jim Palma

Doug Effenberger, P.E.

Chuck Leisher

Jesus Mosqueda

Supot Ying

Iraj Nasrolahi, P.E.

Based on the 1999 National Electrical Code

This document is intended to illustrate typical grounding electrode systems but does not cover all acceptable installations.

The Southwestern Section of the Incorporated 1928 OF Keystone of the Electrical Industry
The Southwestern Section
of the
Incorporated
1928
OF
Keystone
of the
Electrical
Industry

The Purpose of the I.A.E.I.

The objective of the I.A.E.I. shall be:

To cooperate in the formulation of standards for the safe installation and use of electrical materials, devices, and appliances.

To promote the uniform understanding and application of the National Electric Code and other electrical codes.

To promote cooperation between inspectors, the electrical industry, and the public.

To collect and disseminate information relative to the safe use of electricity.

To represent the electrical inspectors in all matters which are dealt with nationally and internationally by the electric industry.

To cooperate with other national and international organizations in furthering the development of the electric industry.

Prepared by EDBL Publications Southern California Edison, 626.237.0646 4930 N. Earle Ave., Rosemead, CA 91770 ges.fm, 991013.1143

THE PURPOSE OF SERVICE GROUNDING

The purpose of grounding specific conductors of systems are to:

Limit voltages due to lightning.

Limit voltages due to line surges.

Limit voltages due to unintentional contact with higher voltage lines.

Stabilize the voltage to ground during normal operation.

Establish a low impedance path for proper overcurrent device operation.

Limit voltage to ground on conductive materials enclosing electrical equipment.

250-20:

AC systems supplying premises wiring and premises wiring systems shall be grounded under any of the following con- ditions.

REQUIREMENTS FOR GROUNDING ALTERNATING–CURRENT SYSTEMS OF 50 VOLTS TO 1,000 VOLTS

(b) (1)

120V 120V, 1Ø 2W
120V
120V, 1Ø 2W
120V 120V 120/240V, 1Ø 3W
120V
120V
120/240V, 1Ø 3W
120V 120V 120V 208Y/120V, 3Ø 4W
120V
120V
120V
208Y/120V, 3Ø 4W

The neutrals must be grounded because the maximum voltage to ground from any ungrounded conductor does not exceed 150 volts.

(b) (2)

120V 120V 120V 208Y/120V, 3Ø 4W
120V
120V
120V
208Y/120V, 3Ø 4W
277V 277V 277V 480Y/277V, 3Ø 4W
277V
277V
277V
480Y/277V, 3Ø 4W

Where the system is three phase, four wire, wye connected in which the neutral is used as a circuit conductor.

(b) (3)

120/240V, 3Ø 4W

B 240V 208V C A 120V 120V 240V
B
240V
208V
C
A
120V
120V
240V

Where the system is three phase, four wire, delta connected in which the midpoint on one phase winding is used as a cir- cuit conductor.

CAUTION: There exists a “high leg” (208V) voltage from the B phase to ground. The B phase is only to be used in 240V 3 phase or 240V single phase applications.

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PREMISES WIRING (SYSTEM): That interior and exterior wiring, including power, lighting, control, and signal circuit wir- ing together with all of their associated hardware, fittings, and wiring devices, both permanently and temporarily installed, that extends from the service point of utility conductors or source of power such as a battery, a solar photovoltaic system, or a generator, transformer, or converter windings, to the outlet(s). Such wiring does not include wiring internal to appli- ances, fixtures, motors, controllers, motor control centers, and similar equipment.

SERVICE: The conductors and equipment for delivering electric energy from the serving utility to the wiring system of the premises served.

SERVICE POINT: The point of connection between the facilities of the utility and the premises wiring.

SERVICE EQUIPMENT: The necessary equipment, usually consisting of a circuit breaker(s) or switch(es) and fuse(s) and their accessories, connected to the load end of service conductors to a building or other structure, or an otherwise desig- nated area, and intended to constitute the main control and cutoff of the supply.

Bus insulated from enclosureto constitute the main control and cutoff of the supply. Bus bonded to enclosure Note: Ungrounded

Bus bonded to enclosureand cutoff of the supply. Bus insulated from enclosure Note: Ungrounded conductors are not shown in

Note: Ungrounded conductors are not shown in illustrations.

25024:

Premises wiring systems that are grounded shall have at each service a grounding electrode conductor connected to a grounding electrode. The grounding electrode conductor shall be connected to the grounded service conductor in one of the following ways.

250-24 (a) 1:

accessible point from the load end of the service conductors to the busbar for terminating the grounded service conduc- tor.

250-24 (a) 4: If there is a main bonding jumper (250-28) installed between the neutral bus and the ground bus, the grounding electrode conductor is permitted to be connected to the ground bus.

GROUNDING SERVICE SUPPLIED ALTERNATINGCURRENT SYSTEMS

The grounding electrode conductor shall be connected to the grounded service conductor at any

OR Supply End Service Equipment with Bonding Screw Service Equipment with Main Bonding Jumper Grounded
OR
Supply End
Service Equipment
with Bonding Screw
Service Equipment
with Main Bonding Jumper
Grounded Service
Conductor (Neutral)
Insulated
Neutral
Service Lateral
N
N
Insulated
Neutral
Service Lateral
Bus
Bus
G
G
Equipment
Main
Bonding Screw
(Green) or Jumper
Grounding
Bonding
Bus
Jumper
250-24 (a) 1
Grounding Electrode
Conductor
250-24 (a) 4

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250-24 (a) 2:

Where the transformer supplying the service is located outside the building, at least one additional

grounding connection shall be made from the grounded service conductor to a grounding electrode, either at the transformer or elsewhere outside the building.

Grounded Service Conductor (Neutral) Additional Grounding Electrode Grounding
Grounded Service
Conductor (Neutral)
Additional
Grounding Electrode
Grounding

Electrode

250-24 (a) 5: A grounding connection shall not be made to any grounded circuit conductor on the load side of the ser- vice disconnecting means.

Service

Sub-Panel N N N G G G
Sub-Panel
N
N
N
G
G
G

Insulated Neutral Bus (not grounded)

250-24 (c)

N G N •
N
G
N
Neutral Bus (not grounded) 250-24 (c) N G N • The grounded conductor (neutral) must be

The grounded conductor (neutral) must be connected to a grounding electrode

Main Disconnect

Service

Equipment

Equipment Grounding Conductor

Grounded Conductor (Neutral)

Bonding

Screw

Grounding electrode conductors:

This Conductor shall be used to connect the:

Grounding Electrode

Equipment grounding conductor

Service Equipment enclosure

Grounded conductor (neutral)

To the grounding electrode or grounding electrode system.

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250-32 (a):

When a common service serves more than one building, the grounded system in each building shall have a grounding elec- trode bonded to each buildings service equipment enclosure.

250-32 (a) Exception: If the second building has only one branch circuit, and the branch circuit includes an equipment grounding conductor for grounding the noncurrent-carrying parts of all equipment, then the second building is not required to have a grounding electrode.

TWO OR MORE BUILDINGS OR STRUCTURES SUPPLIED FROM A COMMON SERVICE

Building 1 Building 2 N N N N Insulated One Branch Neutral Circuit Only Bus
Building 1
Building 2
N
N
N
N
Insulated
One Branch
Neutral
Circuit Only
Bus
G
G
Grounding
G
G
Electrode

250-32 (b) 1.

For a grounded system, an equipment grounding conductor per 250-118 shall be run with the supply conductors and con- nected to the grounding electrode and equipment. The grounded conductor (neutral) shall not be connected to the equip- ment grounding conductor. This method must be used when ground fault protection is installed on the common ac service, or when there is a common metallic path between the buildings, such as piping, fire sprinklers, or water lines.

EQUIPMENT GROUNDING CONDUCTOR

Building 1

Common Service Building 2 Building 3 N Insulated Neutral N N BUS N G G
Common Service
Building 2
Building 3
N
Insulated
Neutral
N
N
BUS
N
G
G
G
G

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TWO OR MORE BUILDINGS OR STRUCTURES SUPPLIED FROM A COMMON SERVICE

250-32 (b) 2.

If no equipment grounding conductor is run with the supply to the building, and there is no metallic path to ground, and no ground fault protection is installed on the supply, then the grounded circuit conductor (neutral) shall be connected to the disconnecting means and the grounding electrode. The neutral shall be used for grounding or bonding.

GROUNDED CONDUCTOR

Building 1 ` Building 2 Building 3 N N N N N
Building 1
`
Building 2
Building 3
N
N
N
N
N

250-32 (d): Disconnecting Means Located in Separate Building or Structure

For buildings served with a remote disconnecting means, an equipment grounding conductor must be run with the circuit conductors. The bonding of the equipment grounding conductor to the grounding electrode must be made in an enclo- sure located immediately inside or outside the building.

Bonding

Screw

Remote Remote Disconnect Disconnect Insulated Insulated Neutral Neutral BUS BUS Building Building N N N
Remote
Remote
Disconnect
Disconnect
Insulated
Insulated
Neutral
Neutral
BUS
BUS
Building
Building
N
N
N
N
Bonding
Screw
G
G
N
N
G
Enclosure
Immediately
Inside or Outside
Building
G
Enclosure
Immediately
Inside or Outside
Building
G

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250-32 (e):

mals are sensitive to as little as one volt and will cease milk production if exposed.

Where livestock are housed, underground equipment grounding conductors shall be insulated. Dairy ani-

Enclosure G Grounding Electrode Insulated or Covered Copper Equipment Grounding Conductor
Enclosure
G
Grounding Electrode
Insulated or Covered Copper
Equipment Grounding Conductor

250-50

If available on the premises, each grounding electrode listed below and any made electrodes in accordance with 250-52 shall be bonded together to form the grounding electrode system.

1. A metal underground water pipe in contact with the earth for no less than ten feet.

2. The metal frame of a building where effectively grounded.

3. A no. 4 (1/2) bare or galvanized rebar or a No. 4 AWG (minimum) bare copper conductor encased in no less than two inches of concrete. The electrode must be located near the bottom of the footing. This is also called the Ufer system.

4. A No. 2 AWG (minimum) bare copper ground ring encircling the entire building. It must never be less than 20 feet in length.

5. Any made electrodes.

GROUNDING ELECTRODE/GROUNDING ELECTRODE SYSTEM

1.

GROUNDING ELECTRODE/GROUNDING ELECTRODE SYSTEM 1. 2. 3. 4. Rebar or No. 4 AWG bare copper g

2.

GROUNDING ELECTRODE/GROUNDING ELECTRODE SYSTEM 1. 2. 3. 4. Rebar or No. 4 AWG bare copper g

3.

4.

GROUNDING ELECTRODE/GROUNDING ELECTRODE SYSTEM 1. 2. 3. 4. Rebar or No. 4 AWG bare copper g
GROUNDING ELECTRODE/GROUNDING ELECTRODE SYSTEM 1. 2. 3. 4. Rebar or No. 4 AWG bare copper g

Rebar or No. 4 AWG bare copper

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If available, all the electrodes specified in 250-50 and any made electrodes per 250-52 (c) & (d) shall be bonded together to form the grounding electrode system. Interior metal water piping located more than 5 feet from the point of entrance to the building shall not be used as part of the grounding electrode system or as a conductor to interconnect electrodes that are part of the grounding electrode system.

1 4 2 3 Metal Underground Water Pipe Ground Ring 10 feet Rebar or more
1
4
2
3
Metal Underground
Water Pipe
Ground Ring
10 feet
Rebar
or more

Connection must be made within 5 feet of point of entrance of piping. 250-50, -(a)

Metal frame must be effectively grounded. 250-50 (b)

At least 20 feet of No.4 rebar (½") or No.4 (minimum) AWG bare copper conductor. Rebar or conductor must be encased with no less than 2" of concrete. Epoxy coated rebar is not acceptable as electrode. 250-50( c)

At least No.2 bare copper conductor. It must encircle the building and never be less than 20 feet. 250-50 (d)

250-50: All the grounding electrode conductors shown above are sole connections to the service equipment, therefore the exceptions to sizing apply. Minimum sizes for copper grounding electrode conductors are:

1
1

No. 8 through 3/0. Use Table 250-66 for sizing.

2
2

No. 8 through 3/0. Use Table 250-66 for sizing.

3
3

No. 8 through No. 4 Use Table 250-66 for sizing. It is never required to be larger than No. 4 regardless of the size of the service conductors, 250-66 (b).

4 The sole connections never have to be larger than the ground rings, 250-66 (c).

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250-50: In the following illustration, only (2) is the grounding electrode conductor sized per Table 250-66. Both (1) and (3) are bonding conductors, per 250-50, sized per Table 250-66. (4) is a sole connection to the ground ring, sized per 250-66 (c).

Service

Equipment Metal Frame 2 3 1 4 Metal Water Pipe Rebar Ground Ring
Equipment
Metal Frame
2
3
1
4
Metal
Water Pipe
Rebar
Ground Ring

250-50 (a) 2:

3 1 4 Metal Water Pipe Rebar Ground Ring 250-50 (a) 2: Supplemental Electrode Metal Underground

Supplemental Electrode

Metal Underground Water Pipe

or

Service Equipment

If ten feet of metal underground water pipe is available, it must be used as a grounding electrode; however, it must always be supplemented by an additional electrode.

it must always be supplemented by an additional electrode. Supplemental Electrodes Metal Underground Water Pipe

Supplemental Electrodes

Metal Underground Water Pipe

Service Equipment

Note: Water pipe grounding electrode connection must be within 5 feet of point of entrance of water to building, 250-50 (a).

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250-50 (c)

250-50 (c) Service Equipment If the rebar is available, it must be used as an electrode.
250-50 (c) Service Equipment If the rebar is available, it must be used as an electrode.

Service Equipment

If the rebar is available, it must be used as an electrode.

The connection to the rebar does not have to be accessible if encased 250-68 (a) Ex.

250-50:

If both are available, the steel frame of the building and a concrete encased rebar must both be used to form the ground- ing electrode system.

Service Equipment Rebar No. 4 or larger (½" diameter)
Service
Equipment
Rebar No. 4
or larger
(½" diameter)

The metal frame of the building must be effectively grounded, 250-50 (b).

The connection of the grounding electrode conductor to the steel frame may be by exothermic welding, 250-70.

The grounding electrode conductor between the service equipment and any convenient part of the grounding electrode system (to the first electrode) must be installed in one continuous length without a splice unless spliced by means of listed irreversible compression connectors or exothermic welding, 250-64 (c). It must always be suitably protected against corro- sion, 250-62.

250-50:

The steel frame of a building may be used as a sole electrode where effectively grounded, 250-50 (b).

The concrete encased electrode (Ufer) may be used as the sole electrode, 250-50 (c).

The ground ring may be used as the sole electrode, 250-50 (d).

A metal underground water pipe shall not be used as a sole electrode, 250-50 (a) 2.

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250-52:

Where none of the electrodes specified in section 250-50 is available, one or more of the electrodes specified in (b) through (d) shall be used. The most commonly used electrode is the ground rod.

MADE AND OTHER ELECTRODES

Flush with grade Eight foot ground rod
Flush with
grade
Eight foot
ground rod

Where the grounding electrode conductor is con- nected to made electrodes permitted in section 250-52(c) or (d), the size shall not be required to be larger than No. 6 copper wire. 250-66 (a) It must be a sole connection under this condition.

The connection device must be listed for direct soil burial (250-70). It does not have to be accessible (250-68 (a) Exception).

An eight foot ground rod must be flush or below grade because the NEC requires at least eight feet to be in contact with the soil (250-52 (c) (3)).

A standard ten foot ground rod can be used, with no less than eight feet in contact with the soil. Any rod projecting above the surface must be protected against physical damage (250-52 (c) 3, 250-10).

A single electrode consisting of a rod, pipe, or plate which does not have a resistance to ground of 25 ohms or less shall be augmented by one additional electrode of any of the types specified in section 250-50 or 250-52. Where multiple rod, pipe, or plate electrodes are installed to meet the requirements of this section, they shall be not less than six feet (1.83m) apart.

Resistance tests are not required on the supplemental electrode.

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250-52 (c) 1, 2, and 3:

ROD AND PIPE ELECTRODES

Where rock bottom is encountered, the electrode shall be driven at an oblique angle not to exceed 45 degrees from the vertical.

Grounding Electrode Conductor

Rod 2'-6" -or-
Rod
2'-6"
-or-
Grounding Electrode Conductor Rod 2'-6" -or- be buried in a trench not less than two feet

be buried in a trench not less than two feet six inches deep

Corrosion

resistant

connection

two feet six inches deep Corrosion resistant connection 45° Rod 250-52 (d) The NEC does permit
45° Rod
45°
Rod

250-52 (d)

The NEC does permit made plate electrodes providing they expose no less than two square feet of surface to exterior soil. The wording of exteriorrequires that they be buried outside of the building not under the building.

PLATE ELECTRODES

No less than 12" x 12". This dimension will provide one square foot from each of the two surfaces.

will provide one square foot from each of the two surfaces. Minimum thickness: Iron or steel

Minimum thickness: Iron or steel ¼", nonferrous metal 0.06 inch.

Aluminum electrodes shall not be permitted, 250-52 (e).

Exothermic Weld Connection

Plate electrode shall be installed not less than 2½ ft. (762mm) below the surface of the earth.

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1999 NEC

250-64 (d):

Meter sockets are not shown 300 kcmil 3/0 No. 3 Phase MAIN MAIN MAIN Conductors
Meter sockets are not shown
300 kcmil
3/0
No. 3
Phase
MAIN
MAIN
MAIN
Conductors
B
C
D

1,000 kcmil Service Conductors

Steel

Frame

A
A

The Grounding Electrode Conductor may be tapped for multiple service equipment enclosures.

A
A

Size is 2/0

The grounding electrode conductor is based on Table 250-66 for 1,000 kcmil ser- vice-entrance conductors.

B
B

Size is No. 2

The grounding electrode conductor tap is based on Table 250-66 for 300 kcmil service conductors.

C
C

Size is No. 4

The grounding electrode conductor tap is based on Table 250-66 for 3/0 service con- ductors.

D
D

Size is No. 8

The grounding electrode conductor tap is based on Table 250-66 for No. 3 service

250-64

INSTALLATION AND PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS FOR THE GROUNDING ELECTRODE CONDUCTORS

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE GROUNDING ELECTRODE CONDUCTORS 250-64 (b) Grounding Electrode Conductor sized No. 4 or

250-64 (b)

Grounding Electrode Conductor sized No. 4 or larger shall be protected if exposed to severe physical damage.

A No.6 grounding electrode conductor that is free from physical damage does not require raceway protection. It must be securely fastened to the building.

A No.8 conductor shall be protected by a raceway or cable armor. Any metallic raceway or cable armor must be bonded at both ends.

250-64 (b)

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