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Grounding your Electrical System, a Seattle Home Inspector’s, 3 Part Series: Part III

     If I can re-awaken you all again, I would like to discuss the third means of achieving Grounding of your home’s electrical system. The “new” Washington State, Standards of Practice, require Seattle Home Inspectors (all Washington State Home Inspectors) to report: “The existence of a connected service-grounding conductor and service-grounding electrode when same can be determined.”

     I would hope that most home inspectors would have already been doing this, but having it spelled out specifically in the Standards of Practice is an improvement to most Home Inspection Standards of practice around the country.

     The Electrical Service to the home has to be properly Grounded.  There are three common ways of achieving this grounding requirement.  Some homes will have one or two of these methods and it is possible for a home to have all three.  The first method of achieving grounding is the Water Main to the home.  The Second means of achieving grounding is to have Ground Rods installed at the home.

     In this post, Part III of this series, we will discuss the “Ufer Ground” the third type of Grounding Electrode Conductor.

Ufer ground connection     Herbert Ufer, did electrical consulting for the Army during World War II and he came up with a means of grounding electrical systems by connecting the ground wire of the electrical system to all the steel re-enforcement in the poured concrete foundation/footings. 

     As a side note, Ufer’s work was another example of how the Army created improvements that trickled down to the private sector housing industry----and relates to a previous post I did about Playing Doctor.  

     Concrete creates a tremendously good ground that far surpasses the capabilities of either the water pipe or ground rod methods of achieving grounding----or the combination of the two.  Newer electrical installations will have this third means of achieving grounding in many jurisdictions-----although not everywhere----yet.  In these installations you will no longer see the grounding connected to either ground rods or the main water pipe----but you might. 

     There is no harm in having multiple Grounding Electrode Conductors on the same system----sometimes they may be necessary and even required.  It is important for your home inspector to know the “historical” requirements of grounding in order to make a proper assessment of the particular house that is being inspected.  (I just hope little Joey has been listening.)

     Another thing to keep in mind about all of these systems is that the inspector will never be able to determine the “function” of the grounding system (this kind of determination is “extremely” technical).  The inspector will look for the systems presence and how well the connections to the system have been made, and as to whether there are any obvious defects or compromises of the system. 

      OK----you can go back to sleep now. 

      (JOEY!!!! Put----the scissors down!)

Charles Buell

 

 

Seattle Home Inspectors, ASHI Home Inspector, Structural Pest Inspector, Charles Buell Inspections Inc, Seattle, WA

 

 

 

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Raven DeCroeDeCroe, is my "ethereal" home inspector assistant and occasionally flies into my blog and other people's blogs to offer assistance. To find out more about her beginnings just click on Raven.

 

 

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Seattle Home Inspector

 

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Comment balloon 21 commentsCharles Buell • August 18 2009 08:41AM
Grounding your Electrical System, a Seattle Home Inspector’s, 3 Part…
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If I can re-awaken you all again, I would like to discuss the third means of achieving Grounding of your home’s electrical system. The “new” Washington State, Standards of Practice require Seattle Home Inspectors (all Washington State… more
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If your eyes haven’t completely glazed over and I can awaken you for a moment I would like to discuss the second means of achieving Grounding of your home’s electrical system. The new Washington State, Standards of Practice require… more
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