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post #31 of 47 (permalink) Old 2009-11-05, 11:41 PM
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i've had a panel mount whole house surge protector that i have been wanting to install for a while now. i managed to get a great deal on the BR Surge direct plug in unit for my cuttler hammer panel. it has been sitting on a shelf for a few months now.. i just haven't had the time to open the panel up and mount it. i should really do that sometime soon before something bad happens [murphy's law ya know...]

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post #32 of 47 (permalink) Old 2012-02-08, 07:49 AM
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Is there anyway o test earth ground? My panel is grounded to my copper water service pipe via a long windy path from the panel through the ceiling and then back down a wall to the pipe. The path is probably 17' horizontal and 7' vertical before connecting with the coper water service pipe.

I don't have a whole house surge suppressor and have been in this renovated house for 6 years. In that time and more recently the last 3 years I have had the following equipment failures

4 year old 50" plasma tv
19" computer monitor
48" fridge circuit board
Dlink router.
Alarm panel control board
Carrier furnace infinity causing a lot or random errors which are control board related
1.5tb nas hard drive
19' flat tv power brick failure

I may have forgot something's. But you get the point. There was a tree branch short out on the wires outside in our driveway 2 years ago and a constructions site 6 doors down the dump truck box pulled off one off the wires on the hydro line when dumping his load.

So after reading this thread I think I have an earthing issue not necessarily a surge suppressor issue. However I would like to fix both. Whole house protection with surge suppressor and text/fix grounding for house.

Any suggestion s on how to test and fix whole house ground?
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post #33 of 47 (permalink) Old 2012-02-08, 08:48 AM
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I would have an electrician do that.
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post #34 of 47 (permalink) Old 2012-02-08, 10:50 AM
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Grounding is dependent on service rating and location. You might want to consider using an oversized grounding conductor due to its length. If in doubt, hire an electrician.

It's possible that the power incidents caused some failures but it's difficult to prove. Their could also be some other issues such as spikes caused by electrical storms. Whole home surge protection should help with that. You might want to consider using UPS power protection/backup for devices such as computers, monitors, drives and the alarm panel.

At 20 I had a good mind. At 40 I had money. At 60 I've lost my mind and my money. Oh, to be 20 again. --Scary
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post #35 of 47 (permalink) Old 2012-02-08, 04:14 PM
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Is there anyway o test earth ground? My panel is grounded to my copper water service pipe via a long windy path from the panel through the ceiling and then back down a wall to the pipe.
First, most electricians really do not know how electricity works. They spend years learning what must connect to what. Not why.

View that earth ground. It meets code (what electricians are taught) for human safety. But the earthing is almost non-existant for transistor safety.

The simple science of protection is the protector. Something that does not do protection. That only connects to protection. Earth ground does the protection. As noted earlier, that earth ground must be low impedance (ie 'less than 3 meters) and connect to single point ground. The only and best ground for the building. Water pipe grounds are some of the worst. More than sufficient for human safety. Often woefully inadaquate otherwise. And no longer acceptable as the only earth ground in many venues.

Proper grounding can be installed by any layman. A quarter inch (4 mm) bare copper wire must connect the safety ground bus bar (inside a breaker bos) low impedance to a dedicated earth ground. Low impedance means no sharp wire bends, wire not inside metallic conduit, no splices, less than 3 meters, and other requirements. If that wire goes up over the foundation and down to earth, then earthing is insufficient. That ground wire must go through the foundation and down to an earthing electrode. No sharp bends. Wire must be shorter. Wire must be separate from other non-grounding wires. All ground wires must remain separate until all meet at a single point earth ground.

There is no useful method of measuring earth ground. Any wall receptacle tester that reports ground is only reporting on safety ground; not on earth ground. Inspection is the only viable solution. Above described what to inspect. Most of it is unknown to many electricians who are only taught safety code. Learn how to wire for human safety. Are not taught about things such as impedance and no sharp wire bends.

Repeatedly noted was single point earth ground. If a cable TV wire enters without connecting low impedance to that earth ground (by wire; not by protector), then the entire household protection system is compromised. Cable TV must connect by wire to that same electrode before entering.

All homes already have a telco 'whole house' protector installed for free. Why free? Because the best protector is also the least expensive. However, like with all protectors, if that telco installed protector is not earthed 'less than 10 feet' to single point ground, then a surge will go hunting for earth inside the house and destructively via telephone appliances (modem, answering machine, etc).

Previously noted was how single point earth ground must be installed. If lineman screwed the installation, well, a utility demonstrates how to kludge a single point ground. Pictured are the good, bad, and ugly (preferred, wrong, and right) solutions:
The ugly solution often necessary because linemen still connect homes to make surge damage easier.

Again, a surge protector is simple science. The art of protection is in earthing. Above only introduces what defines all protection. No protector provides protection. As the NIST says, "The best surge protection in the world can be useless if grounding is not done properly." Because earth ground (not the protector) does the protection.

Nobody is selling earth ground. So advertising hypes the protector as protection. It quickly identifies many only trained by advertising. Those who know protection know that earthing defines what a protector does.

Above is only the secondary protection layer. Each protection layer defined by the layer's earth ground. Also recommended in inspecting the primary surge protection layer. A picture demonstrates what to inspect:

This is all layman simple. But it is new. Many find something this new as complicated. After a few rereads and after inspecting your own house, discover that surge protection is really dumb simple. But the above rules are critical. A ground wire across the house to a water pipe is virtually a missing (non-existant) earth ground in this context.
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post #36 of 47 (permalink) Old 2012-02-08, 05:09 PM
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Another issue is electrical damage due to non-electrical system cables. Telephone and CATV cable, especially from overhead street lines, can be a major source of damage. That's why they need to be grounded. Other common sources of electrical damage are OTA antennas and satellite dishes. Those systems also need to be grounded. Even things like long lengths of telephone, TV cable or network cable within the walls of a house can pick up damaging electrical surges under some circumstances. They need to be grounded or connected to a surge suppressor.

At 20 I had a good mind. At 40 I had money. At 60 I've lost my mind and my money. Oh, to be 20 again. --Scary
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post #37 of 47 (permalink) Old 2012-02-08, 06:28 PM
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Thanks guys. Great info.

I think I should redo the grounding.

I have damp clay under my slab. How long of a grounding rod should I use and should I remove my old grounding wire?

Btw my copper water service is just to the meter. The rest of the house is plastic piping.

Another question. Do I need to ground the panel and the meter?

Can I run the grounding Rods inside the house through the basement slab?

Also there is a hydro pole on my front lawn. Should that be grounded too?

Last edited by coxwain; 2012-02-08 at 06:46 PM.
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post #38 of 47 (permalink) Old 2012-02-08, 07:23 PM
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The following thread in the OTA forum on Grounding may be handy.

Grounding OTA / Dish / CATV / Telecom - See Post 1

57's Home Theatre (Latest equipment & photos)
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post #39 of 47 (permalink) Old 2012-02-08, 07:45 PM
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Do NOT remove the existing ground under any circumstances. It is required to meet electrical codes. You basically have two sources of grounding. One is through the neutral conductor from the outside electrical feed. That is connected to water pipes in other houses and probably to grounding rods installed by the local utility. The other is through the utility water pipe. It will be an adequate ground under any normal situations. Do NOT attempt to ground or make any modifications at the utility pole. That is illegal.

The only reasonable options are to make sure that grounding withing the house is adequate under most circumstances. That means making sure that all services have a common ground and that they are grounded and/or surge protected. It's the difference in voltage between conductors, not the actual ground, that causes damage. The reason for grounding is to prevent unwanted voltage from traveling through construction materials, equipment and people.

At 20 I had a good mind. At 40 I had money. At 60 I've lost my mind and my money. Oh, to be 20 again. --Scary
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post #40 of 47 (permalink) Old 2012-02-08, 10:21 PM
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I would not attempt to ground the hydro pole on my front lawn but I am curious to know if it should be grounded. As well should my hydro meter be grounded?

Should i add an additional earth ground bellow my panel inside the house?

I was just chatting with my dad and they had a piece of equipment in their shop that they were going to sell because it kept acting up and it's efficiency went down almost 50%. They finally got in touch with someone that new and understood about the old machine and they said to check the grounds. Sure enough they put an earth ground through the slab beside the machine and the efficiency improved by 30%.

I am shocked I am having so many electrical failures in the house. Appliances that would last long than 5 years. We renovated this house 6 years ago. New electrical to the pole including meter new plumbing etc.

Maybe 1st thing to do is add an additional earth ground beside the panel with the whole house surge protector?
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post #41 of 47 (permalink) Old 2012-02-16, 01:37 PM
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I highly suggest you contact your local electrical utility as they may have an issue with the grounding of their neutral on the distribution lines. They ground their lines at regular intervals (not necessarily at every pole) along their system, which you can notice running down the poles. This utility ground point in conjunction with an adequate ground at your house is necessary for voltage stability. If one or both are damaged, you can notice varying, possibly dangerous voltage swings throughout your house.

Two common scenarios for damage to occur:

1: copper thieves stealing the copper ground wire from the power poles. ( Utility needs to replace and protect)

2: Homeowner replacing copper water lines ( a common ground point for older homes) with newer plastic lines. Newer homes rely on one or possibly two 8' plus ground rods.

I have seen both happen and can result in just the symptoms you are describing.
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post #42 of 47 (permalink) Old 2012-02-16, 10:00 PM
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I have plastic water lines throughout the house but copper main and brass meter. The ground clamp and wire is att ached to the meter. but this connection is some 15-20' from the panel twisting up through the floor joice and down the wall.

I havenet looked outside to see if my electric meter is grounded but I think it isnt. Also the pole for sure isnt.
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post #43 of 47 (permalink) Old 2012-02-17, 09:28 AM
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A water pipe has long been insufficient even for grounding. In most cases, was always a bad ground for surge protection. Reasons why were found in a previous post over a week ago. Critical terms are single point and 'low impedance'. Sharp bends and pipe solder joints increase that impedance. The connection from a protector to an earth ground electrode also must be short (ie 'less than 10 feet').
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post #44 of 47 (permalink) Old 2012-02-23, 10:44 PM
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Turn out I had a city of Toronto Hydro truck parked outside my driveway the other day so I thought I would approach them and I explained what has been going on.

They said it was unlikely a grounding issue and that if it was you would see fluctuations in power throughout the house which I havent had.

They said they would come and check the power at the meter.

When they came up they noticed right away that I still had temporaty connections from the renovation 6 years ago. I quesitoned why that would be a problem and they said that they have seen issues with temporary connections being problematic.

They immediatly offered to replace them and I agreed.

I questioned the grounding and they said that the hydro poles are grounded when there are transformers attached to them which is at the house 2 doors down. and that the panel is grounded to the watermain and the watermain is fine.

Im not sure about other places but my watermain is a 1.5"copper pipethat is set in 10" of concrete and then another 16' in dirt till the shutoff valve in the middle of the front yard.

so i have full faith that the main water line is a great ground, the big quesiton is wether the ground from the panel connecting to that ground is sufficient?

Since this is hard to understand how and when it is affecting me I have no idea how to figure out if this is working.

Is there a chance that I could have a faulty 3way switch? I was having trouble with a fan timer switch in an upstair bathroom not shutting off so I took it off to examine the switch and for some reason it was hooked up what appeared to be right. Now remember, this switch was working fine for months and all of a suddend wouldn;t shut off. I reconfigured the wiring and then the fan timer started to work again. could the white neutral be leaking current?
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post #45 of 47 (permalink) Old 2013-04-08, 01:33 PM
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Whole Home Surge Protection


I am currently finishing my basement and am thinking of installing a whole home surge protector to my electrical box. I've checked out homedepot.ca and came across Eaton's whole home surge protection for about $90 which is endorsed by Mike Holmes. Does anyone have any feedback or suggestions?

Last edited by 57; 2013-04-08 at 04:22 PM. Reason: Merged into existing thread.
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