What’s Wrong Here? Hint: Separation Anxiety

What’s Wrong Here? Hint: Separation Anxiety

Can you identify the Code violation(s) in this photo?

How well do you know the Code? Think you can spot violations the original installer either ignored or couldn't identify? Here's your chance to moonlight as an electrical inspector and second-guess someone else's work from the safety of your living room or office. It's your turn to identify the violation.


Hint: Separation anxiety

Find the Answer

These two ground rods are simply too close together. Section 250.53(A)(3) of the 2011 NEC requires multiple rod type electrodes to be spaced no less than 6 ft apart. Proper spacing of the rods helps improve the paralleling efficiency of the rods, as explained in the Informational Note of this section.

Another problem is the ends of the rods are above ground. Section 250.53(G) explains the upper end of the rods must be flush with or below ground level unless protected from physical damage. If the rods are only 8 ft long, then there is less than 8 ft of length in contact with the soil. This would create another violation, since 250.53(G) also requires 8 ft of rod length to be in contact with the soil.

On a positive note, I would like to point out the fact that the communications systems and power systems are bonded together at the rod location. Section 800.100(B)(2)(1) permits the communication system grounding/bonding conductor to be connected to the building grounding electrode system as covered in 250.50. Bonding all the systems helps minimize voltage differences between the different wiring systems. Large voltage differences could occur and cause damage especially during a lightning storm if the systems were not bonded together.

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