Grounding an Electric Service Box
LESLIE: Susie in Connecticut needs some help with electrical wiring. What can we do for you?
SUSIE: I was wondering how you – when you change the wiring from the old, non – three-wire wiring to the new three-wire where you can ground it and you replace the old with the new, how do you ground that box?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Knob and tube?
TOM: Are you replacing the panel?
SUSIE: The whole thing because it’s all fuses and all old wiring.
TOM: And you’re going to be converting it to a circuit-breaker panel?
TOM: Well, the ground wire goes from the ground bus through a wire to, usually, a stake in the ground outside; the ground stake. And if you have a metal, main water pipe, it could also ground to the main water pipe. If you have a plastic, main water pipe, of course, that’s not going to work, which many of us do today.
So, it’s either going to ground to the main water pipe or it’s going to ground to a ground stake, which is simply a metal rod – long, metal rod – that’s driven into the soil and then the ground wire basically bolts to that with a very solid, electrical connection. And that’s how the power is diverted back to ground, if it ever has to.
SUSIE: So you can do it outside?
TOM: Yes, you can do it outside. In fact, many of them are done that way. I hope you’re not doing this yourself, Susie.
TOM: Well, because it’s not a DIY project; it’s something that only a licensed and experienced electrician should do, after getting an electrical permit from the town that you live in. It’s not a home improvement project for a do-it-yourselfer. You’re talking about major work here. If you get it wrong, it could be very dangerous or it could set your house on fire.
SUSIE: That is correct. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Susie. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.