Unable to confirm proper ground..

An unusually high number of homes that I have seen over the last month or so have a grounding electrode that exits the foundation and enters the earth. No stake…No anything. I don’t know if this is a part of a Ufer ground or some other system that I can not determine. I indicate “unable to confirm proper grounding” on my reports, but I wish I could provide a better statement. Any suggestions

Gardner 007a.jpg

The photo is kinda small, but that looks like a regular 8’ driven ground rod. Or is it rebar from the foundation? Hard to tell from the photo.

The rod may be driven below grade. That is OK

Sorry about the size of the pic. There is a 4 awg copper wire going into the earth. Yes, it’s probably attached to a rod somewhere, but I dug down about 6 to 8 inches and didn’t find a rod.

That looks like a water pipe clamp. If so, to what is it attached?

The wire enters the earth, no clamp, no stake.

Are you able to find the other end of it into the ground…some mistake the # 4 in 20’ lengths as a proper grounding method…while it would be in the foundation of concrete…not in the ground itself.

So I would say what you have listed on your reports based on the lack of information is about all you can put at this time.

Not Inspected / (followed by a description of the limitation)

I have found on more than one occasion, the conductor going into the soil without any kind of rod or clamp, Period. Also routinely find the “water pipe” clamp is completely disentagrated or only small pieces left, or extremely corroded because the “Weaver” clamp is not made for burial or wet enviroment.

What do you report when you see the ground wire entering the ground? Do you recommend evaluation by an electrician?

Since the ground rod is driven before the landscaping is completed, it may be that the ground rod was buried below the finished grade by several feet of soil.

I tug real hard on the conductor. If it can’t be pulled up, I assume it’s attached to a buried ground rod.

When I can’t confirm a ground, I say: “We could not determine the point at which the panel is grounded. Typically, this ground is to a driven ground rod, a water pipe located at the main, at a water heater, or to a hose bib, but we could not find it at any of these locations. Therefore, it should be traced by an electrician or the panel should be regrounded.”

I’m not sure if this is a real issue or no big deal, but I would consider re-wording this. An attachment to a ground rod or metallic water pipe at the main would be a grounding electrode (although neither actually “ground” the panel).
The connections at a water heater, hose bib, or anywhere other than the water main are simply the water bond. Again, this does not serve to ground anything.

I know it is just semantics, and most homeowners have no clue, but it is technically incorrect.

kind of like “outlet” and “receptacle”

True, but a little more important.

The text is compliments of InspectVue.

I would like to hear your comments Peter, with regard to that statement. I had the same one in my software, however, I modified it (as with most of the narratives) to read;

That to me seems more appropriate since all these locations are specifically grounding electrodes. Although the water pipe is a bit vague as to location of connection, but it is implied IMO.

A connection to a water pipe at a water heater or hose bib is merely a water bond and serves to ground nothing.

In fact, I can’t wait unitl the NEC changes the wording of grounding to “earthing”. That IMO should provide a better idea of what these systems do

I do not like the term “service ground” or “grounded service”. ALL modern services are grounded. They are grounded at the grounded conductor. THIS is what provides the safety ground to open breakers under fault conditions.
The grounding electroded system (ground rods, etc.) do NOT provide a safety ground, and a fault to just a ground rod will NOT open a breaker.
But I think you know this.

I think it is important AGAIN to understand the difference and the terms we are speaking of here.


[size=4]GROUNDING- [/size]

Grounding the Electrical Equipment-
Non-current carrying conductive materials enclosing electrical conductors or equipment, or forming part of such equipment, shall be connected to earth so as to limit the voltage imposed by lightning, line surges, or unintentional contact with higher voltage lines and limit the voltage to ground on these materials

Bonding the Electrical Equipment-
[size=2]Non-current carrying conductive materials enclosing electrical conductors or equipment, shall be connected together and to the supply system grounded equipment in a manner that creates a permanent, low impedance path for ground fault current which is capable of safely carrying the maximum fault current likely to be imposed on it .

If I had only one suggestion to help people better understand this I would say sit down and read NEC 250-4…in the 2002 NEC…it is the at this point the NEC woke up a little and clarrified the Bonding and Grounding Mystery for many people.

i have seen quite a few of these exact things lately. i also tug on them and if the dont pull out, i say “the ground rod was not visible but the electrode is burried. grounding system appears to be functioning properly, but furthur investigation to determine adequacy shoud be performed by a licensed electrician.”