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Old 11-20-2013, 03:08 PM   #1
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Residential grounding


I own a 4000-sf home in Michigan. It used to be 2 units, but we're consolidating it into one.

My electrician is combining electrical service from two meters & panels to one. The water supply line is about 60 ft. from the electrical supply panel. He wants to install two separate grounding rods just outside the panel and then wants to run grounding cable across the basement to the water supply line as well. I thought a) it was one or the other, and b) a residential system only needed one grounding rod anyhow. This dude's been nickel and diming met to death and I'm pretty sure he's just looking for an extra day's work -- before I lose it on him, though, I figured I'd ask around.

It's standard electrical service, 200 amps, nothing special.

Any input is appreciated, thanks!

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Old 11-20-2013, 03:22 PM   #2
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Yes, you can install one ground rod, and have it tested to meet code requirements. But that test will cost you far more than driving a second ground rod.

The water supply line (metallic) needs to be connected. It is not, either one or the other.

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Old 11-20-2013, 03:23 PM   #3
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Perfect, thank you! My electrician does great work but he isn't big on explanations so I wanted to be sure he wasn't just going for the option that gave him a bigger payday
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:25 PM   #4
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All available grounding electrodes should be used.
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:26 PM   #5
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Residential grounding


I am not an electrician but the water pipe connection to ground is for bonding the water system. I have read sometimes they will use 2 ground rods if the ground (dirt) is not conductive enough.
I may be wrong but it seems right what he is doing. Someone will be along with more Knowledge then me to help ya also.
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:28 PM   #6
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Y'all are the best -- I've been lurking for the past few days and thinking I should have checked this forum out long ago, it would have saved me some headaches when we replaced the plumbing. Thank you again for the help!
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:31 PM   #7
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By most inspectors standards we have to drive 2 ground rods and jump the water meter / bond the water pipes. It is what needs to be done.

And what is nickle and diming you? Electricians are a specialty trade and need to make a living as well. Maybe that's just me being an electrician and having to hear this all the time..
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:50 PM   #8
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I didn't mean to make it sound as if I thought he was dishonest. If that were the case, I'd have fired him; but the work we're asking him to do came in at a 7-day bid and he's been openly trying to push it to 10 ("I'd really like to make this a solid two weeks," is how he put it to me -- honest to a fault, maybe ). I have an extra day in my budget but just can't give him the full 2 weeks' worth of work. Not as in "I'll have to eat Ramen for a week," but as in "I've been eating Ramen for two months to afford this much and unless you have a long-term payment plan in mind the money is just not there."

He regularly says things like: "Since I'm installing one washer/dryer hookup and this is a pretty large basement I'm going to go ahead and add another half-dozen outlets along this wall. I'm here already and it'll only take a few extra hours." -- he tells me what he thinks I need instead of asking if I'd like him to do it. He also actually started work on a small side project that I didn't ask him to do (switching out our fixtures in the basement and first floor; they're on a shelf on the basement but seriously: I can swap out a wall fixture) because "The stuff's right here and it'll only take a few extra hours."

After he did that with a number of things that *were* optional it made me begin to wonder if everything he suggested after starting the job was optional.

I do understand that things come up which weren't readily apparent when the bid came in, and I also understand not wanting to overlook work that the client will probably come back and ask you to do at a later date when she decides she really does need six outlets in the basement instead of two (I'm a web designer, and my clients ALWAYS have something that probably ought to be changed for convenience or aesthetics and that they didn't know was an issue) -- but he's the first contractor I've had who actually started work on side projects without checking first. It's made me a little leery of any new thing he suggests...that may not be entirely fair, but there it is :/
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Old 11-20-2013, 04:04 PM   #9
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Its OK. We all know that licensed electricians are only out for a buck and have trouble finding their truck in the morning let alone your place. And when they get there the first thing that comes out of the truck is a big tub of vasoline. .......Oh.....wait a minute....I was thinking of a different trade....never mind.
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Old 11-20-2013, 04:13 PM   #10
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Ah I do agree with you there then. I always make sure to stick to an estimate an no more. Glad to see you are helping someone out in my trade though
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoleCat View Post
Its OK. We all know that licensed electricians are only out for a buck and have trouble finding their truck in the morning let alone your place. And when they get there the first thing that comes out of the truck is a big tub of vasoline. .......Oh.....wait a minute....I was thinking of a different trade....never mind.
...not quite sure you read the entire thread. I'm pretty sure I didn't call him (or, by extension, all electricians) stupid or crooked, but so far in my personal, direct experience with him if there's a way for him to pad out his time he'll take that way every time. It's only natural and so far I haven't had any real conflict with him over it but it just keeps coming up. Some of what he wants to do is necessary (like this) but a lot of it isn't, and while I get that it may have sounded snarky I did ask the question in good faith because I just don't know. And, to be honest, I panicked a bit when he told me the cost because it takes me from near budget to far enough over budget that if a single other thing comes up I'll have to send him home and go with a non-union worker for the rest of the job just to be able to keep the lights on (pun intended). That isn't how I operate, so I wanted to be absolutely sure it *was* necessary before giving him the go-ahead.

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Old 11-20-2013, 06:03 PM   #12
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Residential grounding


What is this job, time and material or a bid job?
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Old 11-20-2013, 06:06 PM   #13
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Time & material, he's been pretty good at ballparking materials costs and is on a per diem rate for a certain # of hours each day. Time over that on any particular day is at a different hourly rate.
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:28 PM   #14
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Residential grounding


You didn't say where you live. In WI you have to use 2 ground rods. Call your inspection dept. or one near you and ask.
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:10 PM   #15
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You didn't say where you live. In WI you have to use 2 ground rods. Call your inspection dept. or one near you and ask.
technically, it doesn't need to be two rods. a single rod, pipe or plate electrode needs to be augmented with an additional rod, pipe or plate, a ground ring, a ufer ground, etc. two rods is typically the easiest, especially for an outbuilding but the gist is that you need a supplemental grounding electrode and cant use a test indicating 25 ohms or less to ground with a single rod, pipe or plate electrode, as allowed by the nec.

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