Proper grounding of electrical systems is essential to the safety and performance. Article 250 of the 2014 National Electrical Code covers grounding and bonding requirements in great detail. Part III of Article 250 provides rules for the grounding electrode system and grounding electrode conductors. The image above shows several code violations of this section of the code.
The most obvious problem shown in this picture is the violation of section 250.64(A). In this section the code reads: “Bare aluminum or copper-clad aluminum grounding conductors shall not be used where in direct contact with masonry or the earth or where subject to corrosive conditions. Where used outside, aluminum or copper-clad aluminum grounding conductors shall not be terminated within 18 inches of the earth. In the referenced example, the installer used a 4 AWG aluminum conductor as a grounding electrode conductor and terminated at the ground rod outside within 18 inches of the earth. The proper method of connecting to this rod would be to use a properly sized copper conductor in accordance with section 250.66 of the N.E.C.
One other less obvious code violation is found in 250.53(G). This portion of the code states that rod electrodes shall be installed such that at least 8 feet of length is in contact with the soil. Assuming that this is ground rod is 8 feet in length, the entire length of the rod must be in contact with the soil. As you can see, a portion of this rod is above grade and some is in contact with gravel. A proper installation would be to drive the entire length of the rod below grade level. Some electricians and even inspectors would then refer to 250.68, which states that the code requires all connections to grounding electrodes to be accessible. Exception number 1 to 250.68(A) allows an encased or buried connection to a concrete-encased, driven, or buried grounding electrode to not be accessible. It is not only allowed but it is required to drive an 8 foot long ground rod entirely into the ground.
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