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Ground Rod Woes... #77732 07/11/01 06:50 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
sparky66wv Offline OP
Had an inspection for a mobile home service today, (doublewide) I passed and my untarnished, perfect history of passing inspections has not been harmed...however, now the rest of the story...

Had one heck of a time with the G-rods. I use a post-driver type tool, a pipe with handles and weight on top... Then drive the last few feet with a sledge.

This home was 20 ft from a creek, with requisite rocks and stones, some the size of automobiles. I had considered the horizontal 24" ditch approach, but one dig with the shovel proved that I'd have to dig with a jack hammer. More rocks than exaggeration.

After three hours of sledge-hammering the rod at a rate of 50 strokes per inch, I still had 8 inches above the ground after it hit solid.

On to the second rod for a change of pace...ha ha ...

After an hour and pulling it up after two failed locations, I got it 6 ft down until solid and couldn't pull it out. I beat alternately on each rod for another hour until giving up. My hands are blistered and sore beyond belief, but I can still type...

I won't go into what I did yet, but the inspector did make me expose the rods so he could be assured they existed, and I started to sweat. I told him that if I had left them exposed to begin with, there would be less than 8' in contact with the earth, so I was catch 22.

He was real nice about everything, no power trips or nothing. We discussed code issues and bulletin boards while waiting for the cu$tomer to show.

BTW, the inspector wasn't my usual one, this guy just may check out ECN, he sounded excited about it...

At any rate, I literally did the best I could without hiring a demolition crew with TNT for the GE's.

What it boils down to is this...(gasp)

Are we allowed to bend ground rods?

I was in violation of 347-8(b) in regards to my 2" PVC being hung every 8'due to the only attachment points available, unless I ran bolts through the floor. Guess I could have spent a day framing attachment points... The inspector either didn't notice or was so pleased to actually see line and load in the right places that it seemed great in perspective... He told me the line and load thing has been a problem with DIYer's.

At any rate, the big question is with bending ground rods. The AHJ's opinion was that one could bend it at a 45, or bend at a 90 if it is 24" deep.

Can we heat it up to bend that springy sucker, or would that compromise the integrity somehow?

Please keep in mind that rods coming back up out of the ground three feet from the driving point has occurred around here do to the soil conditions... Tom can tell ya...

Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI
2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides
Re: Ground Rod Woes... #77733 07/11/01 07:14 PM
You should be allowed to bore the hole 1" wide by 100" deep with a machine, fill the hole with 7' of Portland and lime slurry, poke the rod into that a few times to make sure there is no air pocket, hook it up, and walk away. A concrete encased electrode...

Re: Ground Rod Woes... #77734 07/11/01 07:24 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,044
Tom Offline
I like Dsparks idea.

If there is that much rock, the rods are probably next to useless anyhow.

There are places in this state that the utility companies bore into a rock laying on the ground & attach their guy wires to it. Of course, the rock is at least the size of a truck.

I'm working on a job now where they had to use a ram hoe (tracked jackhammer) to pound out a trench to pour concrete into for a footer. I think they could have just drilled holes for re-bar dowels & poured the slab right on grade. I wisely used the trench for the 6" water line & laid my 2 rods in it.

Virgil, you evidently had the courtesy to peen off the saw marks. After all, WV is the home of the 6' ground rod.


Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
Re: Ground Rod Woes... #77735 07/11/01 07:30 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
sparky66wv Offline OP
I have less than adequate working capital even if I knew where to get such a machine.

I've also considered using a ground plate, but again I don't know where to get one.

To put things in perspective, think about it this way, Dspark...

You're on a desert island... nothing but you, two ground rods, a shovel, and a sledge hammer. The rescue ship won't return until both rods are out of sight, you hit bedrock at 4 ft.

What do you do, assuming you have nothing else to work with? And you cannot go home or eat until the job is done?

Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI
Re: Ground Rod Woes... #77736 07/11/01 07:33 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
sparky66wv Offline OP
No, I didn't cut them, I bent them until all 8 ft was in contact with the soil... I hope the inspector won't be upset for my tattling on him for passing me, if he visits ECN... I was completely honest with him about what I did after he asked me to expose them.

However, the dimples were completely gone from the honest hammering I did.

[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 07-11-2001).]

Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI
Re: Ground Rod Woes... #77737 07/11/01 07:39 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
sparky66wv Offline OP
Just how much extra cost should I factor for such a project?... I can see my $750 bid doubling quickly...

Do I have to rent a well-driller?

Mabey the people in Berkely Springs are considereably wealthier than in Hinton...

No one is going to pay even $1000 for a 200A service around here...

Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI
Re: Ground Rod Woes... #77738 07/12/01 05:43 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,389
sparky Offline
Boy it sure sounds like WV is boney! As to the original Q... 8' of contact is 8', bent or not. As one who's blister collection has also been gained via the G-rod method, i can sympathize. can i substitue the Sledge hammer for a Hilti & a 6-pack on the island?
lol.... [Linked Image]
Personally, if it is a new install not a service upgrade i am in favor of 250-50(c) , a UFER, which means i need to be there during the site work.

Re: Ground Rod Woes... #77739 07/12/01 09:38 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
sparky66wv Offline OP
It's a trailer folks!!!

You know, trailer trash... poor folk... people making minimum wage... living on less than $1000 a month type people...

Can they really afford a UFER?!?!?

BTW, the mobile home was used, not new, so it wasn't even a new trailer... these folks are poor (and I am too!) !!!

The anaolgy wasn't far off... I was dead broke with an 1/8 tank of gas in my truck... I had to finish the job to atleast get reimbursed for the materials if nothing else. I couldn't even pay the inspector, and had to tell the cu$tomer to pay him for me and I'd deduct the amount from her bill.... How the heck was I suppose to line up a well driller and ready-mix with no money?!?!?

Besides, it was a $600 job including materials... If I only take on million dollar jobs, I won't have any work...

Sorry to go off, but some of you guys sound like you have infinite working capital...

[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 07-12-2001).]

Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI
Re: Ground Rod Woes... #77740 07/12/01 09:43 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 176
WARREN1 Offline
I think I would have opted for the plates per 250-52(d). That's what we designed for on an aluminum recycling plant in Tenn. where the rock was 3-4 feet below the surface. After the test were performed, the plates provided as low a resistance as a ground rod system does in other areas of the country.

Re: Ground Rod Woes... #77741 07/12/01 02:31 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 62
johnd24 Offline
I use a black and decker macho big hammer drill to put my ground rods in.I dont even own a sledge hammer.

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