Generators are not the easiest of devices to operate. This heavy machinery that powers our houses during outage requires extensive understanding to handle correctly. Any knowledge gap can result in disastrous consequences. One such thing is the issue of grounding generators. Many do not know how to ground a portable generator, despite being an extraordinarily simple task.
How to Ground a Portable Generator
Whole house generator, or Dual fuel generator, It doesn’t matter what kind of generator do you have. So, It is very important to know about generator grounding. In the following sections, we’ll discuss just that. Our step by step guide will shed light on the entire process in a secure and understanding manner.
What Does Grounding a Generator Mean?
We have to understand what grounding is in the first place. Grounding is the process of connecting an electrical wire to the ground. It is a safety measure, done mainly to make the generator safe to touch and avoid sudden electrocution.
Is Grounding Necessary For My Generator?
Whether your generator needs grounding is easy to understand. Try going through the manual in detail and see if the manufacturer asks you to ground it.
If they mention it, then you have to do it. And if they don’t, then you can save yourself from the task.
There is another way to know whether the grounding is required. If your generator is a separately derived system, then you need to ground it well. But, if you can make sure that your device is not an independently derived system, then grounding isn’t required.
Tools Needed to Ground a Generator
Having generator grounding requirements tools makes your job easier. Let’s see what tools you’d be needing for this task:
- Wire Strippers – Wire strippers are essential, especially while connecting the copper wire to the rod and the generator. It’d be mainly used to strip the wire. Knives or other sharp objects can be used as replacements if you don’t have a wire stripper at home.
- Copper Grounding Wire – Get some copper grounding wire so that you can connect the generator to the grounding rod.
- Copper Coated Grounding Rod – Get a copper-coated grounding rod from the nearest hardware store. Make sure it is 4ft in length, at the very least.
- Hammer – Hammer will be used to drive the rod into the earth.
- Pliers – It would wind the wire on the rod.
- Wrench – The wrench would be used to loosen up the grounding bolt while connecting the wire to the generator.
- Water – You may also need some water if the ground is hard. Try having a small bucket of water around in such cases.
While handling electrical equipment, maintaining correct safety procedures is a must. And it is no different with grounding generators.
Although it should be commonly understood, yet we do warn you. Your generator MUST be switched off during the whole operation! Because you run the risk of electrocution if it is turned on. So, always make sure it is switched off!
Moreover, it is better to keep the water away from your generator during the process.
Please keep children away from the generator during the process as they can mistakenly switch on the generator, not knowing the consequences.
Complete Step by Step Procedure on Grounding your Generator
1. Install the Rod
Get the copper rod. Use your hammer or mallet to drive it inside the earth. Be careful while hammering it down and make sure your fingers are not placed between the rod and the hammer.
Do it slowly.
Suppose you find the ground to be tough and rod not going in smoothly. You can then use a simple trick.
Try pouring down some water. It will soften up the earth and make your job easier.
Some of you may need to install the rod on rocky terrain. In this case, rather than driving the rod, you bury it with your shovel.
It will save you from the almost impossible task of penetrating the rocky ground.
How far should you drive it down? A question often asked by many. You can drive it down 1 meter or 3 feet length.
2. Connecting the Rod to the Wire
Next, you have to attach the rod to the wire. Use the wire stripper to open up the inner cable, cutting out the outer layer.
Hold the wire with the plier. Now wrap the copper around the rod tightly with your plier.
The rod is now connected to the copper wire.
3. Connecting the Wire to the Generator
This is the final step of this guide. Once you’re finished connecting the wire to the rod, now you’ll connect the other end of the copper wire to the generator.
Use the wire stripper on the other end again to strip out the inner wire.
Look for the grounding bolt in your generator. Your generator must have a grounding bolt if it is not a separately derived system, so continue looking even if you can’t see it at first glance. You shall find it.
Okay, now that you have found it. Use your wrench to loosen it up slightly. Once it is loose enough, try wrapping the wire around it carefully.
After you’re done wrapping the copper wire around the bolt, tighten the bolt for a secure and long-lasting connection.
Generator Grounding Diagram
You can also check the generator grounding diagram for a better understanding:
To Sum Up
Grounding your generator is really easy. From any sort of accidental electrocution, it saves you and minimizes the risk of a short circuit.
For these reasons, grounding is one of the essential elements in maintaining generator safety.
Many users procrastinate on this issue, risking their lives and their equipment. But we say it is best if you do it as quickly as possible.
If you have the necessary tools ready at your disposal, it shouldn’t take you long to ground your generator correctly. It will make power generation during outages safer and make it steadier.
Now you know how to ground a generator. So, no more waiting now! Get the tools from the nearest store and just follow the guide.
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