Are you worried about the exposed ground rods and wondering if you can pour concrete over them? We've researched whether covering ground rods is a good idea.
Yes, it's actually advisable to cover the ground rods with a strong surface like concrete. This is to prevent electricity-related accidents, as the ground rods react to water when they get wet. However, keep the top of the ground rod exposed to allow access when you need to check it.
This article aims to learn the factors to consider when pouring concrete over ground rods. We'll share the steps on how to do it and what other things you should know. So, let's get started.
Can You Pour Cement Over A Ground Rod?
A ground rod is an electrical system component that usually runs along the ground and up to the electric posts in order to protect the house from an external electrical source, especially static or lightning. It acts as a conductor to divert the incoming charge.
Given that, it's advisable to cover the ground rod with a strong surface like cement or concrete. If you leave the ground rods sitting on top of the soil, the soil could absorb rainwater and trigger an electric shock.
Also, check the local building code in your area. Some places may even require you to cover the ground rods to promote safer neighborhoods. On the other hand, you might need to leave an accessible portion of the rods, especially the top portion, in case there's a need to repair them.
Considerations Before You Pour Concrete Over Grounding Rods
Before you proceed to pour the concrete, it's important to understand it's effects and what are things to keep in mind. So, see below the factors to consider.
First, you'll want to consult an electrician to ensure that the ground rods are active and working. It's quite impractical to cover them if they're no longer performing well.
You'll want to trace where the rods start and end. There might be some broken parts that can cause the electric energy to cut off. However, you need to be careful not to touch or have direct contact with the ground rods.
Concrete is harder than soil. This means that concrete is also heavier. You'll want to allow approximately two inches of concrete thickness, as pouring too much can increase the pressure on the ground.
Of course, you should observe the weather. It's best to do this task on a sunny or dry day. Doing so during rain will not be effective, as the concrete will not settle.
How to Pour Concrete on Ground Rods
Now, it's good to know the right way of pouring concrete:
- Turn off the main power supply in your house, so that you'll be safe throughout this task.
- Remove all the obstacles like dry leaves and rocks.
- Use a nylon string to outline the perimeter of the ground rods.
- Follow the nylon string to install a wooden frame. This will prevent the concrete from overflowing and achieve a good shape as well.
- Bury the wooden frame into the soil.
- In an old bucket, mix the concrete, sand, and water.
- Slowly pour the concrete mixture into the frame. Remember to keep the top exposed to allow access.
- Use a trowel to spread the concrete and flatten the surface.
- Let the area dry.
- Turn on the main power supply.
Quick Alternatives to Cement
When cementing the ground rod is not your preference, there are a few more options. Check below these options.
Use a Pool Noodle
If your main concern is to protect people passing near exposed ground rods, you can put a pool noodle around them. Pool noodles are made of foam and are soft yet can handle a moderate impact. It could increase visibility, to avoid rods, and minimize injury if someone were to trip.
Use a Box
Another quick alternative is to put a box on top of the ground rod. This should be easy to notice, preventing accidental tripping over the exposed end. However, this solution is temporary.
Can You Relocate the Ground Rod?
Yes, you can relocate it. However, you don't want to relocate a broken ground rod, as it will just waste time and effort. Consider checking the physical quality to avoid inconveniences. Also, test its resistance to see if the performance is still okay. If the rod is working properly, contact an electrician to recommend alternative locations for relocation.
What Is a Ground Rod End Cap?
It's usually made of rubber that can cover the end of the ground rod. This can help prevent injuries when people step on it unaware.
So to install three end caps, simply follow these steps:
- Find the top ends of the ground rods.
- Measure its size to get the correct cap for fitting.
- Attach the cap on the ground rod by pressing it down for a secure fit.
Copper Vs. Galvanized Steel Ground Rods
Copper is highly resistant to corrosion. It has the durabitily similar to steel. On the other hand, a galvanized ground rod is a metal rod that has covered with zinc to withstand rusting. However, the zinc coating will wear off after a few years exposed to the weather.
How Much Electricity the Ground Rods Can Resist?
How Long are Ground Rods?
Ground rods are usually measure between 8-10 feet. Only a few inches or feet of the ground rods are exposed above the ground. Ground rods don't need to be buried completely, so that you'll identify them easier once you need to find them again.
How to Install the Ground Rods
It's important to know how to install the ground rods yourself. But remember to seek help from an electrician to assess the house's electrical system location and structure. Consider the steps below:
- Find a location near the electrical panel and at least two feet away from the building.
- Inspect the chosen location on the ground to ensure it's away from gas lines and plumbing pipes.
- Prepare the ground rod, and be sure that it's from an authorized manufacturer approved by the local building codes.
- Using a shovel, dig a hole 2-4 feet deep.
- Now, hammer the top of the rod to reach up to eight feet deep.
- Next, connect the grounding electrode conductor to the house's electrical system.
- Put together the end of the conductor and the rod inside the clamp, then turn the screw on the clamp to fasten them.
- Find the ground bus or the electrical panel where the neutral wires are located. Then tightly screw the grounding electrode conductor into the ground bus.
What Is a Clamp-On Ground Meter?
It's a device used to test the ground rods so that you don't have to dig the rod whenever you want to check if it's working. It usually has a hollow circle clamp to read the electric resistance of the ground rods.
How to Test the Ground Rods
Of course, it's practical to test the ground rods before covering or relocating them. Simply follow the detailed steps below using a clamp-on ground meter:
- Insert the batteries into the clamp-on device, depending on the model and product description.
- Press the lever on the side of the device to open up the clamp, then clamp the ground rod you'll test.
- Turn on the device and wait for the screen to power up.
- Note down the resistance reading that shows on the screen. The reading is usually measured by ohm, or the electrical resistance unit.
- If the resistance reading is less than 25 ohms, it means the ground rod still has a good connection with the ground.
- Consider testing the ground rods again after a few weeks or months. This is to ensure optimal performance of the ground rods.
This article helped us realize the factors to consider when pouring cement over ground rods. We provided a list of steps your can follow. We also discussed some relevant matters, such as common types of ground rods and how to test them.
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