×

Proper Grounding for a Residential Home Electrical System

The National Electrical Code (NEC) details the grounding system for a residence. In the NEC, a proper grounding system consists of four major components: an Earth ground, the main load center, the neutral conductors and the individual circuit grounds.

Properly gounded outlets are essential for a safe home electrical system.

The National Electrical Code (NEC) details the grounding system for a residence.  In the NEC, a proper grounding system consists of four major components: an Earth ground, the main load center, the neutral conductors and the individual circuit grounds.

Main Load Center

The case of a home’s main load center, also called the main breaker panel, must have an earth ground.  This ground consists of a long copper rod called an electrode that is driven into the earth. This rod then connects to the metal case of the main load center via a bare copper wire. 

Neutral Conductors

Electricity circulates throughout a home via individual circuits.  Each circuit has a neutral conductor (wire) and a hot conductor. According to the NEC, all circuit neutral conductors must connect to the case of the main load center, which in turn is connected to the earth ground. 

Circuit Grounds

Besides the neutral and hot conductors, each branch circuit must have its own ground, which is either a green wire or a bare copper wire.  These ground wires connect to the various devices in the circuit, such as electrical outlets. The other end of the ground wires connect to the main load center’s case, reaching the earth ground through the case. 

About the Author

Living in Ohio, Gerry Poulos began writing professionally in 1999. He has been a columnist for the Nation News Bureau, a contributing editor for “Protoculture Addicts Magazine,” an accomplished freelance journalist and photographer, a Web author and is the author of several books. Poulos attended Syracuse University and holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical and mechanical engineering.

Photo Credits

  • electric outlet 2 image by Dawn Williams from Fotolia.com
  • electric outlet 2 image by Dawn Williams from Fotolia.com